The Ifa Lethu Foundation outlined events leading to its establishment in 2005, its mandate, and institutional arrangements. Although Ifa Lethu Foundation today managed
The Ifa Lethu Foundation, a non-profit heritage organisation, focused on three major issues - the development of cultural/creative entrepreneurs as economic drivers; creating global awareness for the strength of
The Foundation was provided with seed funding of R4 million by the national Department of Arts and Culture. Further start up project funding of R3 million was furnished by BHP Billiton. Other funders were listed.
Highlights of the past three years included the repatriation of 415 pieces of artwork, art objects and archival collections from 11 countries, implementation of 26 national and international projects, the successful implementation of Ifa Lethu internship programmes, 2 500 trainees had undergone entrepreneurial training while 5 000 learners had been exposed to the human rights educational programmes. Ifa Lethu had hosted academic conferences and seminars nationally on art and human rights, implemented a publication programme resulting in academic contributions to South African Democracy Education Trust, International Journal of Anthropology, and the launch of the publication for schools entitled Walking Tall, Without Fear, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education. Ifa Lethu participated in the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, which had helped brand Ifa Lethu trainees and secure successful trade for those in business, participated in national and international fashion weeks with a view to demonstrating the link between art and heritage, installed art incubators in Soweto and Mamelodi, and placed products of trainee entrepreneurs in markets such as duty free stores at airports and in shopping malls.
Challenges included the lack of human capital and funding, but five required special note - the reluctance on the part of major South African corporations to invest their resources; the ignorance of those charged with social responsibility portfolios of the value of heritage in the nation building agenda; the failure to adopt international models for commercialising and branding of South African cultural products, innovative marketing campaigns and grant-making initiatives - this applied particularly to state agencies; the absence of a legislative framework on repatriation; and the need to teach and nurture creativity in South Africa. Moreover, current funding allowed Ifa Lethu an existence only until 2014.
Members asked how the Foundation, if it was not a repository, handled the objects of art that it repatriated and if they were accessible to members of the public, noted some overlap with what the Department of Arts and Culture was supposed to be doing, asked about the issue of the rural communities and for the names of the municipalities and the provinces concerned, if the Foundation had received any funds from the provincial departments of arts and culture, which companies absorbed those young people trained, and expressed concern that, in general, young people, who received such training and skills development, remained unemployed. Members asked further if many young people dropped out of these courses and about the recruitment by the private sector of young people who had been trained. The Chairperson exhorted Ifa Lethu to increase its staff complement in order to further job creation.
In the absence of Ms T Sanduza (ANC), Chairperson, from whom apologies were received on account of admission to hospital, Ms F Mushwana (ANC) was elected Acting Chairperson [Ms L Moss (ANC) proposed; Dr A Lotriet (DA) seconded.]
The Acting Chairperson welcomed the Ifa Lethu Foundation delegation
The Ifa Lethu Foundation briefing
Dr Narissa Ramdhani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), explained that the Ifa Lethu Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Pretoria, formed and launched in November 2005, grew out of the efforts of two former Australian diplomats, Di Johnstone and Bruce Haigh, who approached South Africa in 2004 with a view to donating artwork purchased during their postings in the country in the 1970s. This led to the realization by stakeholders such as the former Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Pallo
Ifa Lethu was therefore formed to respond to challenges in the heritage sector in
Taking ownership of South African citizens' cultural heritage present at home or overseas and leveraging it for developmental needs was a nation building exercise and one powerful enough for economic development. This recognition informed the work of the Ifa Lethu Foundation and therefore positioned it well for its holistic involvement in repatriation and entrepreneurial development work in the heritage sector.
