Social cohesion heart of Arts and Culture

Thursday, July 17, 2014

By More Matshediso

Pretoria - Social cohesion and economic transformation are at the heart of the Arts and Culture Ministry.

Briefing media ahead of his Budget Vote Speech on Thursday, Minister Nathi Mthethwa briefly outlined the role of arts, culture and heritage in the economic and social transformation of the country.

He said his speech will be rooted in the National Development Plan (NDP), particularly on issues of economic and social transformation.

On top of his agenda was the contribution and economic potential that need to be unlocked by his department.

“We want to beef-up the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy. We will be announcing the creative arts incubators which will be established throughout the country for the benefit of artists.

“We want to introduce the idea of Mzansi Golden Markets as well to showcase and promote indigenous artistic works,” he added.

Promoting local content

With regard to music, Minister Mthethwa said his department will look more into promoting local content and music development.

He said broadcasting stations had the responsibility to promote local artists as some obtained licences from ICASA for that reason.

“We will be putting mechanisms in place to monitor if local content is being played. We want local artists to get enough exposure so that they can grow,” said the minister.

Building inclusive heritage

He said the department will review its policies and laws to ensure that there is integration in society.

“One of the challenges facing our department is the disintegrated nature of what people do because they are from their different genres.

The Minister’s concerns were of the same tone as what President Jacob Zuma said in his 2014 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 17 June.

President Zuma urged citizens to continue to build understanding, tolerance and reconciliation in a fight against racism, xenophobia, homophobia and all related intolerance.

He said the use of sports and culture as a unifying factor in the country will continue during this five-year term.

“We will also continue to promote the Constitution in schools and ensure that our children grow up with positive values and love for their country and its people,” said President Zuma at the time

He said government in this administration will continue to build inclusive heritage over the next five years through building monuments and other symbols that honour the heroes of the struggle.

In terms of heritage, Minister Mthethwa said it was time that South Africa developed the Heroes Acre were freedom fighters and other heroes of the country would be buried.

The Minister said the Heroes Acre would help store part of the history of the country and will help rewrite the South Africa’s story, beginning from pre-colonial era to democracy.

Arts and culture programmes in schools

Minister Mthethwa said: “It is imperative that South Africans know their National Anthem because it is what united us as citizens of the country.”

The minister’s deputy Rejoice Mabudafhasi added that the department will deploy facilitators and educators in schools across South Africa who will oversee arts related programmes.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi announced that about R34 million has been set aside for all schools in the country to fly the national flag.

The money will also be used for national symbols kits which will be distributed to all schools. The kit will have inside the National Anthem pamphlet for learners, as a way of teaching them the lyrics and how it is sung.

SA’s vibe goes global

She said that South Africa had a Cultural Diplomacy where the country’s arts and culture was promoted to the world.

She said the SA government partnered with UK in heritage festivals and this year’s South African seasons will be launched in Glasgow in 18 July, coinciding with the International Mandela Day.

The department is also in negotiations of having the same relationship with China and Russia. –


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