- Arts and culture initiatives
- Cultural industries
- Cultural tourism
- Arts festivals
- Visual arts
- National Library of South Africa
The Department of Arts and Culture is the custodian of South Africa's diverse cultural, artistic and linguistic heritage. It is directly responsible for several public entities, including museums, art galleries, the National Archives and six playhouses. The country's rich cultural legacy and the creativity of its people mean that South Africa can offer unique stories, voices and products to the world. In addition, artistic endeavour and expression can foster values, facilitate healing and restore national pride.
South Africa's music industry was worth R2,2 billion in sales in 2011; the craft sector contributed R3,3 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 and employs more than 273 000 people; and the visual arts sector has a turnover of nearly R2 billion.
A national consultative summit on the contribution of the arts, culture and heritage sector to the economy was held in April 2011 and took a number of far-reaching resolutions.
The summit resolved to continue with the implementation of the National Liberation Heritage Route Project, which will tell the stories of the country’s liberation struggle.
Another resolution was that the departments of arts and culture and basic education should develop interventions in the education system to bring back arts education into schools. Through this initiative, government will deploy 3 000 full-time art facilitators in schools throughout the country.
The implementation of these projects is estimated to create 16 000 work opportunities and 2 300 full-time equivalent jobs between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The Public Art Programme, which will focus on beautification and storytelling through art in communities and showcasing artistic talent, is one of the three projects aimed at stimulating demand in the sector. The programme is projected to create 5 000 work opportunities between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The heritage legacy projects include the liberation heritage route and a marine heritage project. The latter is a recreational underwater museum in Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, which will interpret aspects of the history of slavery, indentured labour and the South African Native Labour Corps. It has the potential to create 1 517 work opportunities with annual growth of between 200 and 968 work opportunities between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The Department of Arts and Culture declared 2012 as the Year of Heritage, with the aim of preserving South Africa's rich and diverse cultural heritage, paying particular attention to liberation heritage.
This involved museums, monuments and statues in honour of those who played a significant role in the struggle for liberation.
It also included the upgrading and declaration of national heritage sites, places and graves of heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle.
- In honouring the legacy of the former President of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, a museum, interpretation centre and statue will be built at Nkantolo, Bizana, which will create an estimated 50 permanent jobs and 90 short-term jobs.
- Work is also underway to upgrade and declare as heritage sites the graves of Dr Beyers Naude and Robert Sobukwe.
- In KwaZulu-Natal, the department launched the Dr John Langalibalele Dube Heritage Legacy Project, which is expected to create 270 jobs.
- In the Western Cape, the department partnered with the Ray Alexander Simonds Memory Centre in building a museum and a community centre in Gugulethu.
- The Steve Biko Centre was opened in Ginsberg in the Eastern Cape, and was expected to create 609 jobs.
The following were declared national heritage sites:
- The graves of Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and Charlotte Maxeke.
- The Voortrekker Monument, which was connected with Freedom Park by road. The second phase of the Freedom Park Museum, !IXhapo, which will reflect South Africa's history in its totality, was opened in late 2012.
- The Wesleyan Church in Waaihoek and the Maphikela House in Mangaung.
- The houses of former ANC President Joseph Makgatho and Bram Fischer.
- The site of the 1957 anti-pass women's march in Zeerust.
This work is part of the liberation heritage route, through which sites and individuals of significance and to the struggle are connected.
Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy
As part of the national target of creating five million jobs within the next 10 years, the Department of Arts and Culture launched the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy in late 2011, expected to create more than 150 000 work opportunities between 2012 and 2017.
More than R1,5 million was set aside for the Bokgabo Dikolong visual arts and photography competition, which targeted learners from all provinces and was implemented jointly with the Department of Basic Education.
A further R600 000 was set aside for the South African School Choral Eisteddfod, involving all provinces.
Other cultural events that received support, include the:
- Mangaung African Cultural Festival
- North West Cultural Calabash in Taung
- Diamonds and Dorings in Kimberley
- Joy of Jazz in Johannesburg
- Cape Town International Jazz Festival
- National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Infrastructure development drive
In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma unveiled a massive drive towards infrastructure expansion.
