Speech by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the Arts and Culture 2017/18 Budget Vote, Parliament, Cape Town
Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Honourable MM Sotyu,
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee,
Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Public Entities,
Members of the Media.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we meet here on a day which has significance in our history as the 23rd May marks the 23 anniversary of admission of our country as the 53rd member state of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU), in Tunis, Tunisia.
It was at this historic gathering that Former President Nelson Mandela made the following commitments to heads of state and government:
“Where South Africa appears on the agenda again, let it be because we want to discuss what its contribution shall be to the making of the new African renaissance. Let it be because we want to discuss what materials it will supply for the rebuilding of the African city of Carthage.
“One epoch with its historic tasks has come to an end. Surely, another must commence with its own challenges. Africa cries out for a new birth, Carthage awaits the restoration of its glory.
“If freedom was the crown which the fighters of liberation sought to place on the head of mother Africa, let the upliftment, the happiness, prosperity and comfort of her children be the jewel of the crown”.
Consistent with this analysis and call to action, our efforts are founded on this directive.
The NDP envisions a South African society in 2030 that embraces its diversity rather than emphasizing observable differences along the contours of race, class, gender, religion, culture and other social constructions.
Such a society will have a common set of values that it shares, an inclusive economy, increased interaction among South Africans of different social and racial groups, as well as strong leadership cadre across society buttressed by a mobilized, active and responsible citizenry.
Through the approved Program of Action (PoA) for Outcome 14, government has made great strides in bridging past socio-historical divisions, even though a lot still needs to be done in fostering nation building and social cohesion.
In the same vein, we continue to embrace our African identity and play our part in the shaping and development of a new and modern Africa and the rebirth of a new African.
With this in mind, the 3rd edition of Africa Month has as its theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World.” We launched the 2017 Africa Month programme on 03 May, at the National Heritage Monument and Heroes’ Acre site in Pretoria.
This year’s celebrations is a Festival of Ideas in which we have invited eminent thinkers from the rest of Africa and the Diaspora to join us in conversations about the continent and focus particularly on decolonisation.
This year’s programme overlaps into the month of June and we are honoured that this programme culminates with a lecture by the eminent African author and intellectual of note, Prof Ngugi wa Thiong’o who will join us for a lecture at the University of Venda.
We are happy that some of our Africa Month panellists and speakers have joined us here today: we recognise esteemed authors: Prof Pitika Ntuli, Prof Zakes Mda and Tsitsi Dangarembga.
We also acknowledge the presence of 7 year old author, Michelle Nkamankeng, who was a recipient in December last year, of Mbokodo Award for Girl Child of Promise.
The colloquia programme is coupled with musical events, art exhibitions, and focuses on fashion, film and African cuisine in spaces around the country. On Africa Day, President Jacob Zuma will host representatives of African organisations in Pretoria and the Department is playing its part to make this and other events a sustained success.
Together h with the Msunduzi and the KwaZulu Natal Museums will launch the Africa Month Exhibition titled Africa: Celebration of Heritage and Diversity. The two institutions will host the Africa Fair Day on the 26 May 2017 to promote African cultures and customs. All other entities have their specific Africa Month Programmes.
In 2017 we shall mark the following anniversaries:
- 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi the Mendi Memorial situated on the University of Cape Town’s sports fields (formerly the Rosebank Showgrounds which was used as the assembly point and depot for the South African Native Labour Corp before departing for Europe) was declared as a national heritage site on 30 December 2016.
- The 30th Anniversary Commemoration of the tragic passing of that African patriot and combatant, President Samora Machel of Mozambique took place in October 2016 in Mbuzini.
- We mark the 50th anniversary of the mysterious death of the first African Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in the continent and the ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli, a man of peace and justice and lifelong commitment to the freedom of the people of this country
- This is also the 40th anniversary of the brutal murder of the black consciousness leader Steve Bantu Biko. We hosted this year’s Human Rights Day national celebration at the Victoria Sports ground in Ginsberg, King William’s Town, in the Eastern Cape the same grounds where his funeral was held 40 years ago at a time when the stadium was an amenity not accessible to the black majority.
