Art galleries in South Africa’s major cities (such as the Durban Art Gallery in KwaZulu-Natal; the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Gauteng; the South African National Gallery in Cape Town; and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape) display collections of indigenous, historical and contemporary work. Universities also play an important role in acquiring artwork of national interest. These include collections housed in the Gertrude Posel Gallery of the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of South Africa (Unisa) Gallery in Pretoria, the Edoardo Villa Museum and other galleries at the University of Pretoria, and a collection of contemporary Indian art at the University of Durban-Westville. Corporate collections of national interest include those of Standard Bank, Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa) and the MTN cellular phone network. The Department of Arts and Culture supports a number of projects that promote the visual arts. These range from arts publications and women-empowerment programmes to national and international exhibitions and infrastructure funding.The Department of Arts and Culture’s art collection has been restored and the works are displayed in the building occupied by the department. The Visual Century Project is undertaking
research on the visual arts in South Africa over the last century. The project will involve exhibitions at all major galleries, publications and documentary films.
It was conceived as a research project to produce a range of art historical resources that invite further research. The project is managed by the Africa South Art Initiative. The project has received initial funding from the Department of Arts and Culture, and is housed in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. Subtitled South African Art in Context, 1907 to 2007, the project seeks to produce a concise record of a century of South African contemporary art production.
With its scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, diversity of cultures and rich historical heritage, South Africa is a photographer’s paradise. Many South African photographers have been acclaimed for their work, which features in coffee-table books, documentaries, local and overseas exhibitions, magazines and newspapers.National and international photographic exhibitions and competitions are held in South
Africa annually, and various national awards are bestowed on local photographers. The Agfa Wild-
life and Environment Photographic Awards, presented for the first time in 1981, have become one of Africa’s most prestigious wildlife photographic competitions, attracting entries from top wildlife photographers, not only from Africa, but across the world.
South Africa has a rich architectural heritage to which all the cultural groups in the country have contributed. Through the centuries, a trend in South Africa’s architectural style has developed, which has been referred to as an innovative marrying of traditions. Today, this is evident in the variety of architectural structures found all over the country, ranging from humble dwellings, historical homesteads and public buildings, to modern commercial buildings reflecting state-of-the-art technology and designs that match the best in the world.Schools of architecture exist within various South African universities. Sahra conserves buildings of historical or architectural value. More than 4 000 buildings, sites and other objects (including trees) have been declared national monuments. Heritage South Africa is a non-profit private
organisation that conserves South Africa’s variety of architectural gems.
There are many traces of ancient cultures that existed in the country in the distant past. Experts estimate that there are 250 000 rock-art sites south of the Zambezi.
The San people left a priceless and unique collection of Stone Age paintings and engravings in South Africa, which is also the largest of its type in the world. The mountains, especially the Drakensberg range and those in the Cape, are home to fascinating rock-art panels. Rock engravings are scattered on flat rock surfaces and boulders throughout the interior. The artworks depict mainly hunter-gatherers and their relationship with the animal world and historical events, as well as interaction with and observation of newcomers encroaching upon their living space.
Indigenous people with spears and Nguni cattle, Khoikhoin fat-tailed sheep, European settlers on horseback with rifles and wagons, and ships and soldiers in uniform were captured in surprising detail. Immortalised visions of the artists’ spiritual world are found on the sandstone canvases. These depict complex symbols and metaphors to illustrate the supernatural powers and potency they received from nature. The oldest dated rock art in South Africa, an engraved stone 10 200 years old, was discovered in a living floor at the Wonderwerk Cave near Kuruman in the Northern Cape. The oldest painted stones (6 400 years) were recovered at Boomplaas Cave in the Cango Valley near Oudtshoorn. Three painted stones were also found at the Klasies River caves, which yielded the second-oldest painted stone, dating back 3 900 years. The Department of Arts and Culture supports a number of projects, including a rock-heritage project in Clanwilliam in the Western Cape.
The craft industry has been identified as a strategic sector for the economic upliftment of South Africans. The crafts industry has the potential to create meaningful jobs and the Department of Arts and Culture has begun to consolidate the marketing and distribution of South African products to international markets such as Art Mundi in Brazil.In 2009, the department established the annual National Craft Awards where 60 crafters across the nine provinces were recognised and awarded for their contribution to craft development.The department has craft projects in all nine provinces. The products of these and other projects can be viewed at a number of venues, including two state-assisted outlets at the Bus Factory in Newtown, Johannesburg, and the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth.The Annual Beautiful Things Craft Supermarket continues to provide market access for this young industry. The Department of Arts and Culture is also running a special ministerial project of craft competitions in the genres of textile, embroidery and indigenous clay pottery to discover new talent. In recognition of the wealth of indigenous knowledge, the department spearheaded the opening of a rural-based arts and craft gallery.The Vhutsila a vhu Tibiwi Art and Craft Gallery is a realisation of a dream come true for the
ideals of skills development and the preservation of heritage and the IKS in the Vhembe district, Limpopo. Design
The Department of Arts and Culture has put in place several initiatives to improve product
design and the use of computer-aided design (CAD).
• a partnership with the South African Fashion Week on developmental initiatives to address the Second Economy
• established designers facilitating work¬shops to unearth new talent and fuse design with craft
• the National Product Development Centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which operates within a national framework, optimising the contributions of service-providers through¬out the country in the area of design technology
• the CAD initiative at the CSIR, which is linked to the technology station at the Free State University of Technology and similar institutions in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
• the Cape Craft and Design Institute
• the awarding of design learnerships through
Create SA to help emerging designers
• the annual Design Indaba Conference and Expo held in Cape Town in February. The indaba is regarded as one of the premier
design events in the world. The expo is a gallery, a marketplace, a school and a theatre, featuring the finest original South African design, covering everything from homeware and jewellery to architecture, fashion, film, multimedia and graphic design. The annual Design Indaba held in Cape Town in February 2010 generated close to R200 million for the city’s economy. The expo was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Some 30 000 visitors and 350 buyers attended.
