Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the Living Legends Legacy Fraternity Trust Media Briefing, Burgers Park Hotel, City of Tshwane

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09 Dec 2020

Programme Director:

Members of the Living Legends Legacy Fraternity Trust.

Ladies and gentlemen

Members of the Media

I stand before you at a time when we are grieving the loss of a giant, Dawn Linberg, who passed away on Monday evening at the age of 75. Ms Lindberg was the founder of the Naledi Theatre Awards and formerly Chairperson of Theatre Management South Africa (TMSA), a pioneer and a game-changer. A living legend of her time whose contribution to the arts will go down the annals of history.

In conceptualising this structure of the Living Legends Legacy Fraternity Trust, we were informed by our deep appreciation of the contribution they have made in their respective disciplines within the creative sector. These are national treasures. Who have significantly contributed to where we are today. Both nationally and internationally. Flying the South African flag high.

The main aim of the Living Legends Legacy Fraternity Trust (LLLFT). is to identify, capture, preserve, protect and promote the body of work of the Living Legends, wisdom and knowledge systems in a programmatic way.

These are esteemed individuals who are no longer able to continue play the role they use to. But they have a wealth of knowledge and experience with them. Hence it is important to galvanise them and organsie them into the LLLFT programme in order to deepened engagements amongst  themselves and share best practices and transfer intergenerational skills so that their legacy continues.

This initiative is to engage our Living Legends actively in programmes that promote the arts and cultural development as well as providing opportunities for interaction and imparting skills, knowledge and experience to younger generations of artists.

This programme is also intended to document and to archive, so that we ensure that the legacy of their work is preserved for the generations to come.

To that end together with the legends we have developed programmes that focuses on several pillars. Amongst these pillars are the following: 

  • Masterclasses programme. Where they interact with universities and arts centres throughout the country, sharing their skills.
  • Internally initiated programmes, where they will memorialised some aspects of cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge system and showcasing their artistic talents, often in collaboration with young artists.
  • We are creating platforms to enable the legends to participate in build-up activities of the departmental supported flagship programmes.

At the beginning of this year, the Department released the most recent research measuring the creative economy’s contribution to job creation - before COVID-19.

An extensive mapping study by the South African Cultural Observatory, a project of the DSAC, sought to measure the economic contribution of the arts.

Using the “creative trident” method of measuring jobs, the report released in March 2020 indicated that 7% of all the jobs in South Africa – 1.136 million formal and informal sector jobs – are related to the cultural economy.

  • The number of cultural jobs in South Africa also grew at a faster rate than other jobs in 2016 and 2017. (The same study showed that the rate at which the cultural and creative industries are growing in terms of their contribution to GDP has grown on average at 2.4% per annum between 2016 and 2018 (measured in constant prices). This can be viewed as significant growth compared to the growth of the South African economy as a whole, which was only 1.10% p.a. over the same period.) 

The global economic downturn coupled with the advent of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our people’s lives and on sustaining livelihoods and on the health of the nation as a whole. Due to the spread of the virus and the resultant need for a lockdown, the cultural and creative sector was brought to a standstill and since then has struggled to return to its former heights. The entirety of the global economy is struggling to reach the former glory.

We are doing all these things in order to support the creative sector to grow and create new audiences in the same vain supporting the lively-hoods of the living legends.

Over the last few years, we have done substantial work with them in these areas. Unfortunately this work was hampered by the unfortunately incident that occurred which we all know about. It is against this background that to take this opportunity to congratulate the new leadership of the Living legend elected in the last elective AGM.

This arose from the realisation that the majority of the legends realised very late in their lives that their copyrights were signed to the unscrupulous industry charlatans in the form of lawyers, managers, publishers, galleries, etc. As such, they are unable to receive any form of income from their work.

Therefore, the LLLFT becomes a catalyst and a means for socio-economic transformation for our living legends to receive an income and improve their general health and well-being. The initial Trust Deed was adopted on 14th of June 2016. The letters of authority were issued on the 11th of January 2017, enabling the LLLP to be a registered as a trust.

To explain what is this animal called the Trust:  “a Trust, put simply, is an arrangement where a group of people manage assets or funds or any other kind of property that has been placed in their hands for the benefit of the beneficiaries of that Trust”. In brief, the trustees of the LLLFT are expected to manage funds on behalf of the organisation’s beneficiaries and not to line their own pockets.

In terms of clause 8.1 of the Trust Deed, Trustees of the Trust shall be appointed from the Beneficiaries of the Trust. In order for one to be eligible to be a Beneficiary of the Trust he/she has to comply with the criteria for Living Legends as set out in Annexure “A” of the Trust Deed. The criteria is set out summarily as follows:

  • beneficiaries must be nationally and internationally recognised and/or have a positive ongoing impact on the body of work influencing the arts and culture sector;
  • have made an extraordinary contribution to the arts, heritage and culture industry;
  • Must be at least 70 years old and have been an Arts and Culture practitioner for at least 15 years and be a person of good standing in society.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will appoint an administrative team to assist in the coordination of the structure’s programmes. DSAC will also coordinate with provincial offices to ensure that provincial LLLFT chapters are visible and active.

I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to the previous board for the sterling work they have done in the past five years despite all the challenges. I hope, trust and believe that you will continue on the trajectory to contribute in capacitating the sector and providing leadership as national treasures.

I am also please to note the role played by the provincial departments in mobilising the legends in their respective provinces and we hope to establish provincial chapters very soon.

Thank the outgoing members of the board and congragulate the newly appointed and state the task before them and wish them well.

I would like to thank Mrs Letta Semenya, the Acting Chairperson of the LLLP, for her immense contribution in the field of arts and culture, as well as all of our esteemed living legends and our MECs from the various provinces.

Thank you for your attention.