Shining a light on an industry plagued by a pandemic

Iconic maize brand, White Star, has embarked on a ground-breaking campaign aimed at supporting local musicians and shining a light on the South African music scene in this uncertain time of coronavirus.

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We certainly aren’t the only ones here at NOWinSA missing the live music scene and all its magic at this point in time, even as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions slowly has begun to ease under Level 1 Lockdown.

With festivals, tours and concerts cancelled across the country and elsewhere in the world, one can’t begin to comprehend the severe financial implications for independent musicians and artists whose livelihoods continue to be severely threatened by the ongoing lockdown.

But lucky for us in South Africa, several caring brands and organisations are banding together to help creative practitioners and other individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19.

One such is South Africa’s much-loved maize brand, White Star. The super maize meal brand has collaborated with the South African music industry to keep the beat alive during lockdown with the launch of a unique initiative called, ‘Shay’na ngeWhite Star‘ (Shine with White Star).

Afro pop trio Encore is among South African musicians who stand to benefit from the initiative.

The campaign is primarily designed to enable local artists to shine their light into the lockdown gloom and beyond, all the while affording music loving South Africans the opportunity to sing and dance wherever they may be.

“White Star has a long and joyful relationship with local music,” White Star marketing manager, Mokhele Makhothi said, adding: “So, as the impact of the lockdown on performing artists – especially emerging artists – has led to artists having little or no opportunities to perform, we wanted to do something meaningful that would create opportunities for them to earn a living through performance and at the same time lighten the mood among South Africans in this uncertain and stressful time.”

The ‘Shay’na ngeWhite Star‘ experience has already taken off with a series of artist performances at the Metro FM’s annual ‘I am Woman’ event on August 28.

The collaboration with the country’s leading commercial radio has been revved up with a 13-week series on the ‘Sunday Soul Therapy with Msizi Shembe‘ radio show, which started on September 6, at 1pm.

The hour-long show not only features a uniquely South African playlist, but will also give local musicians an opportunity to perform live on-air and to re-connect with their fans.

Some top-charting South African musicians who stand to benefit from the initiative include the likes of Langa Mavuso, Ami Faku, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Simmi, Encore, and Soul Kulture, with many more still to come.

Going forward, listeners will also have the opportunity to download and stream music free of charge, as well as enter competitions and win fabulous prizes.

“Most importantly, musicians and singers will benefit from being featured on the playlists as well as from the streaming and downloads of their music,” added Makhothi. “The idea behind the campaign is that the more South Africans listen to and support local music, the more local content will be played on radio and TV, helping all our favourite artists to ride out the Covid-19 storm.”

Makhothi said they also aim to use the “Shay’na ngeWhite Star’ initiative to call on all local citizens, and the rest of the South African broadcasting sector to support and celebrate local music.

“We are also taking this opportunity to appeal to other stations to add more South African content to their playlists and for TV shows to feature videos and live performances by local artists. Music is woven into our culture and every show, every streaming and every download will contribute towards keeping our vibrant and exceptional music industry afloat.”


*For brand focused South African news and exclusive music launch events, make sure to visit the  NOWinSA Entertainment page daily!

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Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.