Statement Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi on Arts Education in Africa SADC Conference at the First Ordinary Session of African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Youth, Culture and Sport Held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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01 Nov 2014


Honourable Ministers;

H.E. Dr Mustapha Sadiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs;

H.E. Dr Martial De-Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology;

Distinguished delegates

As we are gathered here today, it has been a sad week for our nation as we have mourned the passing away of three national sporting heroes, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Senzo Meyiwa and Phindile Mwelase.

But we shall pick up the batons that they have handed to us and march on and be consoled by the words of Tata Nelson Mandela who said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall”.

As a nation we have suffered blows and setbacks, but along with all the nations of the entire African continent, we shall pull ourselves up, carry the legacy forward of our fallen heroes and rise to even greater heights.

A few days ago in South Africa we launched the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day that will be held on 22 November 2014.

The events of this day are part of a “Unite” campaign that brings youth and other people of different generations to work for change.

Allow me to express our fraternal greetings on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa.

It is at this juncture that I am reminded of the words of a visionary leader and Africa’s own son, Oliver Reginald Tambo who once said, “A nation that does not invest in its youth is not worth its future”.

These words find resonance and epitomises what the African Union Commission seeks to achieve through the formation and establishment of the ground breaking Specialised Technical Committee meeting on Youth, Culture and Sport.

Indeed it is time to mainstream our efforts for socio-economic transformation of our continent and to stop working in silos.

Youth are the heirs and should be the vanguards of the Africa we want. It is of vital importance that we involve them at all levels when we discuss issues that affect them and their future. As they normally say, nothing about us without us.

South Africa remains resolute to support the implementation strategy of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance – Agenda 2063 that was adopted early this month at its launch in South Africa.

To show our commitment in support of the implementation strategy we are alreadycollaborating with the NEPAD to host the SADC Regional Conference on Arts Education and Training in March 2015 under the theme “Arts Education in Africa-Towards Policies and Practice”.

This Conference is regarded as an inaugural regional platform for African member states to consolidate an Africa position on arts education.

This initiative brings together regions to deliberate on the formalisation of arts education in education systems in the continent. It is also encouraging torealise that member states welcomed this initiative for it has the potential to increase the appreciation for arts at early age of human development, which will ultimately increase demand and consumption of cultural goods and services.

This will without any doubt creates jobs and contribute to economic development. South Africa has already adopted mechanisms such as Artists in schools project which places talented artists in schools to teach alongside qualified teachers.

The Africa’s position on Arts Education is another step in consolidating an African Development Agenda beyond the Millennium Development Goals and it is in line with the aspirations of African Union Agenda 2063. Indeed, arts education is an opportunity for African states to harmonise policy approaches and mechanisms for implementation of arts education policies in Africa.

We are of the viewthat, harmonisation of policies and programmes on arts education and training will not only improve the quality of education, develop human capacity, promote the expression of cultural diversity, promote youth development,but it has a potential to contribute to regional integration and sustainable development and equally important is its potential to influence the creation of a cohesive society in the region and the continent.

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that South Africa will host the next World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) from 13 to 23 August 2015 in Cape Town. This Congress is a global drive to create awareness of the importance of streamlining knowledge and information in the world.

The IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services professional and their users. It has 1600 members comprising of national and international associations, institutions and individuals from 140 countries. IFLA has 122 member organisations in Africa and the Africa Regional Office is based in Pretoria, South Africa.

In this regard, about 3000 delegates are expected to participate from around the world. The conference of this stature is an important platform for professional engagement, the exchange and sharing of ideas, learning from others and hopefully an opportunity to identify areas for partnerships and collaborations.

We therefore extend an invitation to Member States to attend, support and participate in this important international event to be hosted on the African continent.

This platform will enable us showcase our own African paths as we work towards Agenda 2063, which calls for a strong cultural identity, values and ethics.

The father of our nation and world icon, the late President Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

I thank you – Merci.