- This year is also the 30th anniversary of what became popularly known as the Dakar Talks between the leadership of the ANC and the influential Afrikaners initiatedby President Diouf of Senegal.
- This is also the tragic 30th anniversary of the brutal and merciless murder of President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso. The foremost fighter against colonialism and apartheid.
- The year 2017 is also the centenary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo who strode the globe like an African Colossus.
These anniversaries demonstrate that we drank and continue to drink from the well of progressive humanity in our efforts to contribute in the resolution of the challenges that beset world community.
Oliver Reginald Tambo centenary celebrations will take place under the theme “Life and Legacy of OR Tambo” and are expected to run until December 2017.
As part of celebrating the centenary of OR Tambo, the department through our agency SAHRA has various programs which will include the declaration of a church at Holy Cross in Flagstaff where he attended school. At a recent bilateral with my Zambian counterpart it emerged that the Zambian government has declared the Tambo House, where Cde OR lived during his exile there and have plans to renovate it. In this way we continue to celebrate our shared resistance and liberation heritage.
Chairperson, in recent times, racism has continued to come to the fore at times and rear its ugly head. Legislation is being tightened and progress made so far in terms of the mooted Prevention and the Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Once accented into law, this Act will criminalise all forms of bigoted crimes and speech.
We have held a total of 33 community conversation across all nine provinces in a bid to address the scourge of racism and other social ills facing society. Work is continuing apace to conclude these sectoral conversations with the view of the crafting and adoption of a common compact to unify our people and strengthen the mental frameworks for complete emancipation.
Through our community conversations we also continue to address racism, language, heritage, patriotism, inequality, unemployment and poverty. The Department has presented a report from the 2016 community conversations to various government departments so that they can action some of the recommendations proposed.
Several community conversations were held to respond to the violent protests that swept through Vhuwani and the surrounding villages in Makhado and Thulamela Municipalities. These protests saw the burning and vandalism of over 20 schools. The Social Cohesion Advocates have carried out comprehensive social cohesion community dialogues so as to foster peace, unity and social cohesion in this area.
In recent weeks and days, the scourge of women and child abuse has come to the fore, these are some of the social ills that continuously affect our society. This violence has a long history. Our country was taken by force and it was ruled by force for more than 350 years. Violence is part of the South African DNA and this need to be combated.
We have been engaging with Moral Regeneration Movement so that together we pave a way forward with tangible deliverables. We spoke about a programme of action that can contribute to the well-being of society, in an effort to realise the “RDP of the soul,” that President Nelson Mandela spoke about.
Young Patriots Programme.
Last year saw the launch of the Young Patriots Programme. The aim of this programme is to teach the youth to love their people, culture and country to honour humanity, liberty and peace.
We need to teach our youth to respect the laws, institutions, and the rights and liberties that make us South Africans first, part of the African continent and important segment of humanity across the globe that is working for social progress.
I believe that these are the basis for solidarity among citizens and provides them with motivation to participate in public life and make sacrifices for the common good.
The programme enrolled over 260 young people by end of January 2017, and it will further recruit 300 young people this year. Some of the Young Patriots are with us here today. We are at the advanced stage with the school of government under the DPSA for the curriculum development for the Programme.
The Department also implements an annual internship programme and complies with the appointment of 5% of the staff complement of the Department. This is in line with the national imperative on Internship Programme in the Public Service. In the past three (3) financial years the Department afforded 77 young graduates with an opportunity to gain workplace skills development. The department will continue to enhance this programme.
The value of culture and the arts cannot be underestimated as we struggle to maintain our individual and collective identities and build our respective communities.
In light of this, South Africa and Brazil will host a cultural season to promote people- to- people relations. South Africa and Brazil face similar challenges in relation to socio-economic difficulties.
