Professionals working in the live event and production space in South Africa have come together to form an NGO initiative to raise funds for freelance live event technicians.
The Feed Our Crew NGO initiative has been co-founded by Johannesburg-based Tamsyn Strydom (project manager from production and rental company MGG), Kagiso Moima Wa Masimini (KG) who owns Blackmotion Production and Marcia Alves from We Are Boundless.
Working in collaboration with another NGO, People4Purpose – that provides individuals and families with basic necessities like food and clothing - donations are converted into US$54 (ZAR1000) - which are distributed to qualified recipients via their cell phones.
This is calculated to provide enough money – with some care and creativity – to support a family’s fundamental needs for a month.
While the South African government has pledged to provide relief packages for virtually every sector in the country, the enormity of the task has made the process slow to get to those in the most desperate need.
Feed Our Crew’s Daria Higgins, who runs a normally busy events company True North, said: “There has been an immediate and devastating impact on the show and event industry across South Africa, and freelancers – the often invisible backbone of that usually vibrant industry – are particularly badly hit.”
The vouchers are redeemable at major retailers ShopRite / Checkers and can be used to buy groceries, medication plus other essential utilities like electricity, cell phone data and airtime – all fundamental to sustaining themselves until government assistance comes onstream.
In two weeks, the scheme has received hundreds of applications as well as generous support from companies and individuals in a position to help.
Robe Lighting’s South African distributor DWR is a key sponsors, together with equipment rental production companies including MGG and Blackmotion as well as many individuals.
The story began when public events in SA started getting cancelled across the country in early March, soon followed by a nationwide lockdown which still continues.
Anyone meeting the criteria can apply for assistance, but the aim is to reach the most vulnerable of those who have been working across all the technical disciplines – lighting, audio, rigging, stage and set building, SFX etc.
As word spread about Feed Our Crew, a Facebook page and website were established, starting on the April 16th. By the Friday of that week, the first donation had landed.
Applicants can apply through the website or Facebook page and need to have an email and a cell phone number.
They complete a form, submit their ID together with two references for verification that they have been actively engaged in the shows and events world.
The first 160 vouchers have just been dispatched.