Thursday 2018-05-24

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‘WE HAVE ARTISTS BEST INTEREST AT HEART’

By Nomfundo Sifundza | 2018-05-16

WITH every artist’s best interest at heart, CEO of the Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture Stanley Dlamini has come out to clarify minor yet vital information.

The CEO said whilst artists may overlook and have misconceptions of the council, it was important that they understand how and when an artist gets sponsorship from the council.

Dlamini made emphatic reference to the Coralee Vilakati issue, whereby the model slammed the council for pulling her out of a modelling ‘gig’ in the United States of America.

Dlamini clarified that there was no such thing and that the model did not even have the required paperwork that could take her to the USA or the least, get her sponsorship from the council not knowing the validity of the said event.

Vilakati was supposed to attend the Miss Universe Fashion Week after winning the slot in the Miss Fashion Southern Africa last year but the only document she had was just the ‘confirmation letter’ from the event’s organisers. She did not have a VISA, flight ticket nor did she have an itinerary for the event, something which baffled the council.

The lack of the last two documents cost Vilakati the VISA which she was supposed to obtain from the American Embassy but the embassy could not issue out a VISA because she was not in possession of a flight ticket either. It raised questions as to when and if she would return from the USA should she be given that VISA without other essential documents.

Vilakati confirmed that indeed she did not have the required documents but also stated that, it was that very help she was seeking from the Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture.

The CEO said the only information they have in good record was that Vilakati came to their offices to inform them of her trip to the USA and further sought for an authorised letter with which she could seek for sponsors.

“She did come to our office to seek for a letter which she said she would use to get sponsors to fund her trip to the USA. We gave her that letter and it had our stamp," explained Dlamini.

Dlamini mentioned that he advised the model not to seek for financial assistance from these soon to be sponsors but instead  the exact needed aid, such as a VISA and flight ticket.

“I advised her to ask her sponsors to buy her what she needed not just cash because in all honesty how often will you get money without the proper documents,” he said.

However, Vilakati referred to the letter as ‘donation papers’ which she also confirmed that she did get from the council.

On the contrary, Dlamini said the council does not sponsor auditions, “we do not, we have never sponsored artists to go for auditions anywhere but we do sponsor official events such as Symphony’s, Dusty and Stones and many others,” said Dlamini.

“When an artist honours the council and seeks our assistance, we do not let them down regardless of the genre of music or field of art. We simply require authentic documents that prove that you are going to that event as well as your travel documents,” he elaborated.

 Dlamini said should the council sponsor an unofficial event and the worst unexpectedly happens in that trip, the life of that artist would be on their plot to answer hence artists safety is also the council’s priority.

In Symphony’s case, the songbird gave the council her entire travel plan, confirmation letters, flight ticket as well as her VISA but her manager did not have a flight ticket and again, with the artist’s best interest at heart, the council could not let her travel to as far as Portugal all by herself in fear of the unknown and so her manager was then sponsored with a flight ticket.

Dlamini made emphasis that there was no way the council would not sponsor an organised presentation such as the one Symphony laid before them; “She had everything sorted but she is young so we would not let her travel all by herself, the Europeans are known for human trafficking hence her manager had to travel with her.”

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