Based on the principle of reciprocity and the agreement on cultural exchanges between the two governments Russia and South Africa, the Russian Federation hosted a Departmental delegation which included SA artists during the official opening and launch of the SA-Russia Seasons from the 29th November to the 4th December 2016. In that same engagement the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) initiated discussions on future collaboration with the Boris Yeltsin Library.
The Cultural Seasons opened opportunities for artists, including the Mzansi Youth Choir who have been invited to participate at a choir festival in China in 2018. April 2017 also marked the launch of the South Africa China People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM). This started a new chapter in our relations with China.
The department through its agency the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will also showcase their best films at the BRICS festival in China in June 2017. This the second edition of the festival which was initiated under the auspices of the BRICS Cultural Agreement signed in 2015.
In an effort to foster People-to-People relations within our own continent and to heighten socio-economic and political relations, we hosted cultural seasons with Algeria and Gabon last year.
We believe that through internationalism and multilateralism, together with our partners, we shall build a world characterised by greater inclusivity and equality.
Currently Section 18A of the Income Tax Act does not provide for donors to arts, culture, and sport and recreation activities to receive a tax deduction. Yet this provision does exist for other social sectors such as education and welfare.
Recognising the lack of progress with regard to the department’s first submission to the Davis Tax Commission, this year the Department collaborated with the Department of Sport and Recreation, and made a detailed representation in March 2017 regarding amendments to Section 18A of the Income Tax Act, amongst others, to Davis Tax Commission structures.
The Art Bank
The Art Bank project of the Department is being implemented by the National Museum and it will be launched through an exhibition featuring 100 works from young contemporary artists across the country at the end of May in Newtown, Johannesburg. This collection, will form a bank of art works, which will develop over time with new work purchased every year thereby creating direct opportunities for artists. The work will be made available for rental to government departments and other stakeholders. The exhibition will formally open the first Art Bank in Africa. Over the MTEF which started in 2016/17, R21 million has been allocated to the Art Bank.
Chairperson, the Debut Fund programme creates training, mentoring and funding opportunities for young artists from all disciplines making their debut. This programme has been launched through a media campaign calling for applications. In partnership with BASA, it is anticipated that this fund will support young artists from all over the country to take their first steps as professional artists. This new initiative was announced in the Budget Speech last year, and a call for applications has just been made.
Building of Performing Arts Centres and Theatre
In partnership with the Limpopo Provincial Government and the City of Polokwane a feasibility study was conducted to inform the development of a Polokwane Performing Arts Centre and theatre. We will be co-investors in the development of the infrastructure over the next 3 years, with R45 million provided throughout the MTEF for the design and implementation phases of the project. This is in pursuit of equitable distribution of arts and culture facilities and bringing infrastructure and access to the performing arts to all our people.
The incubator programme announced in 2015 has seen great successes in its pilot phase. This year we will be adding two more programmes to ensure better geographic representative and diversity in disciplines on offer through these programmes. Specific attention will be paid to supporting incubators in the design and craft sectors. Six provinces have been covered but plans are afoot to reach the remaining three provinces.
We are very proud of the Class of 2017 at the Market Theatre Foundation who garnered 16 Naledi Award nominations recognising excellence in artistic and technical fields. Since the programme’s inception 2,480 young people have been provided with education, training, production and technical opportunities through the incubators.
In June 2017, the Market Theatre Foundation will host the first Incubator Fair, an opportunity for incubator participants from the 5 programmes to come together and showcase their work for a week as part of our Youth Month programme.
The Cultural Observatory has played a key role in building the knowledge base of the sector. Consistent with the 2013 mapping study, recent research by the Observatory has found that 2,93% of total employment in South Africa is currently within the Cultural and Creative sector, making it a significant source of employment.
The Cultural Observatory will conduct a second Creative Industries Mapping study in 2017/18 (following the first study in 2013) which will provide us with insights on the growth and development, and assist in tracking changes since the 2013/14 study which created our first ever statistical overview of the sector.
