Keynote address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the opening of Moshito 2014

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05 Sep 2014

Programme Director,

Chairperson of Moshito, Mr Sipho Sithole

Distinguished Moshito Board Members

International guests,

Local Music sector,

Officials from various government structures,

Ladies and Gentlemen

All protocol observed

It is my pleasure to address the opening of Moshito 2014. We gather here today in the full understanding that music is a global business. It is an important instrument that contributes to the economy and, above all, creates employment, fights poverty and enables a decent standard of living for musicians and other professionals in the sector.

The purpose of this conference is to give guidance and direction to strengthen and consolidate the business of music. It is now an open secret that the creative industries contribute billions to the economies of developed countries like United States, the UK and Germany, among others.

We have come together, again, to explore possibilities to make it easier for the music business and its practitioners to access the new opportunities in the creative industries global market. We will have failed to fulfil our historical mission if we do not manage the impact of globalization in a way that will protect, preserve and advance our interests in the global market.

At the end of the day, we must have provided clear on how we use the arts to contribute to the upliftment of our economies.

I believe we have made some giant strides in developing and implementing policies on heritage, especially the cultural industries, to contribute to radical economic transformation and thus change the lives our artists in the sector.

As the policy formulating Department, we have managed to mainstream and highlight the role and contribution of the arts sector in the economy. It is almost 20 years ago in 1998 when we released the Cultural Industries Growth Strategy to advance the cultural industries landscape.

It was three years ago in 2011 when the Department adopted the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy to unleash the economic potential of the creative sector through large scale investment. In a significant development, Parliament adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) which requires us to use the creative industries to grow an inclusive economy, build skills and to promote active citizenry, leadership and partnerships, among others.

This conference must help refine strategies that government has put into place for the creative industries to create employment, fight poverty, provide skills and economic self-reliance among artists.

We believe that artists, especially musicians, are small and big business men and women! Thus the Department will establish and launch cultural incubators for content production, talent development, establish a Venture Capital Fund, value capturing and value circulation.

This development will provide spaces and facilities for artists to locate their business as the first step towards job creation and creating opportunities for economic self-reliance.

The fast growth of the information super highway has seen the internet used wrongly to undermine gains in the music industry. Unfortunately, it has been used to facilitated piracy and knocked CD sales. But the industry has turned the corner, now.

In an April report, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) indicates that digital sales now accounts for 39 per cent of total industry revenues in the world.

There is strong growth projection in the developing world including Africa. South Africa - which is currently the African region’s largest market - has seen digital music revenues doubled in 2013 reaching 107% growth. This accounts for 14% of the total market worth US$63 million.

However, there are still obstacles to development in most emerging markets. A fair playing field, supported by strong laws and effective enforcement, remains the key attention. We will have to work together to firm up issues of our copyright legislation and regulations to deal with issues such as labour related matters and protection of local content quota.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that the President of the Republic, Honourable Mr Jacob Zuma has taken a special interest in the sector. Thus we have to provide updates on developments. What is important to note is that the head of Government is willing to assist in the transformation of the sector. It is unfortunate that there is lack of unity and coherence when dealing with broad issues affecting the sector.

The urgent need for effective organization cannot be more emphasized. It is for this reason that we have provided resources for creation of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation. The creative sector must assume responsibility and take leadership on its own issues. We want to see this structure speedily resolve the individualism, competition, disunity, lack of organization to quickly present us with an organization that will engage the State to ensure rapid service delivery.

As we celebrate 20 years of democracy and freedom, Moshito will need to work better with government and other stakeholders to strengthen and redefine its role to help move forward towards radical economic transformation. It has spread its network and now has partners coming from beyond our borders.

We wish to welcome practitioners from around the African continent, Asia, Europe, Latin America and others parts of the world. We will always need to work together to transform the local industry so that it can make its own contribution to making the world a better place through the business of music.

This event is taking place in Africa and may be the biggest of its kind in the continent. This marks an important development in elevating the role of the arts, especially music, in the continent. We are looking forward to celebrate the Congo cultural experience and establishing closer ties with a country that has been in the forefront of internationalizing the distinct sounds of African music.

We are looking forward to your participation during Africa Month next year where we will launch the biggest event to celebrate African arts from the continent and the Diaspora.

We envisage that the event will draw African artists from all over the world to take their rightful place as champions and custodians of the continent’s soul and future vision.

We have to work together to use the creative sector as an instrument of radical economic transformation. Let us take the struggle forward to use the arts, culture and heritage sector to deliver a better life for all, especially the artists themselves.

On behalf of the government of the Republic of South Africa, its people and artists, I welcome you all to Moshito 2014. Enjoy the beauty of the country and join us in the celebration of 20 years of freedom and democracy. 

Thank You.