Address by the Minister Paul Mashatile on the occasion of the 9th congress of FEPACI

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03 May 2013

Programme Director
Representatives from various governments in Africa
Representatives of the African Union
The Secretary General of FEPACI, Ms Seipati Bulane – Hopa
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Film and Video Foundation, Ms Zama Mkosi,
Representatives of associated institutions
The Regional Secretariat and Advisory Council of FEPACI
Pioneers of African Cinema, here present
Representatives of different sectors of the film industry throughout our continent and the Diaspora
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, I take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to all of you, dear friends, from our Continent and the Diaspora.
We trust that you will enjoy your stay in our country and that you will experience the warmth and hospitality that we as South Africans are known for.

Programme Director, in just over three weeks from today, on the 25th of May, we will celebrate Africa Day.

This year’s Africa Day celebrations are particularly significant as they mark 50 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, which fought tirelessly to free our Continent from colonialism and oppression and to unite African people.

As we today consolidate freedom and democracy in many parts of our Continent and as we promote Africa’s development, we are grateful to those pioneers who formed the Organisation of African Unity; laying the basis for a better Africa and through that a better world.

As this current generation of Africans, we will follow in their footsteps.

In particular we will work hard to strengthen the African Union and implement the NEPAD agenda, central to which is the development of our continent.
It is therefore fitting that we are gathered here today, for the 9th FEPACI Congress, primarily to strengthen FEPACI’s work, of ensuring that Africa’s destiny is taken into her own hands; by telling her own stories from her own perspective and in her own terms.

Just as we did at the historic African Film Summit held in 2006 in Tshwane, we are once again renewing the dialogue on how Africa takes forward its rebirth; placing arts, culture and heritage, and in particular film, at the centre of this endeavour.

Back then in 2006, it was the importance of unity in the face of historic, political, economic and practical challenges which was our preoccupation.

Specifically, we placed on the agenda the task of streamlining new ideas, policies, strategies and activities aimed at developing the African audio visual industry.

We placed emphasis on cooperation between African film professionals, African governments as well as policy and decision-makers.

We did all of this in order to come up with lasting interventions which would harness the potential and growth of the African film sector, in the context of a changing global economic order.

Similarly today we meet once again, to seek the best way forward for our Continent’s film sector and the creative industries in general.

We do this fully aware of the sector’s ability to contribute to nation building, national pride and identity as well as economic development, job creation and the building of sustainable livelihoods.

Programme Director, the 9th Congress of FEPACI is an opportunity for introspection and an opportunity to plan for the future of the African film industry.

We must therefore use this Congress to assess, examine and deepen our understanding of the industry.

We must emerge from this Congress with informed and well-conceived interventions geared at transforming and developing the cinema landscape of Africa in its totality.

As we dialogue among ourselves we must do so robustly; without fear or favour. 

We must be prepared to listen not only to what we want to hear, but also to what we need to know to make progress and to take the sector forward.

My country South Africa, recognizes the important role played by the film sector in nation building, promoting social cohesion and supporting economic growth and job creation.

It is for this reason that we will continue to strengthen the support we are offering to the sector.

Part of this support includes the establishment of a National Film Commission and the creation of a Film Fund. 

Equally, we believe in the potential of the African film industry to unite our peoples, to play a role in preserving our culture, contribute to the development of national economies and build sustainable livelihoods.

We therefore look forward to working with our brothers and sisters from the continent and the Diaspora to grow and develop our own film industry as well as that of the continent.

Gone should be the era where Africa only consumes and imports film and entertainment products from the developed world. We have much to offer the world!

It is time that as Africans we stand up and build the mutually beneficial partnerships among ourselves to help ensure the sustainability of our sector.
 
Programme Director, in 2006 when the government of South Africa accepted the mandate to host the secretariat of FEPACI, we committed ourselves to creating an enabling and supportive environment for the growth and development of African film.

We wish to state that in spite of the challenges experienced over the past few years, we are proud of the strides which have brought us all to this stage.

I would also like to give special thanks to the Secretary General of FEPACI, Ms Seipati Bulane – Hopa for her work, commitment and tenacity, especially through the many trying times.

We will continue to support her and the leadership of FEPACI. We also look forward to welcoming the new leadership which you shall have mandated to carry the torch forward.

We believe that theme which you have set yourselves for 2013 which is; “Institutional transformation of FEPACI with aligned policies, strategies and programmes for filmmaking in the 21st century”, is critical in ensuring the regeneration of this important organisation.

Guided by this theme, together we will usher in a new era for FEPACI and the African film industry. We will reignite FEPACI to live up to its purpose and achieve the important goals it has set for itself. Equally, we will place FEPACI on a sustainable path to the future.

I am ware that part of the deliberations at this Congress will include a discussion on the future home of FEPACI.
 
On behalf of the South African government I wish to acknowledge and give thanks to the government of Kenya for making a commitment to take the baton of supporting FEPACI from us.

The government of Kenya has offered to host the Secretariat of FEPACI for the coming term of four years. We wish the government of Kenya well as they undertake this important task.

Dear friends, the vision articulated when FEPACI was conceptualized and established, those many years ago in 1969, at the Pan Africa Cultural Festival in Algiers, remains relevant today.
 
This important organization must continue to be the voice of our film makers, foster linkages among them across the Continent and the Diaspora.

We must continue to be guided by this vision as we shape the future of this organisation and as we usher it into a new era.

We must draw lessons from the path we have travelled. And together we must work hard to build stronger institutional pillars for FEPACI.
More importantly, we must carry forward the organisation’s initiatives which will contribute towards a stronger African film sector.

These initiatives include the establishment of the African Film Commission and a Film Fund. We are confident that these will soon become a reality and a legacy that FEPACI will leave behind for future generations.

Let us work together to ensure that the African story is told by us and from our own unique perspective as Africans.  

I wish you a successful Congress.

Thank you.