Welcome to this wonderful family reunion in Tshwane, South Africa. As the Executive Mayor, Dr. Ramokgopa has indicated, the city has much to offer. Apart from historic sites, the natural environment around this city is quite amazingly beautiful.
Today, I would like to preface my speech with some reflection and pay tribute to the history and heritage of our nation. Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the House and the South African population at large, that on the 21 July we will commemorate the tragic death, which occurred 40 years ago, of the first African Nobel Peace Laureate and President of the African National Congress from 1952 until 1967, Nkosi Albert Lutuli. Nkosi Lutuli is recognised internationally as an outstanding visionary, leader, teacher and proponent of human rights and justice for all. He has been described by many as a “profound thinker”, a person of “powerful logic” and a person of “lofty principles”. Today, the legacy of Nkosi Lutuli is celebrated throughout South Africa and throughout the African continent and the world.
The Ministry of Arts & Culture is directly relevant to understanding who we are as a nation, where we come from and where we are going. The legacy of colonialism and apartheid , have receded but are still an aspect of the daily lives of many, The DAC’s responsibility includes articulating our vision and our agenda for the realization of a democratic, non-racial society.
Business Arts South Africa, is a body that was initiated to bring together government, business and the arts community to promote and preserve the arts in South Africa.John Kani once advised me, in jest, never to give sufficient money to the artists.” then they will have nothing to talk about,” he jibed.
This is a landmark conference and it is indeed an honour for me to address a gathering representing so wide and diverse a spectrum of our democratic South Africa. I believe that the outcomes of this conference will place us in a better position to discuss and enrich our understanding of the promotion of cultural diversity and nurturing the diversity of cultural expression in our society.
It is, indeed, an honour for me to be invited to address you on this very important occasion and I would like to thank the Board of Swii as well as my colleague, Counsellor Nancy Sihlwayi for the privilege to participate in this celebration of the excellent work and achievements of Swii and the Imbadu graduands. On behalf of the Ministry and Department of Arts and Culture, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation for your dedication and commitment to the arts. Inene (it is true), kuyabonakala ukuba nithe “swii” zezobugcisa nenkcubeko.
We have come together once more to recognise and affirm the contribution made to South Africa’s recording industry and musical heritage by a number of artists. Among our invited audience are musicians; vocalists, instrumentalists, composers and arrangers as well as other role players in our music industry whose talents came to flower during the 1960s.
As Minister of Arts and Culture I have made a commitment to the growth, development and promotion of every aspect of our national culture. The arts, especially the theatre, played a significant role in the transformation of South Africa into a unified, non-racial democracy by constantly challenging the dogmas of racial superiority by depicting the simple humanity of all people.
Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
The thirteen years of democracy have wrought impressive changes on the South African landscape.
On behalf of the South African government, I would like to extend a warm welcome to President Hu Jintao and the delegation from the People’s Republic of China.
We are honoured to have Your Excellency here today at Maropeng, which is part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, one of the seven World Heritage sites that South Africa has inscribed on the World Heritage List.