The first decade of our democracy correctly focused on redressing imbalances in the material welfare of citizens, but it became clear that the neglect of the reconstruction and development programme (RDP) of the soul had resulted in fractures in our society as evidenced by levels of crime, anger and violence. Therefore Ifa Lethu decided, on the basis of its research, which pointed to the lack of available and related skills in this sector and the failure to use heritage to empower communities and create a more entrepreneurial society, to incorporate into its work the development aspect, thus contributing to the economic development of
Ifa Lethu's mandate was the repatriation of art and art objects from abroad; human rights and advocacy growing out of the content of the art collections; and creative entrepreneurial development addressing national impact priorities such as poverty alleviation and the millennium goals. This had been implemented to address developmental needs of communities.
Ifa Lethu recognised hat it is not a repository, but a facilitator of the repatriation, community and educational outreach, skills and enterprise development training initiatives. (For further information on Ifa Lethu's mandate, please see the presentation document, page 3).
Although the Ifa Lethu Foundation today managed
Ifa Lethu had two boards. The South African Board of Directors included prominent South African heavyweights from the education, business, legal, media and cultural sectors. These included Dr Mamphela Ramphele (Patron and Founding Chair) and Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza (Current Chair).
The Global Advisory Council members included former Australian Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Fraser, Lord Robin Renwick (UK) and Ambassador Princeton Lyman (USA), Baroness Lynda Chalker (UK), and Tor Sellstrom (
Vision and mission
Ifa Lethu sought to facilitate the creative arts as a healing medium and to raise the awareness of the centrality of culture and heritage as an intrinsic part of what it means to be a rounded society. The Foundation promoted partnerships and initiatives that focused on repatriation and preservation of our heritage. It promoted skills and entrepreneurship amongst artists and communities and applied the creative arts to the fashion industry.
The geographically isolated communities of South Africa;
The economy of South Africa;
Youth and Women including the physically and mentally disadvantaged; and
South African Tourism.
The current project for which funding was sought reflected youth representivity as follows:
Rural youth 60%;
Rural women 40%;
African 80%; and
Impact areas were national and international.
The Foundation was provided with seed funding of R4 million by the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). Further start up project funding for the sum of R3 million was furnished by BHP Billiton.
Project Funding had been made possible by the following:
Andrew J. Mellon Foundation;
Department of Arts and Culture (further funding);
Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA);
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung;
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC);
National Heritage Council (NHC);
Mozambique Department of Arts and Culture;
National Arts Council (NAC); and
Tshwane University of Technology;
University of Pretoria School of Entrepreneurship;
The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University);
The University of Johannesburg;
The University of Western Cape;
Durban University of Technology;
Robben Island/Mayibuye Centre;
Durban Art Gallery;
Pretoria Art Museum;
International Women’s Forum of SA;
Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA);
African Fashion International;
Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy;
South African Democracy and Education Trust;
International Marketing Council of South Africa;
SA Tourism; and
Steve Biko Foundation.
University of Connecticut (USA);
Michigan State University (USA);
University of Kentucky (USA);
Craft Council (India);
National Small and Medium Industries Corporation (India);
Department of Arts and Culture (Mozambique);
British Museum (UK);
Kingsdale High School (UK);
SA Tourism (UK);
London Tourism (UK);
Salvadore Allendre Museum (Chile);
Department of Education (Chile);
Arts Council (Chile);
South African Missions Abroad; and
Foreign Missions in SA.
Highlights of the past three years:
▪ Ifa Lethu implemented 26 national and international projects.
▪ The successful implementation of Ifa Lethu Internship programmes which had resulted in Ifa Lethu trainees obtaining gainful employment. 12 interns had passed through Ifa Lethu in the last 12 months. They had now been employed.
▪ Ifa Lethu’s involvement in the fossil casting projects and the latest fossil discoveries in collaboration with the Origins Centre at Wits University.
▪ Launch and implementation of
▪ Opening of the Home and Away: A return to the South exhibition for the world cup in Constitution Hill. 3 500 tourists from 24 countries viewed the exhibition in June 2010. This exhibition had travelled nationally since then and was to open in
▪ The hosting of academic conferences and seminars nationally on art and human rights.
