Media Statement by Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Arts and Culture Programme for Nelson Mandela and Sports and Culture Day, State Theatre

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28 Oct 2014

Programme Director,

Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi,

Acting Director General, Vuyo Jack

Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we gather here today, we note with shock and sadness, the passing away of two National Sporting Heroes, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Senzo Meyiwa, one after the other. This is a great tragedy for the sporting fraternity and the South African nation and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families and loved ones.

As we prepare for the Second Mandela Sports and Culture Day, let us be reminded of the insightful words of Tata Nelson Mandela when he said and I quote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” - Long Walk to Freedom

Tata Mandela impressed on us with these words that even during the darkest days we should never give up but should strive to achieve our goals.

It is this striving that has come to define us as South Africans.

We urge the nation to unite as we celebrate and contemplate the legacy of Madiba.

Both Arts and Sports bring people together, they provide a platform for people to excel.

They offer us the very vocabulary of cohesion and speak the language of teamwork and unity. 

They are the heartbeat of the cultural life of the nation.

The struggle for liberation was characterised by the dissemination of South African songs and music to the world carrying the conscientiousness and spirit of the oppressed people fighting against racism and discrimination.

In the last twenty years we have seen the birth of the creative economy and the flourishing of our arts and culture. 

This moment in our history has unleashed freedom of creativity and the power of the arts and sports to change people’s lives.

Let us live the values of Tata Mandela whose glory still shines and an entire generation who fought for freedom, among them, Cde, OR Tambo, whose birthday we celebrated yesterday, Tata Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and others of their ilk, who have passed the baton onto us as we build a non-racial and non-sexist, democracy.

Their pursuant deference to dialogue and engagement has ingrained in us a culture of justice and inclusivity in the intellect and actions of our people.

More than just an event, the Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day express South Africa’s diverse cultural, artistic and linguistic heritage. It will serve to promote patriotism, nation building and social cohesion.

It will serve as a lead event in the relay to Reconciliation Day celebrations and provide continual recognition of the international Nelson Mandela Day.

It will showcase art through multiple art forms on stage and highlight collaborative works of art.

It will include performance art, audio-visual art, graphic and dramatic art and highlight the 20 years of freedom celebration.

The arts and culture programme will include a National Colloquium intended to create a national dialogue and discussions on issues of national interest.

This colloquium will be held at UNISA on 18 November 2014 as part of the build up to the event.

There will be outreach programmes leading to the event day, including sports activities, namely running, cycling and a fun walk, including a cultural program.

The main event, UNITE4MANDELA CAMPAIGN, will take place on 22 November 2014 on the lawns of the Union Building in the form of a music concert.

The concert will consist of 67 Performers (including musicians, poets, comedians dancers and drummers), 27 Creatives (crafters, designers, technical trainees, visual artists) and 5 young Filmmakers.

The concert will be open to all from 12:00 and will feature artists from all genres of the South African spectrum of musical talent, and dance.

It will comprise of Jazz, Soul, Pop, Kwaito, Gospel, Afro Pop, Comedy, Maskhandi, Poetry, Drumming, Dancers, crafters, visual artists, designers, among other arts.

Artists include (in no order of importance): the Parlotones, Mafikizolo, Karen Zoid, Johnny Clegg, the Mahotella Queens, Phuze Khemisi, Donald Rhythm & Blues, Loconville, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Zonke, Zahara, Kurt Darren, Sibongile Khumalo, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Solly Mahlangu, Sfiso Ncwane, AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Uhuru, The Soil, Zakes Bantwini, Jasper Jazz, Black Coffee, Lulo Café Dance, DJ Zinhle, Wanda Baloyi Jazz, Izingane zoma, Nduduzo Makhathini, Brenda Mtambo, Morayks, Mo & the dark nights, Sabelo Mthembu, Leandro Urban and Jeremy Loops.

Poets and other artists will include Mzwakhe Mbuli, Lebo Mashile, Gcina Mhlophe, Afurakan, Naima McLean, dance groups, drumming groups and comedians, Celeste, Mo and Tumi Morake.

There will be 27 x Creative activities, 5 x Crafts stalls, 5 x Fashion designers stalls, 3 x Visual artists, 4 x traditional cuisine, 10 SARA technical trainees and 5 x Filmmakers to capture this event for all times.

Yesterday marked the celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as declared by UNESCO; and this year we mark the 50th anniversary of the National Film, Video and Sound Archives (NFVSA). It is our National Archives that in partnership with the French Embassy has been seized with the digitisation of South Africa’s audio-visual legacy including the documentation of the Rivonia trials.

Many of these recordings are at risk for being lost forever due to playbacks becoming obsolete and new technologies have taken over.

With new technologies, we are preserving the information contained in formats such as Dictabelts, VHS, audio cassettes and so forth.

The new technologies will help connect the past to the present and close the gap that has existed between the needs of users and the limitations of technologies.

In this way, the legacy of Tata Mandela and his fellow freedom fighters, are being preserved for future generations.

Promoting active citizenship is a vital element in contributing towards social cohesion and nation building. Inculcating this value in society, particularly among the youth provides a golden opportunity for ensuring that the vision outlined in the MTSF Outcome 14 is realized. As the Department of Arts and Culture we will be consolidating all our school engagements into a national program ‘UNITE 2.0 Schools Club’, this is a platform for us to fully focus our energies and resources in the learners on a more sustainable basis. This we believe will be great platform for learners to organise themselves into clubs in their schools, communities and immerse themselves in projects that uplift their own dignity and the dignity of others through arts and culture. The aim is creating a community centric approach to dealing with socio-economic, academic and entrepreneurial development of learners at an early age towards the carving of their professional career and patriotic path.

The UNITE 2.0 schools Club will be a catalyst to the values of the South Africa constitution, national identity and social cohesion, which is founded on a philosophy that places human dignity at the center of being. It is a philosophy steeped on the concept of Ubuntu, which is best captured in a Zulu phrase: ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’. In this regard The UNITE 2.0 club is a natural fit to the hopes and inspiration of the Outcome 14 of the MTSF.

This milestone and the events that we have outlined will give new meaning to making every day a Mandela Day.