7 Jun 2012
Hon. Minister of Arts and Culture. Mr Paul Mashatile
Hon. Chairperson of the Select Committee for Education, Sport and Recreation Ms. Wendy Makgathe
Hon. Members of NCOP
Hon. MEC present
DG of Department of Arts and Culture, members of management and Heads of our Institutions
Ladies and Gentleman
Comrade and friends
Let me firstly express my appreciation for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the budget vote of our department, Arts and Culture for 2012/2013.
This debate takes place in an important year in our history, that of the centenary of the oldest liberation movement in our continent the ANC. We are indeed a privileged generation to bear witness to this major historic epoch. It is for this reason that we have declared this year as a year of heritage, celebrating 100 years of selfless struggles for freedom and democracy and continuing to build on the foundation of unity in diversity.
We must celebrate not only the bravery of our forebears who fought for their dignity and birth right but also their wisdom in laying the foundation for a society based on nonracialism , non-sexism, equality, prosperity and dignity for all.
We must thank Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Sol Plaatjie, Sefako Makgatho, John Langalibalele Dube, Abdulah Abduraman and others for rising above the most brutal system of colonialism and racism and giving this country a possibility of building a truly non-racial and democratic society.
This being the Youth Month it also serves as a reminder of that generation of young people who played a major role for us to be where we are today. While 1976 was the epitome of the rise of the youth in the struggle for freedom let us remember that thousands of young people were in the forefront both before and after the June 1976 uprisings. These generations of young people sacrificed their youth and laid down their lives so that future generations would live in dignity and prosperity.
We are therefore obliged as the leadership of our country today especially in these august houses of parliament to make sure that the youth of today find their grounding and are accorded the conditions to contribute to the constructive development of our country.
While it is correct for us to be erecting monuments for the youth of 1976 such as the Hector Peterson memorial and the Solomon Mahlangu memorial, the only lasting tribute to our fallen youth is by making sure the youth of today and tomorrow have better prospects of contributing towards the building of a prosperous South Africa.
Arts & Culture in Struggle
Hon. Chairperson , as we celebrate 100 years of selfless struggles let us remind ourselves that Arts and Culture was a central player in the struggle for freedom, both in content and as vehicle of mobilisation.
It is widely acknowledged that colonialism and apartheid were not only about physical oppression, subjugation, dispossession and deprivation but above all about psychological conquest, the instilling of self about and self-hate amongst the conquered. It is for this reason that leaders of the diaspora identified the antithesis to this as the preaching of pride in ones’ African ness , blackness , ones’ history, culture, languages and customs as key to the psychological liberation and self-esteem of the oppressed.
Hon Chairperson, here in South Africa in our own struggle it was not a coincidence that in the midst of the most repressive era of apartheid in the late sixties and seventies Black Consciousness became a dominant philosophy of liberation .Thanks to leaders like Stephen Bantu Biko and many young students of the time , slogans such as ‘’Black man you are on your own’’, ’’Black is Beautiful’’ were coined. This was very important at a time when our people were getting demoralised after the arrest of the high command of MK and the ANC. Practices such as the use of skin lightening creams, stretching of hair etc. were frowned at as signs of self-hate and mimicking white looks.
At times of banning’s, detention and torture communicating messages through songs, poetry, and visual arts became the order of the day. Who can forget the magnificent works of authors, poets and musician such as Mirriam Tladi, Wally Serote, Oswald Mtshali, Mafika Pascal Gwala, Lefifi Tladi, Mirriam Makeba etc to mention a few
Who can forget the reverberation voice of Mzwakhe Mbuli ‘’ the peoples poet’’ in the funerals, night vigils and rallies throughout the country in the 80’s. Who can forget the graffiti on walls all over the country calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. Arts and Culture was a potent tool of the liberation struggle and today we must make it a potent tool of nation building and reconstruction.
We are therefore proud to announce that various monuments including the Steve Biko museum in Ginsberg, outside King Williams Town are virtually complete. A number of activities will take place this month in commemoration of June 1976.
Geographic Names Standardisation
Hon Chairperson our role in steering another project which contributes to national healing and reconciliation which is the standardisation of geographic names continues.We recently held a very successful workshop attended by many stakeholders. Amongst others the workshop recommended close cooperation amongst the three spheres of government.
Amongst recent high profile name changes approved were Louis Trichardt to Makhado again, Mafikeng to Mahikeng and King’s House, The Presidential Guest House in Durban to J.L. Dube House.
Hon Members the DAC remains seized with the mandate to promote multilingualism and especially the promotion of the previously marginalised indigenous languages. The official Languages Bill has been finalised by the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture and is ready to be tabled at the National Assembly next week. This Bill will go a long way in making sure that the majority of South Africans are able to access public service information in their indigenous language.
