Address by Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi at the Budget Vote of DAC, Good Hope Chambers, Parliament

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17 Jul 2014

BUILDING BRIDGES TO VISION 2030 

Honourable Speaker

Minister Mthethwa,

Ministers, Deputy Ministers,

Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee

Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Public Entities

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

An African proverb says that:

Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter”.

The Department of Arts and Culture is focused on enabling our people to tell the South African story and to disseminate this knowledge to our people.

Research indicates that public libraries can contribute to the quality of social relations in local communities. Membership of a library can encourage a sense of belonging, foster civic pride and transform the lives of young people who are inspired by what they read to attain greater heights.

As part of our community library programme which strives towards opening the doors of learning, reading and writing, we will invest more than R3 billion in the 2014 to 2017 MTEF. These funds will be used to build 54 new libraries, and upgrade 150 existing libraries.

We will ensure that these libraries have books, are connected to computer technology and access to the internet. New libraries will be located where they are most needed, namely in under-serviced areas and in close proximity to schools.

The new libraries will be built in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, Wepener in the Free State, Wedela townshipin Carletonville and Merafong in Gauteng, Vulamehlo in KwaZulu-Natal, Phokwane, in Limpopo, Emjindini 43 in Mpumalanga, Tlokweng township  in North West and  PA Hamlet in the Witzenberg Municipality, Western Cape, amongst others.

Through the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation special fund called “Global Libraries Support Initiatives” which focuses on providing and expanding technology access in public libraries countrywide, the National Library of SA will pilot this project in all 9 provinces to expand access to digital resources.

R32 million has been allocated for this project which will run for two years. 27 libraries will be built in the 9 provinces (3 per province). Each library will receive 20 computers which cater for the public, visually impaired, children and official use as well as 10 E-Readers and 10 Tablets.

There will be free Wi-Fi and ongoing training in computer use, social media communication and finance management.

Honourable members, our interventions together with our international counterparts in refurbishing libraries are complemented by our initiatives in schools that is part of the Mzansi Golden Economy initiative.

In this financial year, a pilot project will be implemented with the South African Library for the Blind to employ speech technology to make written documents accessible in four languages to people who cannot read or are blind.

The implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act requires that all government departments and public entities adopt language policy and create language units by November 2014.

Ri khou do thoma fulo la u di tongisa nga nyambo dza damuni, na u tutuwedza u amba nga ndimi dzo fhambananaho, ri tshi itela uri nyambo dzashu dzothe dzi kone u ambiwa na u dovha hafhu u thonifhiwa nga vhathu.

U pembelelwa ha duvha la dzitshakha la u dologa nga dzi 30 September 2014 zwi do bvisela phanda tshumelo dza muvhuso dzine lushaka lu nga dzi swikelela malugana na dzinyambo dzine vhathu vhadzipfesesa.

In this way we are deepening accessibility and understanding of all official documents to enhance communication between all our people, thus building a more socially cohesive society. We are building a more inclusive society.

This will be achieved by establishing a South African Language Practitioners’ Council will serve to regulate language practitioners against a set of national norms and standards.

The Department will provide more than 280 bursaries to aspiring language practitioners to ensure we grow capacity in promoting and develop official languages. In the next three year cycle, Sign Language study will be included to bolster education and training efforts in this area.

The Artists in schools initiative is placing arts facilitators and educators at schools around the country as part of integrating arts and culture into the school curriculum. Through this project, we shall stimulate interest in the arts and also build cultural and social values that increase creativity and inclusivity.

Through arts education we shall also make an intervention in rewriting history so that new generations know the truths of our realities. Through the National Archives, we shall continue to support the development of the oral history project through our support of an annual Oral History conference together with academics, writers and other community stakeholders.

The Department in partnership with the NEPAD Secretariat will host a SADC regional conference in October 2014 to formulate a framework to harmonise arts education and training policies in Africa as a strategic intervention and contributor in the regional integration, social cohesion and sustainable development in the continent.

As part of building social cohesion and encouraging active citizenry, we shall be hosting community conversations throughout the country. We are grateful to our Social Cohesion Advocates, who are present here today, for their enthusiasm and commitment in being central to this effort of mobilizing society around common values.

The results of these community engagements will feed into a national social cohesion report back summit to reflect and assess work done since the first historic social cohesion summit held in 2012.

