The country will turn bright red on August 5 to raise awareness for the events industry, which is struggling to remain alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The #LightSAred campaign will draw attention to the escalating situation by calling on residents to simultaneously light buildings and structures across the nation in red. There will also be a livestream from 6pm to 8pm on their website.

Similar initiatives have successfully taken place across the world, such as the UK and Germany, where buildings, monuments, landmarks, structures and empty theatres have been illuminated in “Emergency Red” to highlight the enormous challenges facing live events, music and performing arts sectors.

“Our aim is to be acknowledged by the South African government and to come up with an itinerary to keep our industry alive. The event industry has been hit exceptionally hard and affects a range of people and companies from artists to freelancers, theatres and venues, equipment suppliers and various other trades within. #LightSAred aims to draw attention to this crisis,” they write on their website.

They explain that this movement was created after the national lockdown began, which effectively brought an end to work for the events industry in the country.

“Before we knew it, all schools were closed and gatherings greater than 50 people were banned. At that moment, every stakeholder in the events and theatre industry was forced to come to terms with the reality that our industry would be the first to feel the impact and would likely be the last to recover from the economic tsunami set off by the COVID-19 quake.

We refuse to be the forgotten industry. For decades our industry has brought smiles to faces, we’ve provided entertainment with theatre productions, political rallies, sports events, festivals and so much more to South Africa. We are usually behind the scenes, but we are now standing up to #LightSAred and make our voice heard.”

As part of their movement, they are calling on the government to extend financial relief to those who earn a living in the technical production and live events industry until they are permitted to resume work. They also want government to engage with elected leaders within SACIA and the SA Events Council, and provide a platform for their voices to be heard. Finally, they ask that government recognise and support the non-profit organisations that are trying to sustain destitute members of the technical production and live events industry.

If you would like to support this movement, light a building, stage, garden or any object red on August 5 and share the image to social media using the hashtag #LightSAred.

Picture: Unsplash

Article written by