Speech delivered by Deputy Minister Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the National Arts Festival media launch in Grahamstown
We mark the beginning of the 2016 National Arts Festival as the Youth Month draws to a close. This year we commemorated 40 years since the landmark June 16 student uprising in Soweto.
The National Development Plan advocates that “Arts and culture open powerful spaces for debate about where a society finds itself and where it is going. Promoted effectively, the creative and cultural industries can contribute substantially to small business development, job creation, and urban development and renewal”.
In its 42 years of existence the National Arts Festival continues to attract more and more audiences both locally and internationally. The Festival has a large and diverse programme, featuring all arts disciplines over an 11 day period.
In both its diversity and scale, the National Arts Festival is the only of its kind in the country and it seeks to unleash the economic potential of the arts sector towards job creation, nation building and social cohesion.
The Department of Arts and Culture supports a number of flagship projects and festivals in every province of the country. We provide funding for 22 national and regional festivals and over 80 other cultural events.
The Department of Arts and Culture has signed a three years agreement with the festival organisers and committed an amount of R 17 Million. The National Arts Festival is one of many annual festivals supported through the MGE strategy across the country which includes both small and large scale festivals such as: Mangaung Cultural Festival (MACUFE) in Free State; Cape Town International Jazz Festival; Diamonds and Dorings Festival in the Northern Cape, Marula Festival in Limpopo and Buyela’khaya Festival in Easter Cape, among others.
Through the Mzansi Golden Economy Open Call process we are establishing a Debut Fund that creates opportunities for young artists to publish their first book, produce their first play, cut their first album or host their first exhibition.
The fund will make quarterly awards, to a maximum value of R300,000 providing opportunities to develop new local content and for that all important “break” in their career.
As we ensure that communities become places for engagement and where arts and culture can flourish, there are 250 Community Art Centres throughout the country.
In order to nurture these centres in becoming vibrant spaces for the arts, the refurbishment of a number of centres has begun. Through a continued focus on community arts, more centres will be refurbished and programming supported across the country.
As South Africa is celebrating 40years of Youth celebration, 60 years of Women’s march, 100 years of Fort Hare University and many more, the National Arts Festival has drawn some themes around these important days. Some productions are being contextualised on these themes to allow audiences to reflect, interact and be entertained.
The National Arts Festival remains a catalyst for promoting social cohesion and nation building as it continues to bring together artists and audiences from different background and cultures.
I thank you.