South Africa has a rich history of literary output that has been well received locally and internationally. Fiction is written in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages Р with a large body of work in Afrikaans, in particular. The net turnover of the book sector was estimated at about R5 billion in 2007. This included about R3,2 billion earned through publishing and R1,8 billion from book sales.
The new pop culture in poetry, often referred to as “spoken word poetry”, is one of the most celebrated art forms throughout the country and beyond. Poets such as Lesego Rampolokeng, Lebogang Mashile, Kgafela oa Magogodi, Blaq Pearl, Jessica Mbangeni and Mark Manaka are household names in the genre. There are regular platforms created to give these poets opportunities to hone their skills.The current generation of writers is also making their mark on the world stage, with writers such as Zakes Mda, Niq Mhlongo and the late K Sello Duiker having their novels translated into languages such as Dutch, German and Spanish. The youngest winner of the Noma Award, the most coveted literary award on the continent, is Lebogang Mashile, a vibrant South African poetess. A young writer from KwaZulu-Natal, John van der Ruit, debuted with Spud in 2005, a novel that sold more than 130 000 copies in less than three years, ¬thus breaking all records for a South African novel.The past three years have recorded a rapid growth in the South African book sector. The establishment of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), which was launched in June 2007, has created a platform for the book industry to develop an integrated growth strategy. Among other accomplishments, the SABDC has been able to consolidate industry indicators that are fundamental in the development of the sector. One of the major projects of the SABDC is the development of the Draft Framework for the National Book Policy to serve as a legislative framework to guide growth and development strategies in the book sector. WorldFest, a literary component of the Grahamstown Arts Festival, focuses on promoting literature in indigenous languages. The Johannesburg and the Franschoek literary festivals are welcome additions to the growing literary culture in South Africa.Magazines and literary journals have always played a pivotal role in the development of the South African literary contours. In the recent past, a number of literary magazines and journals have emerged and continue to provide regular publishing space for both seasoned and budding writers.A number of writers contribute to publications such as Chimurenga, Timbila, Botsotso, Afropolitan, Words, Baobab and New Contrast. These journals create a platform for emerging writers to hone their skills while also opening space for literary criticism.In December 2005, the Write Associates, an independent communication and arts-and-culture event-management company, supported the Department of Arts and Culture in inaugurating the South African Literary Awards. Since their establishment, the awards have developed to include categories such as Literary Lifetime Achievement Awards, the National Poet Laureate Prize, the K Sello Duiker Award for Young Novelists, Literary Journalism Award and many other categories. Other awards include the M-Net Awards and the BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Award.The Department of Arts and Culture, as the custodian of the nation’s heritage, embraces its diverse cultures and encourages the promotion, preservation and use of various languages in both oral and written forms of literature. The publication of books is a critical vehicle for developing and preserving languages and literature to ensure social cohesion.
Through the National Library of South Africa (NLSA), the Department of Arts and Culture reprinted 24 titles of classics in African languages, which were distributed to libraries throughout the country. There is an English literary museum in Grahamstown and an Afrikaans museum in Bloemfontein. The Centre for African Literary Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Bernth Lindfors Collection of African literature. The centre is committed to preserving and adding to the collection to maintain the largest library of African literature on the continent.
South Africa continues to participate in, among other festivals, the Cannes Film Festival. This has helped to catapult the film industry into the world cinema fraternity. The department is assisting the Federation of Pan-African Film Producers while it is headquartered in South Africa, following the Pan-African Film Summit that South Africa hosted in 2006. This body provides a creative home for film-makers from the African continent and serves as a marketing platform for African films.South Africa has risen from being a film-maker destination to a film-producing country.The NFVF was established to develop and promote the film and video industry in South Africa. It provides for and encourages the creation of opportunities for people from disadvantaged communities to participate in the industry. The foundation also promotes local film and video products, supports the development of and access to the industry and addresses historical imbalances in infrastructure skills and resources in the industry.Developing and producing local content in genres with wide appeal is a priority for the foundation. Research has begun on a national strategy for film education and training, and to develop sector-information systems to measure sector performance and the related economic and job-multiplier effects.The department, together with the foundation, is looking at ways of setting up cooperatives in rural areas that focus on bringing cinemas to South Africans and developing skills in areas related to film production. The department has also established a partnership with Canada on cooperation in the film industry.A revised rebate for foreign and local film and television production was launched in March 2008.The film and television production incentive comprises the Location Film and Television Production Scheme, and the South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production Scheme. The incentive is intended to increase local content generation and improve location competitiveness for filming in South Africa.This component is only available to foreign-owned productions with Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) of R12 million and above. It provides a rebate of 15% of the QSAPE to qualifying productions in the following formats: feature films, telemovies, television drama series, documentaries, animation and short-form animations. Its aim is to attract large-budget overseas film and television productions to South Africa.
The three largest film distributors in South Africa are Ster-Kinekor, United International Pictures and Nu-Metro. Ster-Kinekor has a specialised art circuit called Cinema Nouveau with theatres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.Film festivals include the Durban Film Festival; the North West Film Festival; the Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West; the Three Continents Film Festival (specialising in African, South American and Asian films); the Soweto Film Festival; and the Encounters Documentary Festival, which
alternates between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
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