The earmarked infrastructure allocation for arts and culture will be used to build, upgrade, restore and maintain museums, performing art centres, libraries and archives.
The department will spend an estimated R168 million on the construction of the Sarah Bartmann Centre of Remembrance in the Eastern Cape and R44 million on the construction of the Matola Monument Museum.
The upgrade to the Craigelea Building in Pretoria, used as the headquarters of the National Film and Video Archives, was completed in 2011/12. Several other projects will be running from 2012/13, such as the upgrading of facilities for people with disabilities at the National Archives of South Africa.
Investing in Culture Programme
The Investing in Culture Programme promotes job creation, skills development and economic empowerment, supporting business start-ups and poverty-alleviation projects.
Funds are transferred to participants in the programme's projects and are disbursed on the basis of annual business plans and service level agreements between the department and the individual or group contractors.
The following organisations play an active role in preserving and promoting South Africa's arts and culture:
- National Heritage Council
- South African Heritage Resources Agency
- South African Geographical Names Council
- National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) arts institutions such as:
- Business and Arts South Africa
- Arts and Culture Trust.
Cultural villages reflecting the different cultures, traditions, arts and crafts of South Africa's diverse population, have become popular drawcards for tourists.
Annual arts festivals are growing in popularity and attendance numbers. These include:
- Aardklop, held annually in Potchefstroom, North West, is inherently Afrikaans, but universal in character. The festival provides a platform for the creativity and talent of local artists.
- Arts Alive International Festival is held in the Johannesburg inner city, with over 600 artists performing during the four-day festival at various venues in Newtown.
- Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a two-day festival featuring some 40 international and African acts performing on five stages and attracting more than 15 000 people. It also features photographic and art exhibitions.
- FNB Dance Umbrella is a festival of contemporary choreography and dance presenting work ranging from communitybased dance troupes to international companies.
- Ficksburg Cherry Festival, first held in 1969, attracts about 20 000 visitors to this small eastern Free State town.
- Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, is held annually in Oudtshoorn and presentations include drama, cabaret, and contemporary and classical music. Measured against 2012 attendance figures, it is presently the most popular festival of its kind.
- Innibos Kunstefees, held annually in June in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, featuring mainly Afrikaans performers and attracting some 100 000 visitors.
- Mangaung African Cultural Festival in Bloemfontein is gaining status as one of the biggest cultural tourism events in southern Africa. This 10-day festival showcases the cream of African and international talent and attracts up to 140 000 people.
- National Arts Festival, held annually in July in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, is one of the largest and most diverse arts gatherings in Africa.
- Oppikoppi Easter Festival and Oppikoppi Bushveld Bash near Northam in North West, offers live performances from rock, alternative and blues bands both local and from abroad.
- Splashy Fen Music Festival near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal offers a variety of mainstream and alternative rock and pop music.
- Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is Johannesburg's biggest annual jazz festival, with more than 200 local and international artists performing at different venues across the city.
- Up the Creek is a popular music festival on the banks of the Breede River near Swellendam in the Western Cape.
Other festivals that attract visitors at both national and international level are:
- North West's Cultural Calabash
- the One City Festival in Taung, North West
- the Awesome Africa Music Festival in Durban
- the Spier Summer Festival at Spier Estate in the Western Cape
- the Windybrow Theatre Festival in Johannesburg.
The theatre scene in South Africa is vibrant, with many active spaces across the country offering everything from indigenous drama, music, dance, cabaret and satire, to West End and Broadway hits, classical music, opera and ballet.
In January 2011, the Ministry of Arts and Culture launched the New Plays Writing Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg. The programme is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, the university, the British Council and Sustained Theatre.
The objective of the programme is to equip a new generation of South African writers with skills that will enable them to develop dramatic work that resonates with the challenges of the world around them. The programme comprises a series of playwriting workshops, the development of new plays and the production of selected work, both locally and internationally.
Cultural Industrial Growth Strategy Report, and government has committed itself to harnessing its potential. In addition to its cultural value, music plays an important economic role in the country, generating significant copyright revenue.