▪ The implementation of a publication programme resulting in academic contributions to South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET), International Journal of Anthropology, the launch of the publication for schools entitled Walking Tall, Without Fear, in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Education guide on Art and Human Rights
▪ 415 pieces of artwork, art objects and archival collections repatriated from 11 countries.
▪ Participation in the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, which had helped brand Ifa Lethu trainees and secure successful trade for those in business.
▪ Participation in national and international fashion weeks with a view to demonstrating the link between art and heritage.
▪ Installation of art incubators in
▪ Products of trainee entrepreneurs in markets such as duty free stores at airports and in shopping malls.
▪ Business Arts
Branding and gala dinner fundraising in London with private performance by Hugh Masekela for FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) 100 CEOs in October 2011; joint fundraiser with Mumbai Fashion Week, May 2011; the opening of International Exhibition Schedule, Australia 2011; the showcasing Ifa Lethu’s trainees internationally in London, September 2011; the International Craft market, India, October 2012; and the installation of further art incubators in KwaZulu-Natal, Northwest Province and Limpopo.
Development Problem resulting in the Entrepreneurial Programmes of the Foundation.
According to the 2007 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), when it comes to entrepreneurial activity,
Ifa Lethu has thus developed a programme of skills and enterprise development workshops, in partnership with the University of Pretoria School of Entrepreneurship, as well as Incubator Programmes for rural youth and women interested in the creative industries, so they may become successful entrepreneurs. This has also been done in response to the requirements of transformation and economic growth needs. This programme is unique in that it aims to translate creative industry growth needs into meaningful capacity. The demand for South African Art, sculpture, art objects, craft and fashion by South Africans themselves, by the tourism industry and by foreign countries also guides the Ifa Lethu Foundation strategy to sector-lock its training programmes.
In the development of its training programmes, Ifa Lethu undertook extensive research in this area to ascertain skills needs and market demands and to validate its strategic intent. This programme is aligned with feedback from various stakeholders including government ministries such as Trade and Industry, Arts and Culture and Foreign Affairs, the International Marketing Council as well as those in the various municipal structures and the creative industry sector.
Ifa Lethu, through its two phases of training and the third Incubator phase, offers training programmes in all provinces to enable the indirect empowerment of youth and women who are interested in the creative industries; to develop entrepreneurs so that they are market ready; to assist in identifying the markets for these entrepreneurs through the creation of an enabling environment and through the development of partnerships.
Contextualising Ifa Lethu’s creative development programmes
The Ifa Lethu Foundation is a non-profit heritage organization focusing on three major issues for the country:
▪ The development of cultural/creative entrepreneurs as economic drivers;
▪ Creating global awareness for the strength of
▪ Creating awareness of Human Rights abuses.
Ifa Lethu saw the cultural sector as being a key economic driver in the country’s tourism industry. Indeed, with reference to , the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) estimated that
In addition, the sector provided jobs and income for approximately 38 000 people through an estimated 7 000 small enterprises. The creative sector could also be used as a catalyst for rural economic development and for fostering expanded participation in the economy, especially by women and youth. Furthermore, as the art of designing and producing cultural products was handed down from generation to generation, members of communities had an opportunity to work together and impart knowledge and social values to each other, especially the youth.
This contributed towards social cohesion and instilled the culture of respect, discipline and Ubuntu. It was for these reasons that the Foundation continued to say that crafts represented both an economic activity and a cultural practice. Tourists were often attracted to a particular area because of its cultural and heritage significance.
As its work represented the continuing development of youth and women in these areas, with a view to creating gainful employment for this sector (through the skills development training and incubator programmes), Ifa Lethu was assured of the necessary support in all provinces. The Foundation had enjoyed a good track record in all provinces in which it has undertaken work with surrounding communities, schools in the area and parents of participants and other stakeholders such as principals and councillors. Such support would augur well for the smooth conduct of even further programmes with cooperation from stakeholders assured. Ifa Lethu’s work also impacted positively on targeted and non-targeted communities who viewed the work of this organisation as contributing to the social and economic upliftment of the area and participants and families. There had therefore been no constraints to projects being implemented in all provinces.
