Crowdfunding the arts in South Africa
Money for a Monteverdi melody, and Bach for their buck. The Cape Consort is a Cape Town-based ensemble in search of investment to help them put on a concert.
As with many struggling artists, they are in need of funding. After all, “musicians need to pay rent and eat just like everybody else,” says Hans Huyssen, cellist with the group.
The Cape Consort has turned to crowdfunding, an online collective fundraising approach. They achieved their target amount of 15,000 rand ($1,525; £945), raising 60% of that in just six days.
The funds raised allowed them to put on a series of concerts, with the last one having just taken place on Sunday in Cape Town.
Instead of approaching one investor to ask for capital, crowdfunding is an online platform that allows small initiatives like Cape Consort to post proposals on a dedicated website and ask the world wide crowd for funding.
Even though the concept of collective fundraising is not new, (New York-based Kickstarter is widely credited with pioneering online crowdfunding in 2009), one crowdfunding website in South Africa is using it in an unusual way, to get funding for the arts.
Patrick Schofield is the founder of Thundafund, described as a “crowdfunding cafe” for African innovators and creative entrepreneurs. It provides both a crowdfunding platform together with mentorship.
“I think the funding is one thing but people need the supporting environment to help them realise their idea and to make it successful, and that’s what we bring together,” he says.
Thundafund has been up and running for over four months, and 80% of the projects that have gone on the website have gained funding.