In this industry, the department has solid foundations to build on. These include the annual South African Music Week, the in-school education programme run in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education, and the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition.
The Taking South African Music to the World Programme is aimed at improving export opportunities for South African music. While local music styles such as South African jazz have influenced African and world music for decades, gospel and kwaito are the most popular and most recorded styles. Kwaito combines elements of rap, reggae, hip-hop and other styles into a distinctly South African sound. Kwaai Jazz is gaining popularity.
In August 2012, the Samro Foundation announced an orchestration mentorship programme, aimed at developing young composers, or helping inexperienced composers gain critical skills and techniques in orchestration. The programme's emphasis is primarily on nurturing young black and/or female composers, with a view to creating works that incorporate elements of African music.
The Marché International du Disque et de l'Edition Musicale (Midem) is an international music market, held in Cannes, France. Held annually since 1967, the fair brings together major players in the international music industry,including musicians, businesspeople, members of the media and cultural policy-makers.
In 2012, the Department of Arts and Culture, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, again supported the South African Music Recording Industry's participation at Midem, which took place from 28 to 31 January 2012.
South African Music Awards (Samas)
The 18th MTN Samas were held at Sun City's Superbowl in April 2012 and broadcast to millions of viewers countrywide.
- Album of the Year: Loliwe by Zahara
- MTN Record of the Year: These Streets – Mi Casa
- Male Artist of the Year: AKA – Altar Ego
- Female Artist of the Year: Zahara – Loliwe
- Duo/Group of the Year: Mi Casa – Mi Casa Music
- Newcomer of the Year: Zahara – Loliwe
- Special Award: MTN Best Selling Mobile Music Download: Facebook – DJ Cleo
- Special Award: Best Selling Album: Loliwe – Zahara
Dancing is part of the African way of life and has become a prime means of artistic expression, with dance companies expanding and exploring new territory.
Music and dance are pulling in new audiences and a
number of home-grown productions, particularly those aimed
at the popular market, have taken South Africa and, in some
cases the world, by storm.
Contemporary work ranges from normal preconceptions of movement and performance art or performance theatre to the completely unconventional.
Added to this is the African experience, which includes traditional dance inspired by wedding ceremonies, battles, rituals and the trifles of everyday life.
The Dance Factory in Johannesburg provides a permanent
platform for all kinds of dance and movement groups, while
the Wits Theatre is home to the annual Dance Umbrella, a
showcase for new work.
The Cape Town City Ballet is the oldest ballet company in the country.
Established in July 2012, following the merger between The South African Ballet Theatre (SABT) and Mzansi Productions, South African Mzansi Ballet (SAMB) is the country’s largest and most prestigious professional ballet company.
The FNB Dance Umbrella is an annual platform for South African contemporary dance at which new choreographic creations are presented. It is an open platform encompassing performances of youth and community groups, the efforts of young choreographers and commissioned works from professionals. The FNB Dance Umbrella 2012, held in association with the NAC and the Market Theatre, ran from 17 February to 4 March 2012.
South Africa boasts a rich variety of visual art with influences ranging from pre-historic, ancient and indigenous art, to western, Asian and contemporary art.
Art galleries showcase collections of indigenous, historical and contemporary works. They range from small privately-owned commercial galleries, to major regional galleries such as the:
- South African National Gallery in Cape Town
- Durban Art Gallery in KwaZulu-Natal
- Johannesburg Art Gallery in Gauteng
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape (previously known as the King George Gallery).
Substantial collections are housed at the Gertrude Posel Gallery at Wits and the University of South Africa. Collections at the University of Pretoria include the Mapungubwe, Van Tilburg and Edoardo Villa collections. The University of Stellenbosch art collection dates back to 1919.
A collection of contemporary Indian art at is housed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. There are also several corporate collections of national interest, including those of Standard Bank and Absa Bank and the cellular phone network MTN.
In October 2012, the Department of Arts and Culture hosted the Visual Arts Indaba, Towards a Visual Arts Policy Framework.