Hence Ifa Lethu’s strategic intervention, through its training programmes and use of local service providers, ultimately contributed to the process of alleviating poverty in rural areas. This intervention also helped bring rural communities into the first economy of
The challenges facing heritage organizations were numerous and obvious such as the lack of human capital and funding, but five required special note:
Funding within the context of national priorities:
The reluctance on the part of major South African corporations to invest their resources in this area arose from how they perceived heritage and heritage institutions. The prevailing view was that heritage neither contributed to the building of a nation nor to the economic development of the country. Perhaps this perception could be attributed to the haphazard way in which certain organizations ran their heritage businesses in
Corporate education on the value of heritage:
Those charged with social responsibility portfolios are ignorant on the value of heritage in the nation building agenda. Failure to invest in the mind and soul of a nation was a tragedy that would have dire consequences for the consolidation of our democracy.
Ifa Lethu had demonstrated that the repatriation of art and the resulting enterprise development initiatives growing out of this major effort clearly found application in poverty alleviation and economic development as well as in implementing the Millennium goals.
The adoption of international models:
The failure to adopt international models for commercialising and branding of South African cultural products, innovative marketing campaigns, and grant-making initiatives. This applied particularly to state agencies.
The absence of legislation:
The absence of a legislative framework on repatriation remained an obstacle as the Foundation continued to manage the processes on an ad hoc basis.
The importance of nurturing creativity:
A case needed to be made to state agencies for the need to teach and nurture creativity in
As Ifa Lethu moved through 2011, it would do so with the usual enthusiasm and determination to go after the opportunities that lay ahead. While it focused on strengthening core activities and reaching financial targets, the Foundation would devote much energy to international fundraising and branding as well as to commercializing the work of the organisation.
As Ifa Lethu believed that there was no finish line to its efforts, for the rest of the year it would be looking at ways to work smarter and creatively and raise its game in the cultural sector of
Dr A Lotriet (DA) asked how the Foundation, if it was not a repository, handled the objects of art that it repatriated. Were they accessible to members of the public?
Dr Ramdhani replied that the Foundation was not a repository but in consultation with donors it undertook the proper preservation work and ensured housing under proper conditions at the Ifa Lethu Foundation. That was where the collection was housed for a time. Afterwards, Ifa Lethu consulted with the donors again, and in consultation with the Department of Arts and Culture, about finding an appropriate home. This was in accordance with a strategy agreed with the Ministry when Ifa Lethu began the project. It was not appropriate to impose items on institutions such as galleries immediately after preservation, because of the lack of resources to do the preservation work. Ifa Lethu felt that it should find the funding to carry out the work, use it for outreach and education, and, once all of that had been done, then find the appropriate home for the item concerned. This must be in agreement with the donor or the donor's family, and with the Department of Arts and Culture.
Dr Lotriet noted some overlap of the Foundation's vision and mission with what the Department of Arts and Culture was supposed to be doing. What was the nature of the Foundation's interaction and collaboration to make sure that it did not overlap?
Dr Ramdhani replied that, since this had begun as an initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture, there had been a continued collaboration with the Department since the birth of Ifa Lethu. Its strategies were always implemented in consultation with the Department.
Ms T Lishivha (ANC) asked about the number of the projects, national and international. [Poor audibility]
Dr Ramdhani had already alluded to Ifa Lethu's 26 national and international programmes or projects. After 2006, 17 had been national. International programmes included collaborations and joint projects which allowed our young people to benefit from our exposure abroad.
Ms Lishivha asked about the issue of the rural communities. She asked for the names of the municipalities and the provinces.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the Foundation had projects in
Ms Lishivha asked if the Foundation had received any funds from the provincial departments of arts and culture.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the Foundation had not received any funding from the provinces.
