Minister Mashatile signs Cultural Agreement with Minister Barghouty of Palestine

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31 Jan 2012

PRETORIA: Speaking at the signing of a cultural agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the State of Palestine, Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile, said that today marks an important day as we “strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the people of Palestine and South Africa”.

He emphasised that “we are cementing people to people contact between our countries by signing an agreement on cooperation in the fields of art and culture” and that the agreement should be seen as “a practical expression of our commitment to use arts, culture and heritage to promote a better, humane and more caring world”.

He said that the agreement would promote mutual understanding, create opportunities to access cultural markets in both countries and facilitate training and development in areas of common interests.

Minister Mashatile also welcomed the opportunity for a South African cultural delegation to visit Palestine later this year as part of the “South African Week in Palestine”.

He also assured the Palestinian minister  Ms Siham Barghouty that South Africa continues to support efforts to resolve the Palestine Israeli conflict “premised on a two state solution with Palestine and Israel existing peacefully side-by-side as two independent states. “We will support stronger measures. Palestine must take its rightful place in world organisations” he said.

Minister of Culture in the State of Palestine, HE Siham Barghouty, spoke of the importance of culture and human feelings and culture as part of human liberation. She paid tribute to South Africa as “culture was part of the struggle against apartheid”.

She said that in Palestine: “We have struggled through our writers to assert our national identity. We have to protect our story and heritage”. She pointed out that “In East Jerusalem they changed the names of the streets and destroyed many heritage buildings to remove our identity”. “We have programmes in folklore, in writing to keep our national memory alive”.

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Joe Phaahla, congratulated the people of Palestine for taking their seat in UNESCO: “It is an achievement for the countries of the South, a new world order and a more democratic, sustainable and inclusive world.”

The cultural agreement covers areas such as languages development and heritage preservation, as well as exchanges in the fields of literature and libraries, music, dance, and drama, and includes art exhibitions and showcasing the artistic talents of both countries.

The South African cultural week takes place in August-September 2012 in Palestine.

For further information, kindly contact:
Mack Lewele at :082 450 5076