By: Sibongile Khumalo

Not paying royalties to artists whose work is used in education would threaten livelihoods.

The recent passing of Ray Phiri, Wake Mahlobo, Johnny Mekoa and Errol Dyers has sent shock waves across the industry. Death tends to do that – even though we know it is an eventuality.

As a music composer and performer, their passing feels even closer to home. It forces one to consider one’s own mortality. To consider that there may not be another chance on that stage. It forces one to think about one’s family and how one’s children will fare after one is gone. It is a sobering thought.

While I have a retirement annuity and I serve on the board of the SA Music Rights Organisation alongside my peers such as Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Loyiso Bala, Arthur Mafokate and Gabi le Roux, and even though my children are set in their careers, I still reflect on how quickly things can change in life.

The perception is that most performers lack education and business acumen – and I am not even talking about formal academic training. The truth is, whatever one’s level of education, as a practitioner in the creative industry, we have to empower ourselves with knowledge about our industry if we want to be more than a “one-hit wonder”. It is critical.

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This article was originally published on News24.