The Mzansi Golden Economy programme of the Department continues to support flagship and other programmes throughout the country. Across all the activities supported in 2016/17, we created 7,590 verifiable work opportunities for artists and technical staff across the country. In the previous financial year, 27 national and regional flagships were supported. The 2017 SA Pavillion in Venice which opened to critical acclaim in May this year is a major international platform for South African visual artists. Through the MGE open call process, over 500 qualifying applications were adjudicated, with 146 funded to the value of R53,4 million.
Notable among these are:
- The DAC supported the “We Can Arts Festival” in KwaZulu-Natal province that recognizes excellence in the artistic endeavours of people with disabilities and celebrates their talent in the field of arts to the value of R500 000.
- A grant of R600,000 was provided to the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival in July 2016 which one of the largest Marimba and Steelpan festival of its kind in Africa.
- 5th Annual Women Theatre Festival created by award winning theatre director and playwright Ntshieng Mokgorois, was provided with a grant of R350 000 in support of this platform to celebrate women and their works.
- The Rapid Lion – The South African International Film Festival was provided with a 3 year grant of R12 million in support of this BRICS focused film festival that has helped to put the South African film industry in general on the map in Russia, China, Brazil, India and most of the African continent.
- The DAC supported a number of public art projects in the year under review. Stand out examples include the Promotion of South African Coat of Arms and Schools Emblem Project which used public art mosaic to promote South African National symbols among school going children; the “We the Transposed” Infecting the City festival that took art into public places in the Cape Town CBD, and the KwaNdebele Cultural Imbizo was a community festival, where local people in KwaMhlanga were given an opportunity to showcase their diverse Ndebele culture including culinary arts, traditional craft and music.
To strengthen the policy environment for heritage protection, preservation, promotion and transformation, in the forth-coming period, we will finalise the Policy Framework for National Museums, enrich the National Policy on South African Living heritage and finalise the National policy on under-water cultural heritage.
The National Policy on the Repatriation and Restitution of Human Remains and Heritage Objects is in the process of consultations.
The Department continues to increase the tempo of decolonising the heritage landscape through changing and standardizing names of geographical features.
Over the 2016-17 financial year, 3 Government Gazettes were issued which culminated in the approval of one hundred and five (105) name changes. Amongst them, there were 20 in the Eastern Cape, 34 in Gauteng, 3 in the Western Cape, 44 in Kwa-Zulu Natal and 4 in the North West.
Amongst the geographical names of historical significance that were standardized are the name change of Triomph to Sophiatown in the Gauteng Province. Sophiatown is seen as a symbol of social cohesion and proved to the apartheid government that people of divergent background could live together in harmony as one community.
The other place of historical and cultural significant that was standardized was the name change of Schotchekloof to Bo-Kaap, in the Western Cape.
African World Heritage Fund (AWHF)
The African World Heritage Fund, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May last year, continues to train communities across the continent, in the preservation of heritage sites and assist in the new tentative listings of these invaluable cultural heritage sites.
Two sites, the Sanganed Marine National Park in Sudan which covers Marine life and the Ennedi Massif Natural and Cultural Landscape in Chad which protects the flora life in that country, were listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in July, during the 40th World Heritage Committee meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey. 96 sites have declared by UNESCO in the continent and 8 of them are in South Africa.
Robben Island Museum (RIM) has started the process of procuring a much needed, locally built passenger ferry. This proudly South African museum has further developed a mobile APP that will assist in improving the visitor experience on the island through utilising the Wi-fi to engage in self-guided tours at their own pace.
The Nelson Mandela Museum has signed a partnership with Google which will launch the Google Expedition that provides a virtual tour of the museum.
Freedom Park has developed and set-up the heroes and heroines programme aimed at honouring the families of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
In celebration of international solidarity, Freedom Park memorialized King Lewanika of Barotseland in Zambia and his family was represented during the seminar.