The department commissioned a team of researchers to do an assessment of the visual arts sector in South Africa, to assess the current position of visual arts in South Africa, and to identify opportunities for growing the artistic, social and economic contribution of the visual arts in the society and economy. The report noted that:
- the sector contributes over R1 billion to the economy
- the sector provides employment to almost 18 000 people
- over 50% of those are women and 53,4% are under 35.
South Africa's craft sector contributes about R11 billion annually to the GDP and employs approximately 38 000 people.
With workplaces ranging from the pavements and markets of the big cities to dwellings in deep rural areas, South Africans produce a remarkable range of arts and crafts including various forms of traditional artwork, as well as innovative new products. These range from jewellery, tableware, home decorations, embroidery and keyrings, to skilfully crafted wooden engravings and wirework sculptures.
In addition to the standard materials such as beads, grass, leather, fabric and clay, an array of other mediums are also used, including telephone wire, plastic bags, empty cans, bottle tops and even food tin labels, to create brightly coloured paper mâché bowls.
The South African literature sector has become globally competitive and the country's writers continue to command respect throughout the world.
Well-known South African writers include among many others Nobel Prize winners JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer; Gcina Mhlope; Phaswane Mpe; Es'kia Mphahlele; Wally Serote; Athol Fugard, Herman Charles Bosman; Sir Percy Fitzpatrick; Breyten Breytenbach; Dalene Matthee; Alan Paton; Olive Schreiner; Andre P Brink; and Njabulo Ndebele.
The current generation of writers is also making their mark on the world stage, with writers such as Zakes Mda, Niq Mhlongo and the late K Sello Duiker having their novels translated into languages such as Dutch, German and Spanish; and Deon Meyer, whose work has attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fan base.
Well-known poets include Keorapetse William Kgositsile, Joseph Mbuyiseni Mtshali, Roy Campbell, Sheila Cussons, Jakob Daniël du Toit (better known as Totius), Elisabeth Eybers, Ingrid Jonker, Antjie Krog, Thomas Pringle, poet and journalist NP van Wyk Louw, and Eugène Marais.
The new pop culture in poetry, often referred to as "spokenword poetry", is one of the most celebrated art forms in the country and beyond. Poets such as Lesego Rampolokeng, Lebogang Mashile, Kgafela oa Magogodi, Blaq Pearl, Jessica Mbangeni and Mark Manaka are household names in the genre.
The Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is reprinting some out-of-print books that are considered as classics in indigenous African languages.
Twenty-seven titles in all the nine previously marginalised languages were reproduced and distributed to public libraries across the nation.
The department embarked on the second phase of the project, which involved the re-issuing of 18 titles (two in each indigenous language). These titles include: Apha Naphaya by DM Jongilanga, Ikusasa Alaziwa by OTM Nxumalo and Megokgo ya Bjoko by Oliver Kgadime Matsepe.
The Department of Arts and Culture is continuing with the Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme, a partnership with the South African Book Development Council, to produce new material in the nine previously marginalised indigenous languages. By June 2011, the programme had produced titles such as A Hi Fambe Munghaname (Xitsonga), Tikhatsi Tegugcina (siSwati) Ziyodlula Izinsizwa (isiZulu) and Boiteko Ba Ka (Sesotho).
The Department of Arts and Culture supports the Baobab Literary Journal, which provides a regular publishing platform for budding writers to appear alongside seasoned ones. The department continues to support the Time of the Writer and the Poetry Africa festivals held annually in Durban. These also deliver developmental workshops for young emerging writers, a schools programme and an initiative with the Department of Correctional Services to promote writing among inmates.
WordFest, a literary component of the Grahamstown Arts Festival, focuses on promoting literature in indigenous languages. Also popular are the Johannesburg and Franschhoek literary festivals.
There is an English Literary Museum in Grahamstown and an Afrikaans Museum in Bloemfontein. The Centre for African Literary Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Bernth Lindfors Collection of African literature.
South African Literary Awards
The South African Literary Awards include categories such as the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Poet Laureate Prize, the K Sello Duiker Award for Young Novelists, the Literary Journalism Award and many other categories.
Other awards include the M-Net Awards and the BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Award.
