Is crime and corruption impacting on our cultural activities? Is it becoming imbedded in our cultural profile? Yes, in every way imaginable.
On a criminal level every time my school and theatre gets broken into, beside the property stolen there is also the damage that is inflicted on different areas of the property as access is attempted.
This means spending money on the damage which could have been put into a bursary, or shoes and costumes, music, money lost to developing my art.
Then there is the time, my time, that is stolen from me as I attempt to establish the full extent of what was damaged and stolen, resolve, have repaired what was damaged and replace what was stolen where possible.
My peace of mind has also been stolen, my ability to concentrate on my work and this is much harder to handle. My creativity goes dark. I look at everyone with different eyes.
Everyone who has had their private space invaded for criminal purposes will fully understand this sensation.
I must mention the terrible impact gangs and the violence that is perpetuated on everyone and especially the children in the areas that specific gangs control. When that control of turf is under threat everyone is at risk. We suffer as a result of this as some dancers who come from these areas have difficulty getting to classes as taxis don’t run when the gangs shoot at each other. Night performances become problematic as well with lifts having to be arranged to get these dancers home and back into these violence riddled areas where the bullets know neither innocence or guilt but kill and injury with total impartiality.
Many artists are dependent upon governmental agencies for funding and this is in turn allocated on political ideology. Quality of the Art has very little to do with it. Are you working in the areas the Political Masters have deemed necessary for up-liftment? Would this assist voting in the next political election? All important considerations but does it further the Art Form? Will that Art form be allowed to grow and flourish? Possibly, if it tows the current political line.
Intellectual crime Is simply stealing what someone else has created and benefiting financially from the fact.
Think of all the musicians who have written music, recorded it and been ripped off with pirated copies.
Think of how we have to pay Insurance companies and lawyers to protect what we have created and for which we have already paid.
Crime is one of the biggest creators of job opportunities for many people as well as raising the cost of living. I only have to look at all the people I employed to repair and replace broken and stolen goods. I have no doubt my insurance premiums will rise again to meet these costs.
Are there no Gangs for Good? The gang members are so powerful and clever if only they turned to helping instead of harming but I suppose there is not much profit nor power in doing good.