As part of Women’s day celebrations in 2016, Freedom Park honoured and legendary women, for their role in the liberation struggle, in particular the struggle for women’s emancipation;, Mama Nokuthela MaMdima Dube, wife of ANC President John Langalibalele Dube,. Mama Nokuthela was also honoured by President Zuma, receiving a National Order of Baobab in Gold on the 28th April 2017.
In April 2015 we set up a Task Team on the Transformation of the Heritage Landscape to facilitate discussions on the values and principles that should inform our monuments, memorials and statues in public spaces and places.
After a series of consultations with provinces and municipalities, the Task Team presented a far-reaching report. I will be sharing the detailed report with the South African public through stakeholder engagements in the next two months.
My Department continues to reclaim the space and place of black people in the shaping of South African and World History. During the July 2016 Centenary Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood, the newly transformed site was unveiled by His Excellency, President Zuma. The main feature of this project was the inclusion of an exhibit and the narrative of the participation of the Native Labour Contingent during the First World War.
Heritage Bursary Fund
In the 2017/18 financial year, the Department will continue to provide heritage bursaries to support the development, availability and the retention of skilled human capital in the heritage sector. Since 2012, 180 students have completed their studies in heritage-related fields at universities, which include amongst others, Universities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Sol Plaatjie University, University of Cape Town, University of Venda and University of South Africa.
RESISTANCE AND LIBERATION HERITAGE ROUTE
We are seized with the development of infrastructure of heritage sites in all nine provinces to ensure that the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) tells the South African story, increasing the potential of attracting economic development as well as tourism.
Some of the sites of significance per province include the house of Charlotte Maxeke in Gauteng, the site of the Lowveld Massacre in Mpumalanga, Turfloop Campus in Limpopo, the Women Prison in Kroonstad, in the Free State, Mama Getrude Mpekwa Site in the North West, the Sarah Baartman Heritage Site in the Eastern Cape, sites associated with the Mandela Route in the Western Cape, the site of the Mayibuye Uprising in the Northern Cape and the Matiwane Museum in KwaZulu-Natal.
In June, the Department will host a Expert National Summit on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route. The main purpose of the summit is to assess progress made in the implementation of the Liberation Heritage Route in Southern Africa, popularly known as the roads to independence. This summit will lead to Ministerial discussion on Liberation Heritage by SADC Ministers of Culture in August 2017.
We are proud to announce that there has been progress with national declarations for sites associated to the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route project, with special focus on those identified for World Heritage Nomination.
The following were declared in 2016 - 17:
Sites at the University of Fort Hare – 25 May 2016; Liliesleaf Farm – 02 September 2016; Sites of the Sharpeville Massacre – 30 December 2016; Prison sites and the Constitutional Court at Constitution Hill – 10 March 2017; The Castle of Good Hope – 14 October 2016; The Samora Machel Memorial and Crash Site – 31 October 2016; Freedom Park – 10 March 2017; The Grave of Chris Hani, the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance – 24 March 2017.)
This year we will proceed with the development of the Raymond Mhlaba statue, and the construction of phase 1 of the O R Tambo project. We will also proceed with the development of the John Langalibalele Dube, Winnie Mandela and Isandlwana projects which are all at construction phase. All of the national legacy projects contribute to Outcome 7, the creation of jobs within the rural space.
The Department through its agency SAHRA has rehabilitated and refurbished the graves of the Founders of our Democracy. These included former presidents of the liberation movements like Messrs Mapikela, Moroka, Sobukwe, Biko and others.
As part of recognising Heroes and Heroines, memorials were constructed for the following: Victims of the Mine Disasters in the Crown Mine Area; Rehabilitation of the grave of Magriet Jantjies; Grave of Manche Masemola, Limpopo; Memorial of Madzunya; Statue of Kgosi Mampuru; Memorial Mme Matlala.