The other project in this area of work is that undertaken by The National Language Service in partnership with the University of North West which is the development of machine translation systems e.g. from English to Isizulu, Setswana and Afrikaans. This is available on the open source software for free and work is proceeding to address the need in other languages.
Books, Publishing, Literatue and Archives
In the area of books and publishing, we have funded the Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme aimed at support small independent publishers in publishing books by emerging writers in the nine indigenous languages.
Together with the National Library of South Africa we have launched 22 new titles as part of the African Classics Publication Programme.
This year 2012 National Book Week will be held at the Red Location Museum Precinct in Port Elizabeth from 3-8 September.
As part of preserving our stories, the National Archives together with Oral History Association hosted National Oral History Conference in Mahikeng in October 2011 where more than 50 learners participated. This year this conference will be in the Free State where learners will be trained on how to conduct oral history research and present their findings to the conference.
Digitalisation of archives is on-going. Tomorrow is International Archives Day which will be celebrated in Tshwane.
Honourable members, libraries remain an important tool of educating our youth. A reading nation is an informed nation which will be well equipped to deal with many challenges, as we know that Information is power. We therefore see the community Libraries Programme as an important flagship of our department.
As part of the Community Libraries Conditional Grant during the 2012/ 2013 financial year, 15 new libraries will be built and 50 upgraded.
An amount of 565 million is budget for 2012/2013, with Western Cape receiving 56, 129 000, Free State R50, 304 000, Gauteng R 56, 452 000, KwaZulu-Natal R48, 619 000, North West Province R64, 973 000, Mpumalanga R 68, 822 000, Limpopo R68, 822 000, Northern Cape R72, 395 000 and Eastern Cape R78, 058 00
Though the conditional grant for community libraries, in the 2012/2013 period new libraries will be built in Eastern Cape in Buffalo City and Matatiele Local Muninicipality. New Libraries will be built in Letsemeng Local Municipality, Free State, In Mogale City, Gauteng in Nkandla Municipality Kwazulu- Natal, in Capricorn District, Mopani District and Vhembe in Limpopo .New Libraries will be built in Mkhonto Municipality, JS Moroka Municipality and Pixley Ka Isaaca Seme Municipality in Mpumalanga, Moses Kotane Local Municipality and Greater Taung in North West, Groblershoop in Northern Cape and Mossel Bay in Western Cape.
There are fifteen libraries ear marked for upgrade in Eastern Cape, two in the Free State, two in Kwazulu –Natal , three in Mpumalanga , five in the North West , nine in the Western Cape and twenty –seven in the Northern Cape. It is envisaged that the existence of new libraries and upgraded libraries will result in better grades in all the schools nearby.
We received a touching letter of appreciation from the Emthojeni Youth Centre in Baviaanspoort Correctional Facility. Alina Mokoena , a Librarian paid from the library grant , enthusiastically implements a Spelling Bee Competition on the World Book Day Celebration impacting positively on the transformation of the offenders’ lives. These grade 10 learners were awarded dictionaries, bags and certificates which they will value even outside the Correctional Facility
Community Arts Centres
Honourable Delegates, we have begun a process of auditing all community arts centres in the country.
This audit seeks to establish among others, the physical state of these centres, their location, their functionality as well as the nature of programmes they offer.
Based on the results of this audit process we will identify areas of priority in terms of maintenance, refurbishment or improved programming.
The audit will also assist us to access the Community Arts Canters grant funding from National Treasury to provinces to support our community arts centres.
We are doing all of this because of the central role that community art centres will play in the roll out of some of the MGE programmes
Hon members as you are aware just over one and half months ago I leda delegation to Austria to retrieve the osteological remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar. The illegal exhumation and shipping away of the dead bodies of this couple are a stark reminder that colonialism did not only exploit living indigenous people but followed them even to their graves.We are pleased that the remains of this couple will finally be laid to rest around Kuruman in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District of Northern Cape on a date to be agreed with the Presidency. We thank the Austrian government, the Institutions and NGO’s especially the former anti-apartheid organisations for their cooperation.
Hon members we take our responsibility as champions of nation building and social cohesion very seriously. We are therefore perturbed with the developments over the last 2-3 weeks when Arts $ Culture dominated the news for wrong reasons. We agree with those who have asserted that the enjoyment of all the rights enshrined in our constitution cannot be experienced in isolation. While we believe in the freedom of expression whether in speech or art form, we believe that that cannot be exercised at expense of other rights especially the right to human dignity. Let our artists continue to do what they have been doing so well up to now. Let them not be distracted by isolated opportunistic and reckless adventurism.
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