Speech delivered by Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi, on the occasion of the South African Schools Choir Eisteddfod (SASCE) National Championships at Durban ICC
Your Worship the Executive Mayor of Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality, Cllr James Nxumalo;
Inkosi ne Ndlovukazi Luthuli;
Educators and learners;
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me take this opportunity to express my excitement to be part of your journey of the 2014 South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) Championship led by the Department of Basic Education.
I have been told that today marks the return of the prodigal son named SASCE back to the Kingdom after spending years in exile in Gauteng.
It is exciting to be part of this historic event more so as we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom since the dawn of the new democratic dispensation in 1994. This year, SASCE is 14 years old and is much matured. It is a "born free" initiative.
The South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod is a mass participation programme that is targeted at all the learners in the public schools and seeks not only to develop highly competitive arts practitioners but importantly fosters Nation Building and Social Cohesion among all the people of the South Africa.
The South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod championship supports the work we do as a department, promotion of access to the arts –
the arts for all - by unleashing the creative capabilities of our young people and also encouraging mass participation of youth in the creative endeavors, thus addressing negative forces that lead to inappropriate use of their leisure time.
This programme has the potential of becoming bigger that most of the popular events, such as the International Cape Town Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz and many others. It is one of the few cultural festivals that celebrate the children in this country.
The economic spinoffs are always encouraging for the host cities. Hence concrete partnership with all the stakeholders, mainly at Provincial and Local, including business is of paramount importance.
SASCE is one of several programmes that the Department of Arts and Culture has committed to implement jointly with the Department of Basic Education.
Amongst other projects that will be jointly implemented are as follows;
• Artists in Schools – This project positions and uses arts practitioners as a valuable resource in the delivery of the arts and culture subject in the schools. It is currently taking place in several schools in all the nine Provinces;
• Train the Trainer (Capacity Building workshops for the arts and culture subject advisors and teachers) in support of the implementation of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS);
• Spelling Bee (Literacy Project) that seeks to inculcate the culture of reading amongst all the learners in the public schools.
The South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod is a game-changer in many ways. It has given rise to extremely talented musicians such as Petty Yende, Kelebogile Boikanyo, Sonnyboy Dladla.
So the advice to the participating learners is this, "please never take your potential for granted". The opportunities in this sphere are unlimited. Department of Arts and Culture’s entities such as the National Arts Council, National Heritage Council provide bursaries and scholarships for the students who want to pursue further musical studies at tertiary institutions in South Africa.
In closing, allow me to commend the sterling work that has been done by the National Coordinating Committee of South African Schools Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) for putting together such a magnificent and important event.
I equally would like to salute the educators for continuing to dedicate their time to serve the people of this great nation, particularly the children and learners, working tirelessly to make sure that all of them have access to good quality arts and cultural experiences in our public schools.
The Department of Arts and Culture working together with the Department of Basic Education will continue to support the SASCE.
To the learners and their dedicated teachers, THIS IS YOUR FESTIVAL! YOU ARE ALL WINNERS! SHARE YOUR TALENTS WITH US AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN
I thank you all