Launch of Investing in Culture Projects in Kwazulu Natal

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08 Aug 2009

Programme Directors: Ms Stella Khumalo and Dr Fikile Dilika
Minister Mayende-Sibiya
Deputy Minister Paul Mashatile
Mayors Magwaza-Msibi and Dlamini
Veterans of the Women’s movement and the 1956 march
Leadership of political parties and of the Progressive Women’s Movement
Representatives of SAWID
Distinguished Guests

We want to thank the principal and his spouse for donating the school and the learners who have assisted tonight.

We meet here tonight on the eve of the 53rd anniversary of the historic 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings.

As we meet in a free country, we recall the courage and the conviction of the 20 000 South African women who, against all odds, and in the darkest of times, made their way to Pretoria to be part of a new phase of our liberation struggle.

Let us take this opportunity to salute those fearless women led by Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie Williams, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa who handed a petition to the office of then Prime Minister Strydom, which declared that:

“We, the women of South Africa, have come here today. We represent and we speak on behalf of thousands of women who could not be with us. But all over the country, at this moment, women are watching and thinking of us. Their hearts are with us.”

These 20 000 women declared that they would not rest until all pass laws restricting their freedom had been abolished. They declared that they would not rest– and I quote – “until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice and security.”

Fifty three years on we too meet here in Vryheid in the Abaqulusi Municipality in Kwazulu Natal, because we represent a generation who have taken the baton from those of the calibre of Charlotte Maxeke, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Ellen Khuzwayo, Dora Tamana, Adelaide Tambo, Miriam Makeba and many others who have left their marks.

We take this baton that we have inherited very seriously and we too declare that we shall not rest but continue the onward march of the women of South Africa towards our full emancipation and gender equality.

We shall not rest until women have access to the infrastructure, knowledge, skills and education that can allow them and the entire nation to march on the road to sustainable development, to economic prosperity, to social progress and to cultural advancement.

Like the brave women of 1956, we too are restless and fearless and everything we do must be aimed at building a more caring society and developing a People’s Culture - because the Women’s Movement is also a People’s movement and as a movement of the people, everything we do is intended to bring about a better life for all.

The introduction of a new Ministry that champions the rights of women is also a victory of the Women’s Movement. We have confidence that the Minister will lead the process.

But we are still restless because there are other victories that must still be won – the battle for 50% representation in government, in our civil service and in terms of women’s participation in civil society and in the work force.

Only this week we have heard that recent research informs us that the number of women in the labour force is declining.
Only this week we have heard that the realities of recession have resulted in women earning less than man and that there remains a wage gap between men and women in similar jobs remains huge.
The feminization of poverty is therefore deepening. We need to be vigilant and as an organized group we can tackle these inequalities.
Today’s occasion therefore gives us the opportunity to do something for women especially in rural areas. Today we award funds to 18 DAC supported projects in KwaZulu Natal as part of our Investing in Culture programme is a joyous one for us in the Department of Arts and Culture because we believe that this also takes us few more steps in the right direction.
We are taking a few more steps towards providing arts practitioners especially in rural areas with the initial tools, the seed funding that they need to sustain themselves, to sustain their art and to enable them to build small businesses that later can grow into thriving creative industries.

My Department, through its flagship programme, Investing In Culture, is contributing to poverty alleviation, creation of job opportunities and skills development in our country and we are doing this as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme.

As many of you are aware, the Expanded Public Works Programme commenced in the 2004/5 financial year and targets were set for a five year period ending on the 31 March 2009. These targets included reducing unemployment by creating at least 1 million work opportunities, of which 40% of beneficiaries would be women, 30% youth and 2% people with disabilities. These targets were met and Phase two of the EPWP aims to create 4.5 million job opportunities between 2009 and 2014.

President Zuma has made a clarion call that at least 500 000 job opportunities should be created in the current financial year. The President has spoken and we must deliver on this. Ngumlomo ongakhulumi manga. All government departments, nationally, provincially and locally as well as State Owned Enterprises are expected to contribute in making this a reality.

In KwaZulu Natal, the Department of Arts and Culture, through its Investing in Culture programme, has supported a total of ninety five (95) projects since 2005 with an investment of just under R54 million.