In June 2012, the winners of the 2012 Sunday Times Literary Awards were announced in Johannesburg. Michiel Heyns was awarded the Sunday Times Fiction Prize for Lost Ground, a novel born out of the story of the Inge Lotz murder.
This marks Heyns' second win in the fiction category – he shared the award with Marlene van Niekerk in 2007 for his translation of Agaat. Lost Ground also won Heyns the Herman Charles Bosman Prize earlier in June. The 2012 Alan Paton Award for Non-Fiction was presented to Hugh Lewin for his struggle memoir, Stones Against the Mirror.
The first ever newsreel was shot in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer/South African War, which ended in 1902. The weekly newsreel ran for more than 60 years. Film production began in 1916 when IW Schlesinger set up Killarney Studios in Johannesburg, and the studio produced 42 movies between 1916 and 1922.
When access to international markets became limited in the 1920s, the so-called 30-year lull began, and it was only in the 1950s that the market picked up again, when Afrikaans film-makers developed an interest in the industry.
In the 1980s, South Africa gave foreign companies the opportunity to film movies in the country by giving them tax breaks.
South Africa's entertainment industry is valued at around R7,4 billion, with film and television generating more than R5,8 billion in economic activity each year. In the Western Cape, the estimated turnover contributed to the tourism industry is over R23,2 million annually.
The local film industry has matured and has earned international recognition. The film Tsotsi won an Academy Award in 2006 in the category Best Foreign Language Film. In 2009, the sci-fi hit District Nine was nominated for an Oscar for Best Film.
The South African government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production industry. These consist of the Foreign Film and Television Production incentive to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and the South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production incentive, which aims to assist local film producers in the production of local content.
In May 2012, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Rob Davies, announced changes to the incentives for foreign film and television productions. The incentives offered to foreign-owned productions that meet the qualifying criteria include up to 2,5% of qualifying South African post-production expenditure (QSAPPE) for post-production expenditure of between R1,5 million and R3 million, and up to 5% of QSAPPE for post-production expenditure of more than R3 million.
The revised incentive became effective in April 2012 and will be administered for a period of three years, up to 2014. South Africa's first co-production treaty was signed with Canada in 1997, followed by Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand. At the Cannes Film Festival in May, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile, signed a new co-production treaty with his Irish counterpart, bringing the tally to eight treaties.
Local movies successfully produced under these treaties include the UK co-production Skin, The Bang Bang Club and A Million Colours in partnership with Canada, the German co-production Death Race, and the award-winning French collaboration Skoonheid.
South Africa had its best year at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera to date. Some 130 local filmmakers registered for the event, and the National Film and Video Foundation showcased 20 local projects, including 12 feature films and eight documentaries.
The three largest film distributors in South Africa are Ster-Kinekor, United International Pictures and Nu-Metro.
Ster-Kinekor has a specialised art circuit called Cinema Nouveau with theatres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.
Film festivals include the:
- Durban International Film Festival
- North West Film Festival
- the Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West
- the Three Continents Film Festival (specialising in African, South American and Asian films)
- Soweto Film Festival
- Encounters Documentary Festival, which alternates between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
More than 300 of the approximately 1 000 museums in Africa are in South Africa. The Department of Arts and Culture subsidises most museums, which are otherwise autonomous.
The following officially declared heritage institutions are dependent on annual transfers from the Department of Arts and Culture:
- Ditsong Museums, Pretoria
- Iziko Museum, Cape Town
- KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg
- Bloemfontein National Museum
- Language Museum, Paarl
- The National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown
- Msunduzi Museum, Pietermaritzburg
- War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein
- Robben Island Museum, Cape Town
- William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley
- Luthuli Museum, Stanger
- Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha.
The National Library of South Afica (NLSA) is a custodian and provider of the nation's key knowledge resources. It is mandated by the NLSA Act, 1998 [PDF] to collect and preserve intellectual documentary heritage material and to make it accessible worldwide. It ensures that knowledge and information are not lost to posterity and are available for future research.
- Arts and culture links
- SA Yearbook 2012/13
- Speeches and statements on arts and culture
- Selected documents on arts and culture