Minister Mthethwa to address the National Arts Festival official opening

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30 Jun 2014

Arts and Culture Minister, Mr Nathi Mthethwa will give a keynote address at the official opening of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape. The event will take place on Tuesday, 02 July 2014 at 18h00 at the Guy Butler Theatre in the Monument Building. Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi will attend the opening of the festival and host a business breakfast on the economic impact of the festival (see programme).

This year’s edition coincides with the National Arts Festival’s 40 years of existence and 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa. These two important milestones will be reflected in the programme of activities that will run from 03 to 13 July 2014 in 50 venues, hosting 2500 performances. The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is proud to support the National Arts Festival as this is aligned with our Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy that is aimed at developing the arts through substantial investment in festivals.

Festivals draw and develop audiences, create jobs and build markets for the arts. Through the MGE strategy, the Department annually supports more than 20 festivals in all provinces. These range from small to large scale festivals such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, National Arts Festival, the Kalahari Dessert Festival and Diamonds and Dorings in the Northern Cape, MACUFE in the Free State, Mpumalanga Comes Alive Festival as well as Mapungubwe and Marula Festivals (both in Limpopo), among others.

“In the 2013/2014 financial year, these events created over 14,000 jobs and each made their own unique contribution to their local economy. The National Arts Festival is an important example of MGE at work, where the objectives of job creation, audience and market development are achieved through this extraordinary 10 day annual event” said Minister Mthethwa.

The National Arts Festival remains a catalyst for promoting nation building and social cohesion. It continues to bring together artists and audiences from different background and cultures. The arts, culture and heritage sector has always produced prophetic voices, pioneers, visionaries and independent thinkers who have been at the forefront of articulating the aspirations and hopes for a united country and free society.

The White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage, promulgated in 1996, recognises that festivals are an essential element of developing new audiences for the arts. The growth in the number of festivals since then, the diverse and numerous audiences for these events confirms the importance of festivals for the arts.

The Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture will host the following activities in Grahamstown:

Thursday, 03 July 2014

  • Meet the DAC Session: 11:00 – 12:30  

Attendance at DAC information session and exhibition

  • Informal luncheon with NELM Council & Stakeholders: 13:00 – 15:30

Presentation on expansion plans for the museum

            Visit to the National English Literary Museum construction site

            Meet & greet session with young artists at the Festival: 16:00 – 17:00

Informal small group meeting with young artists about their experiences

  • Attendance of productions of the Deputy Minister’s Choice: Evening

Friday, 04 July 2014

  • Business Breakfast: Economic Impact of the Festival: 8:00 – 10:00

Small group session to discuss and unpack recent study on the economic impact of the National Arts Festival

  • Visit to Trendsetter Programme: 10:30 – 12:30

Meet the group of young trendsetters that will be starting a public art programme as part of the Festival Programme

  • Visit to the Festival Craft Market: 12:30 – 13:00        

             Walkabout at the market

  • Visit to the South African National Library for the Blind:  13:00 – 14:00

Walk through of the South African National Library for the Blind – view various exhibitions by the Visually Impaired This will followed by an informal small group meeting with women artists about their experiences

Members of the media are invited: Media RSVPs: Teresa Magidela TeresaM@dac.gov.za, 072 222 3169

Media enquiries: Sandile Memela 082 800 3750, Peter Mbelengwa 082 611 8197