STATEMENT OF INTENT
VOX Cape Town has committed itself to taking a vocal stand against racism.
That mission is expressed in five key actions:
1. TAKE A STAND AS ALLIES
George Floyd’s murder was one of hundreds of black murders at the hands of law enforcement in America in the last 10 years. Here in South Africa, Collins Khosa and Petrus Miggels are among those recently killed by South African security forces without cause. These are not isolated incidents, but a symptom of the epidemic of violence that our country’s people re-create for each other on a daily basis. In a bid to break this cycle, we join our voices to those who are acknowledging the world over that black lives are regarded as cheaper than white lives. It has never been acceptable, and we do not accept it today.
If we believe that racism is wrong, then VOX has a duty to proactively take an anti-racist stance. We therefore unequivocally affirm that black lives matter. By definition of who we are and what we do, we have a voice. Because we have a voice, we have an audience. When we open our mouths, a significant number of people listen. Moreover, we live, work, and perform in Cape Town, which has been an epicentre for systemic racism in South Africa since 1652. Taking a proactive stance against racism might mean that we’ll sometimes stand alone, although we hope that is never the case.
VOX Cape Town has developed a proactive anti-racism action plan. We commit to:
2. LISTEN AND LEARN
Empathy is not a given. A fish, for example, doesn’t necessarily know that it’s swimming in water. In the same way, groups of people who typically aren’t the victims of prejudice or oppression may struggle to perceive that the world that they live in is hostile, harsh and dangerous for people who are not like them or who do not share the benefit of their privilege. With this in mind, we firstly acknowledge that we’re a choir composed predominantly of white singers. Secondly, we acknowledge that we ourselves have a huge amount to learn, and understand, so we commit to listening. As we continue on that journey, we’ll post material that has been helpful to us.
We have benefited from the patronage of generous supporters and donors for five years, giving us working capital to record our music, pay for venue hire, partake in specialist workshops and host social events for the benefit of our singers and the Cape Town musical community at large. The benefit of all of that is evident in our growth as an artistic group. It’s evident in the growth of our audience. And as our audience grows, so does our voice. If we agree that apartheid and its associated racist structures actively dismantled meaningful opportunities for black economic growth, we can agree that most black artists don’t have access to the same privileged network of funding that our organisation does, and consequently their voice doesn’t grow as large or as fast.
We are committed to donating to local programmes, and we encourage our donor network to consider the same. We’re trying to understand who best to support and how best to support them, and we’ll post an update in the coming weeks.
To that end we commit to donating to specific programmes. Over the next few weeks we will work to understand who’s best to support, and how best to support them. When we do, we will encourage our donor network to seriously consider the same.
If we accept that black voices have not enjoyed the same opportunities for speed of growth and breadth of reach, we can agree that black perspectives and points of view are under-represented. As we just touched on, we can contribute to the growth of black voices by contributing to the working capital of black artists and composers. Similarly, we commit to proactively promoting those same artists and composers via our publishing platforms.
Where we see others doing the same – whether learning, donating or doing promotional work – we’ll republish them on our channels.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Join us in standing against a virus that has no hope of vaccination, but can cease to exist, right now, if we choose.
14 June 2020
- As part of our stand against racism, we pledged to donate money to organisations dedicated to the development and support of black musicians. We’re glad to announce that we’ve made a R5 000 donation to the Hout Bay Music Project, a registered NPO and PBO offering graded music lessons and providing performance opportunities to children from the Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu townships of Hout Bay.
- R5 000 might not seem like a tremendous amount of money but, as an NPO ourselves, the donation constituted the majority of our bank balance at the time. We would like to encourage you, our network, to donate to the Hout Bay Music Project with similar generosity, and to work with us towards redressing the imbalance of opportunity available to children in our country.