By Neo Kolane
The Deejays Association of Lesotho (DJALE) is pleased that the government has permitted them to entertain people so that they can be able to earn income.
Even though they are grateful that this time around, the government has taken them into consideration, they still believe it does not take their occupation seriously.
DJALE, which currently has about 215 members, was formed in 2013 by the DJs with the aim of promoting solidarity among themselves.
Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s statement on Sunday this week stated that events are allowed to place but taking into consideration the guidelines of Covid-19.
DJALE secretary, Phofu Motholo, stated that the freeing up of the entertainment industry still raises some questions as they do not know if they will make money to make up for the one they have lost.
“We are behind, we have not been working for the past seven months, and people working at the firms were given relief funds. But as for us, National Covid19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) apparently does not have money because it did not budget to cater for DJs.”
“It feels like the tax we pay is all for naught. The government hires DJ’s to perform at some events but does not pay them well, that shows that they are not taken seriously.
“We are charged depending on the number of attendees and the duration of the event, and we are also expected to play for only 30 minutes which is not fair on our side.
“We are very late in catching up on what some of us have lost; some DJ’s even have their equipment confiscated by their landlords because they have not been able to pay rent for their accommodation,” he said.
Motholo said that as an association they tried for the longest time to meet up with the now defunct National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) and at the time, were told they had better have a good reason to meet with NECC.
“After that we went to the minister of tourism, Lekhetho Rakuoane who also did not show interest in what we had to say.
“Lastly, we went to NACOSEC which is where we met up with the CEO and his team, and we were promised to be given something from the relief fund but until now we have not received even a cent from them,” he said.
On September 2, NACOSEC hosted who presented their challenges and tabled potential relief measures for the creative industry.
It is during that meeting that NACOSEC advised DJALE to invite all representatives of the different arenas of the creative industry, to avoid segmented conversations.
NACOSEC proposed a follow up meeting with all representatives of the creative industry, where all parties will jointly propose alleviation strategies and map a way forward, with the aim of improving the livelihoods of the artists while keeping the COVID-19 infection low.
“NACOSEC hasn’t said anything t to us but the issue has been tabled. They said they would tell us what to do once the restrictions have been eased. The follow up meeting was on September 17, but all in all it has been two weeks and we are still waiting for feedback.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get help, until today. We were promised M500 but we didn’t receive it,” he added.
Motholo said moving forward they will be abiding by the guidelines, but they are only in a position to have events that are rather small such as weddings and promotions.