PE Opera House to run Mendi Centre

ARTS HUB: The Mendi Arts Centre is taking shape in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on what was previously the site of a beerhall. Arts activists have long been appealing for such a centre in the township

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has signed up the Port Elizabeth Opera House to manage the Mendi Arts Centre and Walmer Arts Satellite.

The R1.4-million contract was revealed at a sports, recreation, arts and culture portfolio committee meeting on Friday.

Sports, recreation, arts and culture executive director Noxolo Nqwazi said the municipality had approached the Port Elizabeth Opera House as it already received funding from the city.

“The intention was for the Opera House to share from the budget that is already set aside to ensure that there will be programming at the Walmer centre as well as at Mendi,” said Nqwazi.

Port Elizabeth Opera House general manager Monde Ngonyama said the deal with the municipality was central to the coordination of artists in the city.

“This enables the municipality to cut on governance costs so that you don’t have many boards,” he said.

Ngonyama said a programme would be created for employment for artists.

Committee chairwoman Siyasanga Sijadu said she had asked for a proper database of artists.

“We need a transparent database which is properly categorised, where if you are a gospel artist there is a list of gospel artists.”

She said the database must be linked to the municipal website for artists to check themselves.

“We can’t continue with the culture where an artist must know someone in order to get gigs. It is incorrect and discouraging and creates a feeling that artists are not appreciated at home.”

Leave a Reply