Mr Peter Tladi and your organising team from the Joy of Jazz Festival
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Department of Arts and Culture is proud to be associated with the Joy of Jazz Festival.
I am reminded of a statement that has been ascribed to the African American poet, Langston Hughes, who is said to have stated:
“I would not give up jazz music for a world revolution!”
Well in South Africa, music historically has been part of the revolution – our jazz greats have also been active participants in the struggle through an art of resistance as indeed they are also keen activists through their music in a culture of transformation and of liberation.
We are proud to support this Festival that is now in its 14th year located in Newtown. This is an important milestone as we believe that this indicates that the festival is standing the test of time and continuing to appeal to newer and younger generations.
This is also significant as it demonstrates that sustainable strategies are at work to maintain excellence and that sound business practices exist as well as a dynamic approach to promoting the arts.
Thus our support for this Festival is about implementing our Mzansi Golden Economy strategy that seeks to contribute in taking the arts to new and unprecedented heights.
Through this Strategy we seek to unleash the potential of local cultural and creative industries as major drivers of sustainable economic growth and development as well as social inclusion.
Our involvement in the Joy of Jazz Festival and in other such major events is motivated by the reality that such events contribute to promoting social cohesion and nation building.
This can be seen from the diverse audiences that attend these events depicting the true rainbow nation that we are; a nation united in its diversity.
These events also contribute to the development of the economies of host cities as they tend to attract visitors from other parts of the country and even other parts of the Continent and the World.
The development workshops that are part of these events play a crucial role in facilitating skills development.
In these workshops young and emerging artists are given a unique opportunity to interact with established artists.
Our experience from these workshops is that those who take part in them are not only inspired by the exchanges with the established artists but also learn life long lessons that contribute to the advancement of their artistic careers.
We are encouraged that the Joy of Jazz Festival truly has made the Newtown Cultural Precinct its home.
This is significant because our long term vision is to develop Newtown as one of our country’s major cultural precincts that will be supported nationally to become a vibrant cultural hub hosting major cultural events throughout the year.
Through this intervention we will contribute to the growth of the local cultural and creative industries, create jobs for our artists and ultimately promote an inclusive society.
Programme Director, the implementation of Cultural Precincts throughout the country is but one of the many interventions we will make in line with the implementation of the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.
Other interventions include working with the Department of Basic Education to bring back arts education in schools.
Through this intervention we seek to encourage learners to pursue careers in the arts, develop appreciation for the arts among young people and thus contribute to audience development.
We will also be establishing a National Skills Academy for the Cultural and Creative industries.
In addition we will initiate the establishment of a sourcing enterprise which will ensure access to markets for local artistic products and support product development.
A touring venture will also be established to support local exhibitions and performances to tour domestically and internationally.
We have also committed ourselves to taking forward the planning and implementation of the Liberation Heritage Route focusing on both the tangible and intangible elements of our liberation heritage.
The Route will tell the story of individuals and sites that are of significance to the South African struggle for national liberation.
As we all know this struggle was fought on many fronts, drawing support from men and women from all walks of life in South Africa, in Africa, in the Diaspora and indeed in many parts of the world.
Furthermore a public art programme will be developed focusing on beautification and storytelling through art in communities and showcasing our country’s artistic talent.
An Art Bank will be established to curate and display art works in public buildings, including in all our embassies.
We also plan to establish a Cultural Observatory whose purpose is to develop key indicators, collect cultural statistics and analyze trends to allow global comparability and to inform future policy and resource allocation decisions.
Programme Director, we are aware that for us to succeed with these initiatives, it will require that we work together with all stakeholders.
We therefore take this opportunity to call on our stakeholders to join hands with us as we implement these bold initiatives that will ensure that our sector never becomes the same again.
I wish all those involved in the Joy of Jazz Festival all the best.
May this Festival grow from strength to strength.
I thank you.