In this current financial year, the number of projects funded in KZN is eighteen (18) at a cost of R11 500 000.

There are eleven projects that are currently being supported by the Department while there are fifty six (56) projects completed. Most of the fifty six projects that have been completed are still continuing on their own even though departmental funding has been depleted.

This programme focuses on creating concrete economic opportunities for craft, music, performing arts, design and other arts sectors.

Through meaningful partnerships established, products developed from several projects funded by the Department through Investing in Culture are able to enter mainstream markets.

Some of the supported projects have already generated 50% of the allocated project costs (both in revenue accrual and or rand value of recognition of excellence).

It is this quest for sustainability of supported projects beyond departmental funding that ensures that this programme brings real economic opportunities to ordinary people.

But the key to sustainability is that Investing in Culture offers more assistance than only project funding. Thus the programme itself is more all-embracing and takes a holistic approach to the needs of projects that we fund.

This flagship programme uses arts and culture to encourage and nurture a spirit of economic independence for our cultural works and artists.

The expected impact is to create a platform for everyone, especially those in the Second Economy and in the periphery, to become community builders, creators of wealth and contributors to local and national economies.

Let us also not forget that the value of this initiative is that it also enables artists within communities to be given pride of place, to be accorded respect and to play an active role in the development of identity and the shaping of culture.

Because it is primarily through our arts and crafts and culture, that we build a heritage, that we create social cohesion in the present and that we lay the foundations for a solid future. Therefore it is important that we continue to work towards the realisation of the goal of arts for all.

Art is an essential part of the glue that keeps a society together and every effort we make to subsidise an arts project or business is also an investment in ourselves. Women are custodians of culture, storytellers particularly in rural areas.

This year’s heritage month celebration focuses on crafts. We will launch it in Limpopo. We need to empower rural women who are crafters and give them access to markets.

KwaZulu-Natal specific partnerships with Investing in Culture

This is also a partnership between the different tiers of government. The provincial Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Tourism is assisting supported projects, exposing them to markets including provincial exhibitions.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism through its Cooperatives Programme has also offered ongoing support to projects in the Creative Industries.

Our funded projects have also benefited as provincial departments have aided with applications and registration towards becoming cooperatives.

Municipalities are also beginning to support projects. In this province, the Ethekwini Metro, through its Business Support Unit has supported Investing in Culture funded projects with marketing of their products in local and international exhibitions.

One of my tasks tonight is to hand out the cheques to eighteen (18) projects funded by our programme this year.

I am calling on everyone present here to lend a hand tonight and to partner with us in national government in our collective endeavour to create 500 000 job opportunities in this financial year.

In the arts, culture and heritage sector, we are also looking at the potential of the heritage sector as a growing area in job creation. We need to see the cultural workers get the necessary market exposure and ensure that local communities benefits.

As new museums and heritage routes are established in our country, especially in our rural areas, this offers possibilities for those who can work as tour guides, as heritage practitioners, as historians, as researchers and writers, as archivists and as artists who can perform in interpretive spaces. We are calling for women to be part of these projects.

Through the Investment in Culture programme, women remain our priority in this programme as over 60% of the beneficiaries have been women.

Let us use this Women’s Day as a way of pledging our commitment to women’s empowerment and to give renewed meaning to the slogan: “Malibongwe Igama Lamakhosikazi”

Only two days ago President Zuma in an address to the National Press Club emphasised that “our democracy is as vibrant as ever”.
The President said that: “The political climate remains stable. All political parties are working well together in and outside Parliament.”
The President further congratulated our democratic institutions as being strong and intact and performing their duties well. He welcomed the activist role of parliament.

In October this year, our Ministry and Department in partnership with the KwaZulu Natal provincial government, will hold the first National Conference on Social Cohesion here in KwaZulu Natal. Together let us make this a great success for the people of South Africa.

Under the leadership of the people’s President, President Jacob Zuma, we too shall ensure that our systems are well-oiled for speedy delivery and that we continue to build the contract between government and people and between government and women, through building our democracy, strengthening our women’s programme and our People’s culture.

I thank you.