NASCAM dismisses relief fund claims

By Rosalia David

FOLLOWING a recent tweet by a local award winning artist saying that certain artists have received N$13 000 each as Covid-19 relief grants, musicians flocked to the NASCAM office in Windhoek to claim their share.
Speaking to Confidente in regards to the alleged payment for artists, Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM) chief executive officer John Max however rebuffed the claim saying he is not aware of funds paid to members.
“I received many queries about that issue towards the end of last week and throughout the weekend many musicians inquired about what was posted by one of their own that she has received some grant. I certainly have no an idea or any clue as to where she has received it from,” he said.
Although the artist did not mention the institution’s name where she claimed she received the funds from, Max regarded her tweet as untrue saying that it is a sensitive time for musicians to be making ‘jokes’ of that nature.
“I would like reiterate that this is not the right time to make such jokes in the public sphere and domain. These are unbearably hard times when artists are hard-hit and have no means to survive due to Covid-19 and its effect on the entertainment industries. Irrespective of the windows and means that others have to sustain their living and sustenance, it is very insensitive and unacceptable that one can come up in the public sector and public platforms and trying to create and stir up emotional feelings which will create some unwarranted anxieties and feelings and creating blame games towards institutions supposed to encourage and stimulate support and assistance towards artists during these hard times,” Max added.
He further stated that, NASCAM is however currently finding ways for artists to get grants.
Early this year, the national broadcaster NBC announced that musicians will receive a Covid-19 relief fund that has been made available by the Ministry of Finance to the Directorate of Arts in the Ministry of Education. Unlike before, this money (expected to be N$3 million) will come straight from the ministry to NASCAM who will then distribute to artists.