Address by Deputy Minister Mr Paul Mashatile at the Budget Vote of the Department of Arts and Culture, Cape Town

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19 Jun 2009

Honourable Speaker
Honourable Members
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Social cohesion and nation-building
In his State of the Nation address, President Zuma called on each and every one of us to help build a more cohesive society. The arts, culture and heritage sector plays a significant contribution to social regeneration, unity and reconciliation. As we transform our country, we need to ensure that we inculcate the spirit of solidarity and a caring society. The Department of Arts and Culture is tasked to lead and coordinate efforts to promote national identity and social cohesion.

We have identified the popularisation of national symbols, national days and the Standardisation of Geographical Names in SA as pillars of our strategy to foster national identity.

Our Bureau of Heraldry is also involved through its campaigns on the popularisation of national symbols and the Flag in Every School Project to promote a shared value system and engender a greater sense of nationhood. In this regard we will produce publications which include pictorial posters, information charts, booklets and brochures. All of these will be distributed in all provinces.

We also intend to do the following as we intensify our campaign:

  • Conduct 28 workshops on national symbols in collaboration with the Department of Education.
  • Install flags in all schools across the country
  • Declare April as the Flag Month and intensify our activities with effect from next year

Our Department continues to promote oral history as part of our efforts to ensure that our heritage landscape is indeed reflective of our national memory and contributes to nation building and identity. We will promote oral history especially among marginalised communities whose heritage and history has been ignored for many centuries. We will later this year host the annual oral history conference in Cape Town to ensure that we preserve the rich heritage of our nation for posterity.

Access to the arts
Community arts centres
Honourable Members, the ANC-led government is committed to the principle of universal access to the arts as stated in our Constitution. We have created community art centres to improve participation in the arts. This year, we will establish cultural Centres of Excellence, one in each province, which will then serve as flagships for the rest of the province.

The Centres will ensure the implementation of quality art programmes. We will support the promotion of people’s arts in Community Art Centres, through encouraging local theatre groups, music groups, local cultural forms of expression and other creative work. Training in the management of art centres will be provided to ensure effective programming within the centres.

Marginalised groups
The Department is mindful of the fact that we will not achieve our objective of access to the arts if we turn a blind eye to the plight of marginalised members of our society.  One of our associated institutions, the South African Library for the Blind (SALB), has partnered with Braille SA to host a National Braille essay writing competition. All entries will be published in a Braille book to raise awareness about Braille and to stimulate an interest in writing South African stories in Braille. We believe this is an important step in our collective efforts to ensure that the doors of learning and culture are open for all.
We will continue to support the Library for the Blind in its planning of the launch of tactile picture books for pre-school blind children later this year. This initiative will help develop skills and create jobs for unemployed women.

We will, in this financial year, introduce a mobile unit used to identify talent among people with disabilities and empower disabled artists and community productions. This is a partnership between our Department and the South African Disabled Musicians Association (SADMA)

Choral music
Chairperson, throughout the centuries of struggle against colonialism and apartheid, choral music played an important role in the lives of our people. To date, choral music continues to be one of our main forms of cultural expression. Every community has some form of a choir and we regard this art form as very participatory in nature because it is practiced by both the youngest and oldest members of society. It can thus be used to promote social values and contribute to the promotion of Ubuntu in South Africa.

Our Department intends to develop the choral music sector through a focused policy to support and govern its growth. This policy will be underpinned by a strategy and an implementation plan to ensure delivery.

We will conduct nation-wide consultations with the sector to ensure that the policy framework represents the aspirations of our people, the practitioners of choral music. This process will culminate with a national conference to finalise and adopt the Policy Framework.

I am happy to announce that we will establish National Youth and Adult Choirs that are truly representative of our people and will thus enjoy government support. Full details of the implementation plan will be released in due course.

Arts education and skills development
The Department has introduced an internship programme to ensure that we increase capacity in the administration and management of our sector. We recognize that the management of our sector requires special skills and we therefore use the internship programme to attract young people to take tertiary studies related to our work.
The Department created 110 job opportunities for unemployed arts practitioners in the five provinces of Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal through the Artists in Schools (AiS) programme. A further 33 jobs were created through the support of the Jazz for Juniors project (chronicling the history of the struggle for liberation of the South Africa through jazz music.

Promoting Multilingualism
Part of our Department of Arts and Culture’s mandate is to develop and promote our official languages.

