The following organisations play an active role in preserving and promoting South Africa’s arts and culture:
National Heritage Council (NHC)
The National Heritage Council, a statutory body that aims to bring equity to heritage promotion and conservation, was officially constituted on 26 February 2004 in terms of the NHC Act, 1999 (Act 11 of 1999) [PDF]. The council creates an enabling environment for preserving and promoting South African heritage.
Its other objectives are to protect and promote the content and heritage that reside in orature; to integrate living heritage into the council and all other heritage authorities and institutions at national, provincial and local level; to promote and protect indigenous knowledge systems (IKS); and to intensify support for promoting the history and culture of all South Africans.
The NHC spearheads campaigns to revive the values of ubuntu and is developing the Heritage Transformation Charter.
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South African Heritage Resources Agency (Sahra)The National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act 25 of 1999) [PDF], established the South African Heriage Resources Agency to provide for the identification, protection, conservation, and promotion of South Africa’s heritage for the present and future generations.
The Sahra aims to introduce an integrated system for the identification, assessment and management of heritage resources and to enable provincial and local government to adopt powers to protect and manage them.
Sahra has established the National Heritage Resources Fund to provide financial assistance to an approved body or individual, for any project that contributes to the conservation and protection of South Africa’s national heritage resources.
Conservation categories include:
- national heritage sites, registers, areas and objects
- protected areas
- structures of more than 60 years old
- burial grounds and graves
- fossils (palaeontology) and archaeology
- rock art
- underwater cultural heritage, including historical shipwrecks.
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South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC)The SAGNC is an advisory body appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture in terms of the SAGNC Act, 1998 (Act 118 of 1998) [PDF]. The council advises the minister on the transformation and standardisation of official geographical names in South Africa. The council has jurisdiction over all names of geographical features and entities falling within the territories over which the South African Government has sovereignty or jurisdiction acquired by treaty.
The following principles are adhered to:
- each individual feature or entity should have only one official name
- the following types of geographical names should be avoided:
- approved names of places elsewhere in South Africa
- names of places in other countries, and names of countries
- names that are blasphemous, indecent, offensive, vulgar, unaesthetic or embarrassing
- names that are discriminatory or derogatory
- names that may be regarded as an advertisement for a particular product, service or firm
- names of living persons.
Geographical names committees have been established in all nine provinces. These committees play an important role in standardising geographical names. A list of all approved names is available at http://sagns.dac.gov.za.By June 2009, the SAGNC was conducting public hearings on a policy for name changing.
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National Arts Council of South Africa (NACSA)The National Arts Council aims to:
- support arts practice by creating and providing opportunities to achieve excellence in the arts, within a climate of freedom
- achieve equity by redressing imbalances in the allocation of resources
- promote and develop appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the arts through strategies that include education, information and marketing
- enhance support for and recognition of the arts by promoting and facilitating national and international liaison between individuals and institutions
- establish and recommend policy in the development, practice and funding of the arts.
It also offers bursaries to tertiary institutions for undergraduate students. Individual bursaries are offered for studies towards a postgraduate qualification in South Africa and abroad.
The NAC funds the Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng philharmonic orchestras and the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra.
The NAC and International Federations of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies co-hosted the fourth World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg in September 2009.
The summit coincided with the Arts Alive Festival, an annual programme of cultural events hosted by the City of Johannesburg. The theme of the summit was Meeting of Cultures: Making Meaning Through the Arts.
The summit was also supported by the Department of Arts and Culture and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts and Recreation.
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