Artists must join health, funeral policies

HARARE - Most Zimbabwean artists are making it both locally and internationally.

Their fame centres mainly on the type of art that they do.

Such kind of prominence should be maintained by at least planning for future eventualities such as sickness and death.

It should be said from the onset that issues of health, investment, housing, education, insurance and social amenities are not just critical for artists but for all the people.

However, artists could come together and form their own health, housing, education and funeral insurance or schemes.

Most people have read in the media about artists who fall sick and regrettably become charity cases. In many such cases artists or their relatives call for donations to enable them get medical attention or a decent burial.

Often fans and some family members begin to wonder how these artists used their money during better times. Such distress calls are strangely a rarity when ordinary people suffer the same tragedy. So, what could we say causes this?

Being a celebrity involves a lot and as such the image of a celebrity must be maintained in health, sickness and death. Why should an artist not plan for his/her health and yet that is part of arts management? Why should a renowned artist be reduced to a beggar due to his failure to prioritise health?

Why disappoint your fans by being disorganised and reckless?

Family members will usually try to protect the artist’s image by footing his or her medical bills through their earnings.

Sometimes it gets to circumstances where the family members become financially strained especially if the sickness prolongs.

That is if they accept the responsibility because some artists have been neglected by their families.

Sometimes the artist may be the bread winner so none of the family members may be financially able to help.

In all this, the family’s ideal role is to give moral support and not to assume the burden of taking care of the artist’s health.

Artists must strive like all the other workers to join medical aids scheme that will at least cover most of their medical bills in cases of emergencies such as accidents and chronic illnesses.

This ensures that whenever one is back on duty, his or her image will still be intact.

Some artists may prefer to save their money for such eventualities, which is another option.

The problem with having cash is that when a problem arises, the saved can be used in the hope that it will be returned at a later stage which might never happen.

Apart from health, death as well should be planned for. Death is inevitable and once one is born, one must accept that he or she will die.

Artists must have funeral policies to ease the burden that falls on the bereaved.

Gone are the days when artists banked on the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe or the Zimbabwean public to contribute to the burial expenses of artists. Let us remember that people do not owe artists anything.

With a funeral policy burial expenses become considerably less.

A decent burial is what is expected for an artist who will have contributed immensely to the development of the arts sector.

Artists as celebrities normally attract many people to their funerals and as much it is important for artists to fully prepare for any eventuality.

Their fame must reflect even in death but this depends on the choice of the artist.

If an artist chooses to be reduced to a beggar, he or she will definitely be one.

Artistry is linked with creativity and such creativity also involves seeing and thinking beyond the usual.

If artists can compose songs that become hits, write motivational books and make sculptors that are reflective of the future, they should know the value of life and the implications of poor planning to their careers.

It is clear from the above discussion that as Zimbabwe moves towards professionalisation of the arts and culture industry, the need for artists to be organised becomes important.

Artists cannot continue to leave their welfare in other people’s hands but should seriously start to take up health, education and funeral insurance and avoid compromising their celebrity statuses.

If we want the people to take us seriously, then we should also be serious in all what we do.

The future of the arts is in the artists’ hands and the captains of the arts should lead the way.

*Elvas Mari is the Director of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.

Comments (3)

I agree - funeral insurance is important for all of us - artists included.

Dave - 2 September 2013

I agree - funeral insurance is important for all of us - artists included. http://sorelymissed.net/burial-insurance

Dave - 2 September 2013

I concure totally. Elvas this is true these guys can be irresponsible. They rush to driving nice cars and hiring body guards when they are staying in a rented house. What a shame. Kana vaine nharo ngavati pwe tiburitse mazita avo kunyanya ivo vamajinhi anorembera ivava ndoimbwa dzekupedzisira.

Nyorodo - 4 September 2013

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