Address by Deputy Minister Ntombazana Botha at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
11 Sep 2008

Thank you Ambassador Shope

Our Consular General: Dr Nokwe (who is based in Milan )

The Commissioners of the various countries’ exhibitions

Members of EDNET

Invited Guest

All the visitors to the South African Pavilion and friends of the Venice Biennale

Good evening and greetings from the government and the people of South Africa who are celebrating throughout this year the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela affectionately known as “Madiba”. On 30 March 1987 Nelson Mandela was awarded an honorary citizenship of Venice .

I would like to join His Excellency, Ambassador Shope, the South African Ambassador to Italy , who is also the Commissioner of our exhibition, in welcoming you all to the opening of the South African Pavilion. I would also like to acknowledge the presence of........ (Prof Ricky Burdett curator 2006 Biennale, Aaron Betskey curator 2008 Biennale, any Ministers, Mayors)

I am sure you already had a preview of our exhibition. Please take the opportunity to walk around later and also enjoy the music which will be rendered by our musicians, the Violin Tenors, all the way from South Africa (Zanoxolo Futshane, Mandla Zulu, Sandile Mathe, Bernard Madumo).

This is the second time that South Africa is participating in the Venice Architecture Biennale. We have learnt very important lessons from our first experience and we would like to thank all our international supporters for visiting our pavilion in 2006 and for encouraging South Africa to be represented again this year.

Many of you may be aware that South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The focus of our exhibition this year is on the impact of the construction and upgrading of the 2010 stadiums on the surrounding areas; as well as on the lives of our people beyond the erected physical structures of the stadiums themselves hence our theme “Locating 2010”.

Like other developing nations, particularly in Africa , we recognise the importance of shaping the built environment in a manner that benefits our people, in particular the poor and the less-advantaged.

“Locating 2010” examines how the allure of a global event like the 2010 FIFA World Cup evokes complex imageries of a world-class African city which gives rise to new forms of architecture and urban life in South Africa which will result in improved social and economic conditions of our people.

We would like to extend an invitation to all our international friends (architects and friends of the Biennale, tourists, soccer fans) to visit South Africa to experience first hand the meaning of “Out there: Architecture Beyond Building ”, particularly around the time when we will be hosting the Fifa World Cup. More importantly, visitors to our country will experience the hospitality and the abundant spirit of ubuntu which is the trade mark of our people.

South Africa is known to be a country of miracles touched by Madiba magic and we believe that the World Cup will remain in South Africa and you will all be there to celebrate the victory of our National team with us.

Now I would like to present to you the team of curators that have put together this exhibition. You will agree with me that they have done a sterling job and we are very proud of what they have been able to put together in a very short space of time. Let me introduce to you the team: Mphethi Morojele, architect and director of MMA Architects, in Johannesburg , South Africa , who was our curator in 2006.  We also have Hannah le Roux who is a lecturer at Wits University in South Africa together with Mpho Matsipa, who is currently completing her PhD in Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley , in the United States . This is the team that assisted us in designing and putting together this exhibition. (applause)

I now declare the exhibition open. Thank you all for being with us tonight and for coming to view our exhibition, please take a moment to listen to a message from our Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and enjoy the music by the Violin Tenors.  Once again, thank you all for being with us tonight. Enjoy the evening.