Activism: Light SA Red campaign  #LightSAred – igniting awareness – the events industry, August 5, 2020

#LightSAred campaign

Date: August 5, 2020

Time: 6pm-8pm- city spots will be lit up in red light

Live streaming: 10am to 5pm on digital platforms with entertainment and activations. Lineup includes Prime Circle, John Vlismas and Kyle Cassim.

Facebook livestream:

August 5, 2020 and it is red lights on in South Africa to shine a light on the plight of the events industry. Covid-19 and national lockdown brought the closure of theatres and performance spaces. Theatres and cinemas were shut down on March 15 – prior to hard lockdown on March 26. Five months later and the industry has been shattered. Many venues have been forced to close – for ever. With no income stream, it is impossible to pay rent, utilities, salaries and other costs. The events/arts industry is comprised primarily of freelancers – self-employed and self-sustaining.

Light SA Red campaign is about drawing awareness to the events/arts industry. Buildings, private homes, garages, heritage sites (such as The Castle in Cape Town) will be lit up in red –to draw attention to the events industry which needs a serious injection of funding to keep the industry afloat – and create jobs – jobs which have been lost. Light SA Red has been inspired by campaigns in the UK and Germany.

In Cape Town, we have seen the permanent closure of The Kalk Bay Theatre. The curtain has gone down on the iconic Fugard Theatre and it does not envisage opening its doors, until late 2021. With level 3 lockdown, there has been some easing of regulations but the logistics of opening are daunting. Operators are mindful of public health and safety and the sheer costs of sanitising venues. Even if one CAN operate, it may not be financially viable to operate with social distancing in place. They say we live in uncertain times. It is confusing times. It is frustrating times. It is also unfair times. Many industries have prospered under lockdown. The heart of the events industry is live and the live arena has been shuttered.

The solution? Massive injection of funding to enable creatives, events people to work during the months ahead. As we go forward, we are likely to be looking a hybrid model – some socially distanced events/shows in tandem with live streaming and recordings – some on a ticket basis and others by donation. To make these viable, funding/sponsorship is needed. That is the bottom line. TheCapeRobyn calls on the tech and digital operations which have prospered during lockdown- the mobile phone operators, online shopping platforms, software and computer- all of you – c’mon – give the events industry a hand – to get going again – so that it can generate work, jobs, income.

TheCapeRobyn salutes the following for its support of the arts industry/events during lockdown. Please add to the list by commenting on TheCapeRobyn Facebook page or sending an email to this website.

✅ The National Arts Festival (NAF) – the virtual edition of the annual festival went out on the festival’s digital platform. The festival PAID artists on The Curated Programme and provided a fringe platform for artist to monetise its work. The vFringe remains online as a digital stage.

✅ Artscape, Cape Town: Under the leadership of CEO, Dr Marlene Le Roux, Artscape has made its theatres available for filming for the NAF and for the International Ballet Competition which was streamed globally. Artscape’s Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival is on for the month of August [2020] with mostly free shows/events. Yes, artists got paid.

✅ Penny Lane Studios, Cape Town- headed up by Aki Kahn- is providing a top notch recording studio for artists to stage their works – with heightened professional values – providing audiences with a sense of live performance.

✅ Quicket – this ticket platform has provided access for artist to stream their work on a ticket basis – and earn income – with good support and backup – on a commission basis so no outlay is involved.

There are many other individuals/companies, actively assisting to make events happen. Talk is cheap. The hashtags #support and #pleasesupport are nice and well intentioned. The reality is that we need solutions which harness technology and which bring the buzz of an event to viewers.

We need to work together: creatives, events managers, publicists, arts writers, photographers, ticket sellers, lighting, sound, design, catering, internet/computer services… The supply chain is a long one. The events industry intersects with hospitality/restarts/hotels. Think of the suppliers involved. Think of the individuals and companies involved in staging, organising and producing.

If you are reading about #LightSAred and you are thinking that it doesn’t concern you, think again. The events industry is a vital part of our economy. #LightSAred. Innovate and speak up as to how YOU can assist to get the industry off the pause button – while it is still possible. If the pause button gets stuck and buffers, then it may be too late.

✅ For locations to be lit up in red on August 5, see


Image credit: TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen. This photo was taken outside Cape Town City Hall, August 5, 2020.