It is an honour and privilege to present this Budget Vote of the Department of Arts and Culture in the fifth democratic Parliament of the Republic of South Africa on this occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
We gather here tonight witness and experience a festival of ideas and cultural exchange. Tonight is a practical definition of what Africa Month means and has set out to achieve.
We gather here at this special and sacred Centre for the Book in Cape Town. It is one of those sacred sites where we find the minds, the ideas and literary products of some of the greatest writers that have been known to man. I believe their spirits are with us.
Artists always have been and will be part of the struggle to build peace and friendship in a united African continent that stretches from Cape to Cairo.
At this particular time, artists are called upon to fight all forms of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination: racism, sexism, ethnicity and xenophobia.
Thus we are looking at artists and other creative intellectuals in the sector to articulate and express the wishes, hopes and aspirations of the people.
We know that the people of South Africa and the continent want to leave in peace and harmony. We have seen the people of South Africa stand up to make it very clear that they are opposed to violence against foreign nationals.
On this day, 27 April 1994, we held our first democratic elections, signaling the end of racist apartheid rule. Today we remember that historic moment.
I am happy that you have joined us on what will mark a turning point in how we deal with the matter of colonial history and other cultural symbols in our country.
We meet here this evening as part of the initial stages of a month-long programme focusing on Africa for the month of May.
We gather here tonight to launch the Africa Month Cultural Festival Program. We gather here at this special and sacred Freedom Park heritage and memorial site. It is one of those rare cultural sites in this country and continent. It stands as a testament to African history, heritage and struggle.
The year 2015 has been declared the 'Year of the Freedom Charter' celebrating it's 60th anniversary. One of the key clauses of the Freedom Charter states 'All shall enjoy equal human rights'.