Launch of nine investing in culture projects in the Eastern Cape

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07 Dec 2009

Programme director
MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Ms Xoliswa Tom
Mayor
Councillors
Ladies and gentlemen

Ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Arts and Culture is committed to the development of sustainable cultural industries. In an effort to understand the challenges facing the sector, the Ministry is having our ongoing discussions with the cultural industries. This year, we have had fruitful discussions with the film and music sectors.

As part of government’s efforts to open a conversation with every sector of our society, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma met with the artists on 17 November 2009.

“The cultural industry is a very important partner in our drive to build a social and cultural identity for our nation. Any foreigner who wants to understand South Africans better is likely to listen to our music, watch our films or television dramas”, President Zuma said. The President will have a follow up meeting with artists next year.

During his meeting with artists, the President lamented lack of unity in the sector. “It makes it difficult to work with the sector as there is no single structure that government should work with. Unity will also enable artists to engage the industry, especially recording companies to discuss desired transformation”. Therefore, we would like to urge you to unite in order to advance your interests.

In order to eradicate poverty and ensure social cohesion and nation building, the Department of Arts and Culture launched the investing in culture programme in 2005. The programme forms part of government’s expanded public works programme which seeks to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and deprivation.

The investing in culture programme is targeted at the arts and culture community with special reference to those in the poverty nodes, youth, women and persons with disabilities. Through this programme these vulnerable groups are able create wealth and contribute to the local economic development of their underprivileged communities.

As you know one of the major constraints of economic development in this country is shortage of skills. The programme has provided training opportunities to many people in all the nine provinces. To this end, the department has partnered with the Media Advertising Publishing Printing Packaging Sector Education Training Authority to train beneficiaries of the programme. Our provincial coordinators have also been trained as assessors and moderators to ensure successful implementation of projects.

Our department has provided support to crafters through increased marketing, retailing and new design initiatives. We have assisted beneficiaries to sell their wares at national and international exhibitions, retail shops, festivals and conferences.

To date we have been able to support a total of 409 projects nationally. We have created 10 938 job opportunities to the beneficiaries of which, 48 % are women, 37 % youth and 4 % people with disabilities. The programme has invested 40% of its total allocation in the poverty nodes in support of Integrated Sustainable Rural Development and Urban Renewal programmes.

In this province, we have supported a total of 75 projects since 2005 with an investment of R 43 million. In terms of job creation, the programme has created 1 680 job opportunities. The projects that have been supported cover genres such as beadwork, pottery, ceramics, performing arts, design, grass weaving, leather works, jewellery, visual arts etc.

Today, I have pleasure to officially launch nine projects that have received funding to the tune of R 5 250 000.00. As government would like to urge all the beneficiaries to work hard in order to turn their projects into sustainable enterprises. The investing in culture programme is not about hand outs. Instead it is about the promotion of the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the vulnerable groups. We believe that entrepreneurship is a permanent solution to challenges of poverty and underdevelopment and that our country should become a nation of job creators and not job seekers.

On Friday, 04 December 2009, the world converged on the mother city, Cape Town to witness the historic FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup draw. The event was a huge success especially from the point of view of the cultural programme. Our artists managed to showcase our rich cultural heritage as Africans.

The 20l0 FIFA World Cup presents a rare opportunity for us to showcase our rich cultural heritage through our craft, music and dance. We have established a 2010 task led by Professor Pitika Ntuli.

Their mandate includes developing a programme that will ensure that the 2010 FIFA World Cup immensely contributes to our existing programmes that seek to foster national pride and patriotism.

As many of you are aware, our nation went through many centuries of difficulties before it achieved freedom and democracy in 1994. It is for this reason that government decided to embark on a programme to ensure that we continue to consolidate democracy and inculcate the spirit of unity and sense of being proud to be South African. We want to assure you that our nation and the continent are very excited about this tournament. We intend to make it the most memorable ever. We will make nations of the world and FIFA proud.

As Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said during Heritage Day 2009, “In your respective homes and communities you need to ask yourselves what it is that you are proud of and want to share with the rest of the world during 2010”.

Thank you.