Veteran musician Steve Kekana says he feels “shunned” by the department of sport, arts and culture in Limpopo, his home province.
Kekana, who hails from Bolahlakgomo village in Zebediela, slammed the Limpopo department after he was denied the opportunity to perform at the annual Mapungubwe Arts Festival.
Sowetan has viewed written correspondence between Kekana’s manager and the department reflecting that the artist has complained that he has never been booked for the festival since it started.
In a letter dated October 16, Kekana’s manager, Phetole Mafa, wrote: “We have tried to engage with the organisers in your office since last year and no one took us seriously.”
The department responded on November 9, saying it could not book Kekana as the line-up was already full.
Speaking to Sowetan, Kekana reflected on his disappointment at being excluded, but said he was not using the fact that he was born in Limpopo to claim entitlement.
“I’m not claiming entitlement, but I am feeling massively shunned by my province. Ever since this Mapungubwe Arts Festival was established I was never given an opportunity to perform.”
Kekana said he also felt the department had a duty to give a platform to disabled artists.
“I’m telling you this not because I want to come begging and kneeling down. That I won’t do. But what I am saying is that the provincial arts and culture department has to see to it that it promotes disabled and previously marginalised artists.”
This year’s line-up for the festival includes local acts such as Vusi Nova and Judith Sephuma, with international stars such as Canadian singer Tamia also expected. Kekana said there was nothing wrong with having international acts, however, it was embarrassing that a popular local artist like himself was denied a spot.
“It is shameful to say that a son of the soil can be left out.”
Kekana said he decided to approach the department because fans kept asking him about his absence from the Mapungubwe stage.
Spokesman for the provincial sport, arts and culture department, Moloko Moloto, said they could not include Kekana in the line-up due to budgetary constraints.
“We hold Mr Steve Kekana, who’s one of the legendary artists from our province, in high regard,” Moloto said.
“It’s not true that we marginalise him. Previously he performed at this festival.” – Sowetan Live