Through language planning and carefully designed language programmes, we seek to influence the outcome of present-day social processes in practical ways. For example, as part of our strategy to strengthen and promote social cohesion through multilingualism, we have embarked on the development of human language technology (HLT) applications that will ensure redress for the previously marginalised indigenous languages.  Projects such as this will connect South Africans, equipped with nothing but a normal telephone, to government information and services regardless of their level of literacy and location.

Our Constitution provides for the principle of linguistic self-determinism -albeit within limits. This choice is not only viable but also desirable for language planning decision making because it promotes social equity-a crucial element for nation building and social cohesion.

Creative Industries
Creative Industries make significant contribution to job creation and economic development. South Africa, notwithstanding its rich history of beading, does not produce beads but imports them from countries like India, Taiwan and the Czech Republic. The Department is currently working with our Embassy in the Czech Republic and factories in that country towards identifying possible partnerships for accessing both the technology and skills to enhance South Africa’s capacity.

The Department has identified the craft industry as a strategic sector that will make key interventions in the economic upliftment of our people. The crafts industry has the potential to create meaningful jobs and the Department has begun to consolidate the marketing and distribution of South African products to international markets such as Art Mundi in Brazil.

This year the Department established the annual National Craft Awards where no fewer than 60 crafters across the 9 provinces were awarded prizes and recognition for their contribution for craft development.

The music industry is a key growth sector for the development of small to medium enterprises. The Department has bought the Downtown Studios from Avusa media.  The vision is to develop the studios into a music heritage centre for local content.  The hub will be central towards supporting independent music creators and producers.

We will continue to host the annual Moshito Conference and Exhibition which has become the key African continent music exhibition and marketing point.

South Africa will continue to participate at theMarché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale (MIDEM)-the most prestigious music trade-show in the world. MIDEM is held annually in France and attracts in excess of 10 000 music business practitioners who showcase their products.  The aim of our participation is to market and promote South African music abroad and learn from our peers so that we can be globally competitive.

South Africa has been given the status of “Country of Honour” at MIDEM in 2010. This means that we will be given the opportunity for a full marketing and promotion of South African music through live events, publicity, exclusive branding and thus providing an undivided attention from top executives in music business across the world.

On 3 July, the Minister and I will meet representatives from the music sector to discuss how we can work together to improve the viability of the industry.

Technical Services and Events
Our Department has identified the Technical Services and Events industry as an important element of economic empowerment and job creation. The 2010 FIFA World Cup is an event which will create huge job opportunities for technicians and creative producers. The Department has just completed a major investigation and consultation with the sector to reposition and transform this key industry especially in terms of creating job opportunities and BBBEE for youth and women.

Government remains one of the key drivers for this industry in terms of job opportunities for government related events and exhibitions. We need to develop the skills in technical services (sound engineering, stage management etc) especially for our youth to ensure that they can access the opportunities in this industry.

International Relations
Forty arts practitioners will also participate in the Pan African Arts Festival in the Republic of Congo in August 2009. The Festival also serves as a music market for new recording deals and sales of music instruments and production equipments

The People’s Republic of China has extended an invitation to the Government Republic of South Africa to participate in the Shanghai Expo from May to October 2010. The Shanghai Expo 2010 will be an opportunity for us to showcase our arts and culture to the world and serve to consolidate South-South cooperation

2010 FIFA World Cup
Our Department will work with the Local Organising Committee of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to ensure that we present an African World Cup as promised in our bid.

We believe that the tournament presents our country with a unique opportunity to consolidate efforts towards the achievement of social cohesion, economic growth and a general positive mood in our country. All of these are essential building blocks for national identity and pride.

The opening and closing ceremonies as well as other cultural manifestations will reflect rich African cultural content and open opportunities of investment in arts and culture.

This year, as part of the celebrations of the birthday of Nelson Mandela, South Africa together with other nations of the world will celebrate the life, values and ideas of Isithwalandwe, Madiba! July 18 has been declared Mandela Day. President Jacob Zuma has committed the government to support this initiative. We can upon all of our people to dedicate 67 minutes of their time on July 18 for the goodwill of others and service to humanity. The Department of Arts and Culture will coordinate government’s participation in the activities planned for Mandela Day.

Chairperson, we believe that the vote will go a long way in ensuring that we ensure access to the arts, create a caring nation and inculcate the spirit of unity among our people.

Thank you