Heritage projects to create employment

14 May 2012

The Department of Arts and Culture is aiming to create tens of thousands of jobs through its rolling out of 28 heritage projects and with the launch of various new programmes under a new arts strategy, the Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile revealed in his Budget Vote recently.

He said the 28 heritage projects his department was developing will boost economic development in rural areas which would provide opportunities to small businesses in the country’s outlying regions.

While the 28 heritage projects will honour struggle heroes and aim to foster greater social cohesion, the department had identified a number of high impact programmes targeting youth and women in the arts, as part of its Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy.

The strategy has been endorsed by National Treasury and seeks to enhance the arts and culture sector’s contribution to create five million jobs by 2020 under the New Growth Path.

The new strategy includes a number of arts and culture job creation programmes, including:

  • The Public Art programme, where youth would receive art classes before the department employs them in towns to beautify their respective communities through art, which along with the establishment of an Art Bank will create 10 000 new work opportunities over the next three years.  
  • The rolling out of five cultural precincts and information centres which are being piloted in five major cities and which are expected to create more than 2 000 new work opportunities.
  • The support of 26 major cultural events annually which would generate a base line target of more than 2 000 work opportunities per event and include big events such as the Joy of Jazz Festival in Gauteng, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Grahamstown Arts Festival.
  • The reintroduction of arts education in schools, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, which would create 3 000 new work opportunities over the next three years.
  • The setting up of a National Skills Academy for the arts to train youth and particularly those in rural areas. The department will work with the UN Conference on Trade and Development which would launch a cultural observatory, which will help the department to collect and analyse data within the sector.
  • The Indoni My Heritage My Pride programme which aims to provide youth with life skills training, education and appreciation for their heritage.
  • The Trendsetter Initiative which would encourage youth to participate in the arts and thus contribute to the development of their communities.
  • The development of a recreational underwater museum in Kosi Bay, which is expected to boost adventure and cultural tourism in the West Coast.
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Mashatile said his department had declared 2012 as the year of heritage: “Having declared the year 2012 as the year of heritage, we will continue to honour the heroes and heroines of our struggle for national liberation”.

He said the 28 heritage projects his department was developing will boost economic development in rural areas which would provide opportunities to small businesses in the country’s outlying regions.

Some of these projects include:

  • The refurbishment of the house of former ANC President Oliver Tambo in Bizana, in the Eastern Cape, in partnership with the Independent Development Trust, as well as the building of an access road linking Bizana to Tambo’s homestead, construction of a statue of Tambo and the refurbishment of the Garden of Remembrance and an interpretive centre in Kantolo – which will cost R25 million and is expected to create 50 permanent jobs as well as 90 temporary jobs.
  • The development of the Ingquza Heritage Centre in Pondoland, which includes the refurbishment of the Holy Cross Church in Ngquza Hill, where Tambo was a member – which will cost R15m and is expected to create 40 permanent jobs and 75 temporary jobs.
  • The John Langalibalele Dube Legacy project in Inanda in Kwa-Zulu Natal, launched in February, which will cost R60m and is expected to create 270 jobs.
  • The opening in coming months of the Steve Biko Centre in Ginsberg, in the Eastern Cape, which has so far cost more than R170m and which has to-date created 609 jobs.
  • The Matola Monument and Interpretive Centre in Mozambique, which will be opened before the end of the year and in which the department has invested R65m, creating in Matola alone a total of 245 contract and 15 permanent jobs.
  • The establishment of the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance which will cost R168m and an expected 230 contract jobs and 45 permanent jobs. 
  • The opening later this year of the second phase of the Freedom Park Museum – Ixapo, which will detail the history of pre-colonial South Africa.
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The department has also declared the Waaihoek Church and the Maphikela House in Mangaung as heritage sites.

The graves of former PAC founder Robert Sobukwe, as well as those of anti-apartheid activists Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and Charlotte Maxeke have also been declared as national heritage sites, while in the coming months those of activist Beyers Naude, and trade unionist Rahima Moosa will also be declared national heritage sites.

The department will also work with the Department of Correctional Services to implement the Gallows heritage project.

Mashatile said in order to restore the dignity of the San people and to promote national healing, the department had repatriated the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar from Austria and a reburial of the two will be held later this year.

The department also funded the Emerging Creatives programme this year, which helped 40 young designers to showcase their designs alongside established designers at the Design Indaba in Cape Town.

Turning to the film industry, Mashatile said funding for films had risen from R6.9m in 2009/10 to R8.7m in 2010/11, with the number of documentaries supported rising from 4 in 2009/10 to 12 in 2011/2011.
He said for every documentary film produced with a budget of R500 000, at least 10 direct jobs were created.

The department would also create access to local film and video products, increase the volume of film production and provide training and skills development opportunities.

He said a National Film Commission and a Film Fund would be created this year.

To strengthen the local music industry the department facilitated a cooperation agreement between the Association of Independent Record Companies and the SABC.

“This agreement will increase local music content in the public broadcaster and ensure needle time for the creators of content,” he said.

He added that his department was also working with the music industry, the Department of Trade and Industry and law enforcement agencies to strengthen the fight against music piracy.  

The department was also working with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to ensure the successful hosting of Africa Day celebrations on May 25.

He said he expected the cabinet to soon ratify the African Charter on Cultural Renaissance, which will allow the department to strengthen the work done by the AU on the cultural front.

In June, South Africa will host the SA leg of the 2012-2013 South Africa-French Season, which is aimed at showcasing our cultures and strengthening cultural cooperation between our two countries.

South Africa will also this year host the African chapter of the Unesco Conference on World Heritage.

“The Conference will give us an opportunity to develop a shared African perspective on the link between development and the preservation of current and envisaged world heritage sites,” he said. 

Turning to issue of name changes which has created significant controversy in recent years, he said at a breakfast briefing by the New Age on Friday morning, that the cost of making name changes to places and roads should not be an issue.

“If we were to ask how much it would have cost to have our freedom, we probably would not have done it,” said Mashatile, who added that people had to have the opportunity to live in environments where they felt free.

However he stressed that communities themselves should determine whether names of places and roads should be changed or not.

He said all those who contributed to the liberation struggle and to the history of South Africa – would be honoured.

It wasn’t just ANC leaders and members who would be honoured, he said, pointing out that white activists such as Suzman, Afrikaner icons like the Voortrekker Monument and the PAC founder Sobukwe would also be honoured. – BuaNews

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