Minister Mashatile joins United Nations debate on Culture and Development

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10 Jun 2013

Arts and Culture Minister, Paul Mashatile,  is set to participate in a high level thematic debate on “Culture and Development” to be hosted on Wednesday 12 June 2013, at the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Convened by the President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the debate will discuss how culture can be used as an enabler and driver for development.  It’s hoped the discussions will feed into talks on the Post 2015 global development agenda.

“Culture has become the soft power of nations. This international debate is crucial for all countries, especially South Africa, as we look at repositioning the cultural and creative sector to better enjoy the many benefits that the sector has to offer,” said Mashatile.

The Department of Arts and Culture through its Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, places the Arts, Culture and Heritage sector at the centre of efforts to drive social inclusion, economic growth, skills development and the creation of sustainable livelihoods.

“Culture is an important tool in building lasting relations between the peoples of the world. It also opens up other opportunities for interaction, especially in areas such as trade, commerce and development support,” added Mashatile.

South Africa recently signed several cultural agreements with various countries and are also perusing cultural exchanges.

Following a decision by President Jacob Zuma and former French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, the Department of Arts and Culture is now into the second year of implementing the highly successful South Africa France Seasons 2012/2013. The South Africa leg of the Season opened in Paris two weeks ago. More than 800 South Africans will participate in events taking place in more than a hundred cities across France, over the next few months. 

“We are actively using culture to open up fresh opportunities for South Africans. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom, and plans are underway to enter into cultural seasons with China, Russia, Angola and Nigeria,” concluded Mashatile.

Media Enquires: Percy Mthimkhulu on 0823892684 or percymt@dac.gov.za