In preparation for the Mandela centenary next year, SAHRA is planning to declare the Mandela Collection as national heritage.
WHITE PAPER REVIEW
In our efforts to complete and expedite the transformation process of the creative sector, the revised draft seeks to develop new financing instruments, rationalise the current institutional framework and proposed new structures to fill gaps identified during the consultation processes.
The revised white paper gives attention to the development of policy instruments to protect and promote the rights and status of artists, including recognition of their unique status.
The revised White Paper moots a name change of the Department to Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage thereby recognising the full scope of the Portfolio.
LIVING LEGENDS LEGACY PROJECT
The Living Legends Legacy Programme has continued to hold master classes where there is transmission of skills by Legends across the generation divides In this year the Living Legends Legacy Trust will be formally established, allowing the project, which was launched in 2015, to continue its good work but critically to create partnerships within the private sector outside of the confines of government systems and structures.
The development of a sustainable mechanism to support our legendary artists, and to ensure that their talents and skills are fully utilised is critical for the development of the sector. Through the LLLP we will be creating a fund that can be invested in order to grow the resources for the benefit of the current and future legends. To celebrate South African arts and cultural legacies, the Market Theatre in partnership with Platform 4 staged the Divas of Kofifi, a tribute to Thandi Klaasen, Abigail Khubeka and Dorothy Masuka.
DEVELOPING LOCAL ARTS AND ARTISTS
The Market Theatre Foundation (MTF) celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. On 1 April 2016 the Windybrow Theatre was amalgamated with the Market Theatre Foundation. Intensive research has been undertaken to develop a more effective implementation plan for the Windybrow Arts Centre.
Through the National Arts Council we have continued to implement flagship projects such as the SA’s Schools Festival with over 5 000 learners and educators exposed to 53 different productions.
The Schools Arts Festival of ArtsCape continues to reach over 6 000 learners each year from across the Province. Last year, Quden Blaauw a 12 year old pianist participated and after being involved in the Schools Arts Festival travelled to Poland to represent South Africa. The DAC’s Artists in School project in 2016/17 saw 342 artists placed in 321 schools across the country. Since 2014, 880 artists have been placed, creating income generating opportunities for the artists and enhancing the educational experiences of learners. The artists join teachers in the classroom to improve the delivery of the CAPS arts curriculum.
DIGITISATION OF THE ARCHIVAL RECORDS
Through the co-operation project between L’Institut National De L’Audiovisuel (INA) and the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa involving the digitisation of dictabelts and the training of South African Archivists on the digitisation and restoration of dictabelts, the resultant Rivonia Trial Recordings will be made available to all South African citizens and the world at large on 27 October 2017 when we celebrate UNESCO’s World Day for Audio-visual Heritage.
The other digitisation projects to be implemented in 217/18 financial year include the digitisation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) audio-cassettes and Bloke Modisane papers.
The work of the Department and its entities will continue to be foregrounded on good corporate governance principles. The arts and culture portfolio was cited in the 2015 report of the Auditor-General as one of the portfolios that has improved its governance systems as measure by the number of clean audit outcomes in the portfolio.
The introduction of GRAP 103 standard compels all institutions to document and valuate all their heritage assets. While the documentation of the heritage assets can be done easily, and a R200 million injection has been made to facilitate this process, however, the valuation of the assets and the consequent safeguarding of them is what poses a huge challenge. But we are engaging with all the necessary stakeholders in order to find a lasting solution to this matter.
Despite the challenges that are imposed by the current economic climate, we managed to create job opportunities in our sector.
- A total of 15 074 jobs were created in the 2016/17 financial year.
- 7 590 created in the MGE programme,
- 1 423 jobs for librarian and support staff sustained through the Community Library Conditional Grant,
- 5 183 work opportunities created through the National Day celebrations,
- Our infrastructure development and maintenance projects at our performing arts institutions have created 653 work opportunities in construction.
- and 225 jobs created through our Seasons and other international relations programmes.