On 5 August 2020 from 18:00–20:00, the South African technical production and live events industry, under the LightSARed movement, lit various parts of South Africa red under the hashtag #LightSAred to highlight the implications the lockdown has had on the industry after five months of no work or income.
The #LightSAred campaign saw the South African technical production and live events industry standing together to make their voices heard. The industry, comprising of freelancers, venues, theatres, companies and businesses have been unable to work since the blanket ban on all events, due to the Coronavirus, implemented in South Africa on 15 March 2020.
The hashtag had thousands of post on Instagram, twitter and Facebook under the hashtag #LightSARed.
Over 500 buildings were lit in red.
According to the movement, the South African events industry is dying, and they are being ignored. ‘Our aim is for government and financial institutions to extend financial relief to those who earn a living in the technical production and live events industry until we are permitted to resume work. In addition, we need the South African government to engage with elected leaders within SACIA and the SA Events Council, and provide a platform for our voices to be heard. Lastly, #LightSAred demands that the government recognise and support the Non-Profit Organisations that are trying to sustain destitute members of the technical production and live events industry.’
The movements stated that there are a few things that make South Africans unique. ‘Most notably, our ability to sing and dance in the face of tragedy, struggle and adversity defines us as a nation. When the HIV/AIDS pandemic threatened to wipe out millions, we gathered under the banner of Nelson Mandela’s prison number at the 46664 Concerts to make our voices heard. When the FIFA World Cup finally came to our continent, we showed the world what it means to celebrate life. When our beloved Madiba passed on, we raised our voices in song, together, and celebrated his legacy. Every defining moment in our history has been marked by our ability to gather, embrace, sing and dance – and we are about to turn off the lights, cut the sound and strike the stage forever.’
‘Currently, members of the technical production workforce have no way to make a living. The companies that hire them are going out of business. The people that supply equipment are shutting up shop. The production companies that bring artists to our shores are silenced. The venues that host gigs are closing their doors. If something is not done to help the industry survive during lockdown, when we are allowed to go out again – there will be nowhere to go.
‘They need a voice. While we have not been able to work for five months, the Government has not engaged with us. We need to tell our story to decision-makers, so that we can come up with a plan to survive the lockdown and open up events safely and responsibly when it is safe to do so. We are running out of time to claim UIF TERS – even though we are still under level 5 lockdown as an industry. We are not able to feed our crew. Our crew are not able to feed their families. We need help to stay alive while the party is on hold.’
To watch the video, visit: https://www.lightsared.org.za/stream