Local artists hit hard by lockdown

Khadija Tracey Heeger, a performance poet, is recording and posting some of her work on social media to be able to continue earning an income during the lockdown, which has been extended until the end of the month.

With theatres and other entertainment centres closed, those who work in the arts world, whether in the forefront or in the background, are among those who are heavily affected by the lockdown. When they do not work, they do not earn money.

For Khadija Tracey Heeger, a performance poet from Sybrand Park, it is no different.

Ms Heeger said her “bread and butter”came from performing at The Daily Music Show, and since it can not operate during this time, she had to think of other ways of earning an income. It is usually held in the city centre.

“Normally, when I perform, I get paid for that. Fortunately, I can do it online. I bought a tripod two months before lockdown, and now I am able to record myself and post it online. What I do is ask those who appreciate my work, to donate something – money they would have spent to see me live at a show. If they cannot donate, I ask that you share it,” Ms Heeger said.

Some of her followers on social media have responded positively to her request, she said. However, it is still a challenge to convince some people for support.

“I constantly have to fight about whether what I do is valuable. Usually, when it comes to heavy societal issues, the arts get pushed aside – even from people who say they value art. Even though art does not come up on a parent’s list of priorities for their children, studies have shown that art is the thing that catches those children who fall through the educational cracks. Some of us adjust well to mainstream schooling, others not,” she said.

Ms Heeger has expressed her gratitude to all those who have assisted her. With their help, she is even able to support a feeding scheme, and even help a few of her colleagues who had no food to eat.

“I have received amazing responses. I have been very fortunate. Some people who donated, I don’t even know. They just saw my work online. What this lockdown has taught me, is that I need to trust the work. Believe in something. It has also helped me rediscover some of my work that I have never performed before.

“With the help I received, I am able to cook a pot of food once a week, and a feeding scheme in Bonteheuwel collects it from me. I have also been able to assist some of my colleagues – I don’t have a lot, but we make the circle bigger by sharing the little we have,” Ms Heeger said.