South Africa collaborates with Gabon to host cultural seasons

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21 Feb 2017

The Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Gabon will host the first Cultural Seasons in Libreville, Gabon from 09 to 17 March 2017. The programme is aimed at showcasing South Africa’s artistic talent, strengthen people-to-people relations and open new paths for expanded trade between the two countries.

South Africa and Gabon signed a Cultural Agreement on cultural exchange in 2005. Since then, the department has taken South African artists to Gabon to exhibit their craft on beaded works, fashion and furniture during Nelson Mandela Day and Heritage Day celebrations in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

The department also hosted a successful workshop in 2015 with Gabonese artists. The aim of workshop was to open a dialogue to discuss pertinent issues affecting the sector, share experiences and expertise, and come up with tangible ideas on how to move the sector forward.  For the seasons programme, the department has partnered with the Department of Tourism of South Africa to conduct workshops in Gabon on various tourism themes. The activities include an essay writing competition and debates on tourism topics by learners to encourage critical thinking, effective communication skills and enrich these young minds with knowledge to be better future leaders.

“The Africa we want provides a roadmap for the sustainable development of this continent. An important pillar in this agenda relates to culture and refers to an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics.” said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

South African artists from various disciplines such as craft, design, culinary, visual arts and music are expected to be part of the programme. Gabonese students who studied and qualified in South Africa, who are now working in different fields in Gabon will volunteer as interpreters during the duration of the programme. The majority of Gabonese in Libreville speak French. There will be a painting of a Libreville Museum wall by South African visual artists and school children will participate in this exercise.

The year 2017, marks the centenary celebrations of Oliver Reginald Tambo in South Africa, an anti- apartheid activist and an internationally renowned liberation struggle icon. To kick-start the celebrations, the seasons programme of activities will include Oliver Reginald Tambo Memorial Lecture and Exhibition. The history of liberation needs to be promoted and preserved especially for the younger generation for Africa to move forward. There will be film screening in various venues and everyone is welcome to join.

The cultural seasons will strengthen collaboration on the Africa Month programme of activities that takes place in the month of May to celebrate the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

Media enquiries:  Ms Teresa Magidela, TeresaM@dac.gov.za, 012 441 3626/060 601 7724

For more information, please contact Ms Zimasa Velaphi: 072 172 8925/ Ms Lisa Combrinck: Cell: 082 821 4886