More support to be given to South African artists

Cape Town – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says his department’s budget vote will focus on looking at how the arts, culture and heritage sector can be transformed and how it can contribute to government’s overall agenda of radical economic transformation.

The Minister said this when he briefed journalists at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town ahead of delivering his Budget Vote speech on Tuesday afternoon.

“We shall speak about piloting creative arts incubators across the country. These have the potential to be the hotbeds for cultural entrepreneurship and democratise access to tools of production,” he said.

He said the incubators were crucial to the sector in which artists have struggled to remain relevant over a long period of time.

The incubators would place a lot of focus on skilling young artists to ensure that they understood music not only from a vocal sense, but to also know how to read and write musical notes so that they become well-rounded musicians.

Minister Mthethwa said the upskilling of young people would also help young artists to be able to broaden their talents across a wide range of genres.

“Some of our youth would make it to the big stage but only for a few years and then you are told that the person is unknown.

“We are trying to cure that by ensuring that young people are taken out of any trouble.

“We should ensure that the youth is taught music and that if you are given notes, you should be able to read music.

“We are rolling out this programme in all the nine provinces. We have so far covered three provinces,” he said.

Minister Mthethwa said during Africa Month, the incubators would also be piloted in two additional provinces.

To date, 403 young people have benefitted from the incubator programme.

“The programme is on and exciting to us as this is going to contribute directly to radical economic transformation and we will have youth that is skilled,” he said.

Nation building and rooting out attacks on foreign nationals

Meanwhile, without taking some steam from his speech, the Minister also said that in the wake of violent attacks, the budget vote would focus on the significance of Africa Month and how it can be used as an education tool to all communities on unity.

“The department plays a pivotal role in promoting nation building and social cohesion. This focus and responsibility has come to the fore, especially in the light of recent attacks against foreign nationals who live among us.

“Our democracy and freedom has just turned 21. This means it has matured.

“We will not forget the role and contribution the international community, especially African countries, have made towards our attainment of democracy and freedom. We remain thankful for that,” he said.

He called on artists and musicians to play their part in educating the nation about tolerance of all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds or tribes or anything that is used to propel violence.

“We need a call from our artists, our musicians, to play their role and highlight the importance of racial and cultural tolerance.

“It is important for us to deepen such programmes because the one way we are going to deal with these challenges is through education to make the people understand,” he said.

The Minister said the speech would also give an update on the work that has been done by the Task Team appointed to address the heritage landscape.

Meanwhile, Vuyo Jack, the department’s acting Director General, said he would soon hold talks with the Davix Tax Committee to propose that incentives be introduced to make donations that are given to the arts, culture and heritage sector to be tax deductible.

He said this would help channel more donations to the sector.