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MOSHITO DECLARED A SUCCESS (article first published : 2004-09-12)

South Africa's inaugural Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition has been declared a resounding success by both the organisers and delegates attending the event, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg In July.

Among the 300 delegates were many musicians including Eugene Mthetwa of Trompies fame who described the event "long overdue". "It's time that we all got together and aired out issues so that we can come up with real action that will affect those of us on the ground," this well known and respected kwaito artist said.

Mthetwa was one of the most vocal participants in the Moshito '04 conference (as this year's event was dubbed), speaking out on issues ranging from piracy to the role of the media, education in the music industry and more during the many panel discussions that took place on day two of the conference.

Mthetwa's support for the initiative was echoed by the likes of Sipho "Hotstix" Gumede (who died shortly after the conference), Pops Mohomed and Sibongile Khumalo, herself a founding member of the South African Music Industry Co-operation Initiative (SAMICI), the umbrella body under which Moshito was formed. SAMICI is a broad-based alliance of stakeholders in the South African music industry working together with the public sector - specifically the Department of Arts and Culture, as well as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Department of Trade and Industry.

One aspect of Moshito '04 that came through clearly during several speeches was the support the DAC is giving to the initiative. In his keynote address, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Z Pallo Jordan, said Moshito had a "stimulating, thought-provoking programme".

"The music market project, which forms an important dimension of your deliberations,”he said, “should become a music industry trade-show, comprised of exhibitions, sale of music products and services, music business seminars and live performances. Moshito is forum to provide opportunities for business networking, information exchanges, promotion and product development for national music producers, performers, individuals and entities providing support services."

The implementation of a music market is one of the key events that will take place during Moshito '05 - being staged from July 20 to 22, 2005. Other elements will be a one-day conference, special interest seminars, meeting kiosks for small meetings, and a showcase for South African musicians.

According to Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition chairperson, Nick Motsatse, the first day of next year's event will be devoted to report-backs on action items emanating from Moshito '04. “We will be devoting one day next year to report-backs on the action items that have identified at the conference, meaning that the pressure is already on us to ensure that this is much more than just a talk-shop but a place where real change is effected that will positively benefit the South African music industry."

Among the recommendations are an Export Council for South African music, a survey into the current usage and potential of legal digital downloadable music in the country, supporting current anti-piracy initiatives on a unified basis, a call for the implementation of a blank tape and CD levy, a call for an end to the 14 percent tax the government charges on concert tickets and several others.

More information from Vanessa Perumal on 011 787 7459 or 083 268 1446, e-mail: vanessa@jtcomms.co.za or visit www.moshito.co.za




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