“Artists reach areas far beyond the reach of politicians. Art, especially entertainment and music, is understood by everybody, and it lifts the spirits and the morale of those who hear it”.
These profound words spoken by the late former President Tata Nelson Mandela, aptly talks to the objectives of this music workshop as we continue to promote and preserve artistic talents, indigenous languages, culture and heritage.
This music workshop happens at a time when South Africans from all walks of life, young and old celebrate Heritage Month under the theme: “Our Indigenous knowledge, Our heritage: Towards the identification, promotion and preservation of South Africa’s living heritage.”
The preamble of our Constitution enjoins us to heal the divisions of the past and lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law, improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.
Artists live a life of perpetual struggle. From the days of the liberation struggle to the post-apartheid era, artists are always in the coal face of social movements.
Through their music, paintings, storytelling, they reflect the architecture of their society and thus inspire social change. They capture the painful rhythms, the aspirations, as well as the agonies and the ecstasies of their society.
Our artists are confronted by a myriad of challenges such as lack of skills development, performance opportunities, piracy, less play time on radio stations, lack of distribution deals, and lack of access to markets as well as inadequate marketing and equipment to produce quality work.
Hence we commend the organisers of the Royal Heritage Festival for initiating the annual music workshop and for bringing the legendary Selaelo Selota on board.
As such the rationale for holding workshops and seminars utilizing the Masterclasses model as a build up to Festivals supported by the Department of Arts and Culture is to provide an opportunity and a window to aspiring young emerging creatives in the sector to get an introduction and a taste of what the business is about from the Masters/Captains of the industry who have been in the business to share knowledge, transfer skills, intergenerational engagement particularly from the living legends in the industry who should leave a legacy.
We have also brought on board the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) to be part of our interactions.
The Royal Heritage Festival is a project funded by the Department of Arts and Culture through the Mzantsi Golden Economy (MGE). This strategic investment approach seeks to reposition the arts, culture and heritage sector as the key players in government’s programme of action towards creation of sustainable jobs, audience and skills development, social and economic development of the sector.
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) invites organizations, companies, and individuals to apply for the 2015-2016 Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) open call for funding aimed at optimising the economic benefits of the arts in South Africa. Applications are open to the following work-streams: Cultural Events Programme; Touring Ventures Programme and Public Art Programme.
I would like to encourage artists, song writers, composers and producers to continue to promote and preserve indigenous languages, culture and heritage through music as we continue to enhance our national pride, nation building and social cohesion.
It is at this juncture that I am reminded of the words of Nelson Mandela, when he said,
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Let this gathering be preceded by fruitful interactions aimed at collaborative solutions.
I thank you.