Flag in Every School

In addressing the need to popularize our national identity, we are intensifying our campaign to install Flags in Every School by the end of 2014

We will install 22193 flags in 22193 schools across the country. Various publications on National Symbols are being distributed to schools, including books on National Symbols, and a National Anthem Tool kit to popularise the Anthem.

Arts and youth development

As part of the National Youth Service Programme, we have developed a TrensdSetter Initiative, which involves youth between the ages of 18 -35 years old who are recruited and trained in arts, culture and heritage sector.

We have partnered with the Field Band Foundation for Regional and National Championship. This project primarily seek to address the policy area of Youth Enrichment and Development by encouraging and supporting the development of a variety of brass bands from different communities, ranging from churches, football clubs to existing youth bands.

Through the arts access programme, we will promote arts, culture and heritage participation in Correctional Facilities, to empower the offenders in the arts which have the potential for self-sustainability post-incarceration and rehabilitation while under correctional supervision, in particular youth, women, and people with disabilities.

Cultural Diplomacy

As we promote South African arts and culture to the world, we are making use of cultural seasons, which are cultural exchange, platforms, to   exposure our rich arts and heritage.

Work on current cultural seasons with the United Kingdom is well advanced and the South African season in the UK will launch on the 18 July 2014 at a cultural concert to be held in Glasgow in memory of our late President Tata Nelson Mandela.  The Commonwealth Games that will be held in Glasgow in 2014 will also feature a significant cultural programme involving local artists.

In celebrations of the strong ties between India and South Africa and twenty years of freedom and diplomatic relations, cultural seasons with India also commence on the 25 July 2014 in Johannesburg with Indian artists showcasing their talents in South Africa.

Significantly, this year also coincides with the centenary commemoration of the global icon, Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa on July 18, 1914 where he had spent twenty formative years of his life. 

We have already embarked upon a year-long Cultural Season with China to strengthen diplomatic and cultural ties between South Africa and China and open new markets for South African cultural products.

We shall shortly be announcing a cultural season with Russia in 2014/2015.

Last year South Africa became the 8th country to ratify the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance. Cultural seasons with Nigeria, Ghana and Angola will commence in the forthcoming period.

Heritage

The contractor is now on site to start with the construction of the long awaited Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance in Kouga Municipality, Eastern Cape. This site holds great significance for Khoi and San communities and the community of Hankey and is part of our South African story.

Work on the Nqguza Hill Museum in the Eastern Cape has started. This pays homage to rural struggles that were aimed at protecting indigenous communities from land deprivation and destitution.

The Matola Raid Memorial and interpretive centre in Mozambique, which commemorates the 1981 Matola Raid in Mozambique, is ready for unveiling.

This is a memorial to our freedom fighters, who paid the supreme sacrifice in their struggle against apartheid oppression. It is envisaged that the memorial will be unveiled by the two heads of state of Mozambique and South Africa respectively.

Through Public Arts initiatives such as the “Infecting the City” festivals in Mpumalanga and the Western Cape, we are empowering our youth to make sense of their lives and see art as creating meaning within their communities.

We are also pleased to announce that together with Script2Screen, a production house, a documentary is being made on Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC and Africa’s first Nobel Laureate that will tell the story of the man and his legacy. Let us also remember that Chief Albert Luthuli died in this month 47 years ago on the 21 July 1967 under questionable circumstances.

As 20 years have passed since the advent of democracy, government records of 1994 will have to be transferred to the National Archives; and these include governmental records of the late President Nelson Mandela’s first days in Office.

We encourage all South Africans to tell their stories of the last twenty years, to celebrate the lives of unsung heroes, capture and preserve the precious memories of ordinary people who fought for freedom.

We shall introduce an annual National Arts Week in the MTEF, an initiative that will promote arts and culture in our communities. We recognise the power of all aspects of the arts to change people’s lives, encourage new career paths and create jobs for young people.

In support of a literary culture that fosters inclusivity, we will continue to work with the National Library of South Africa to identify and reprint books regarded as literary classics in South African languages.

As part of our work in transforming the heritage cultural landscape in order to fully recognise and portray South African history, the second phase of Ncome consisting of a museum and library facilities among others will be completed.

The statue of Inkosi Bhambatha kaMancinza Zondi, who is popularly known for fighting against the imposition of Poll Tax, will be unveiled in KwaZulu Natal before the end of 2014.

In conclusion, working together with Minister Mthethwa, Director General Xaba and the entire departmental staff we will move the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector forward.

Ndo livhuwa.

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