Ms L Moss (ANC) asked which companies absorbed those young people trained. Ms Moss was concerned that, in general, young people, who received such training and skills development, remained unemployed. Despite the Government's efforts in this direction, unemployment of the youth remained very high.
Dr Ramdhani replied that before the Foundation embarked on training it was involved purely on the work of repatriation. The Foundation had had a harsh reality check in terms of training in
Ms Moss asked if many young people dropped out of these courses. She emphasised the issue of unemployment.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the Foundation was very firm in its training programmes. She gave the example of recruitment in
Ms Moss asked about the recruitment by the private sector of young people who had been trained.
This question was not answered.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) wondered if the lack of a legislative framework for Ifa Lethu's work would have to be addressed by the Department and by the Committee at some stage.
Dr Ramdhani replied that she had raised the matter of the lack of a legislative framework as a cautionary flag so that the Committee would be aware that the Foundation was operating in this kind of manner. There was no framework. At the moment it was being developed, and the Foundation was providing input on the basis of its experience of repatriation, but from 2005 until now the Foundation had been operating without any legislative guidance, although the Foundation had used other legislation, including that of the South African Heritage Resources Council (SAHRA) and overseas legislation as a guide to ensure that the Foundation was carrying out its work in an appropriate fashion.
Mr Mavunda asked if Grahamstown was a marketing or exhibition area.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the National Arts Festival had formerly been known as the Grahamstown Arts Festival. It was a festival held once a year in that town devoted solely to celebrating South African arts, crafts, performing arts and so on. It was the place at which all creative practitioners wanted to be to demonstrate their work and showcase their skills; and it was considered quite a privilege in the creative sector to be able to participate. This was why the first step, when young people had successfully completed their training with the Foundation, was for the Foundation to assist them to exhibit or trade at Grahamstown.
Mr Mavunda asked about the fossil casting project.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the latest discovery was the skeleton of a young boy found at the Cradle of Humankind. To study this skeleton a replica was needed, because the original had been stored in a vault. The Foundation had taught young people to construct these replicas. It was an income-generating project. Fossils were part of
Dr Lotriet asked for details of the Foundation's subsequent funding from the Department of Arts and Culture.
Dr Lotriet asked if Ifa Lethu was sustainable with its present funding model.
Dr Ramdhani replied that Ifa Lethu was not sustainable beyond two more years. This was the reality and funding had dried up in
Dr Ramdhani emphasised that funding for specific projects was easy, because projects could be seen as contributing to poverty alleviation. However, obtaining core funding was almost impossible. Ifa Lethu was in a particularly difficult situation three years ago, and had been obliged to apply to the Minister for core funding or otherwise shut down. Fortunately, the Department of Arts and Culture produced funding of R1.5 million per year over three years, which ended this year, to assist in terms of its operational mandate. So the funding model did not allow sustainability beyond 2014.
Dr Lotriet asked if Ifa Lethu would be better off as a declared institution rather than remaining as a non-profit organisation.
Dr Lotriet noted that Ifa Lethu was investing in culture, which was a major programme of the Department. To what extent was Ifa Lethu involved in that whole process.
Dr Ramdhani replied, in all honesty, that Ifa Lethu had not collaborated with the Department in the process of investing in culture. This was not because Ifa Lethu did not want to but because everyone had been too busy. The Foundation had never got round to engaging with the Department on this.
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) commended Dr Ramdhani on a model presentation which was very clear - “Now we know who you are.” He asked what continued role Ifa Lethu envisaged for Di Johnstone and the Australian High Commission. What was the relationship with them now?
Dr Ramdhani confirmed that Ifa Lethu still had a role for the Australians. The first media exhibition that Ifa Lethu would hold outside
Mr Ntshiqela asked to what extent the Ifa Lethu Foundation had been audited.
This question was not answered.
Mr Ntshiqela asked what the size of Ifa Lethu Foundation's personnel was.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the core staff of the Foundation was four members. This was sufficient, in Dr Ramdhani's view. A bloated staff complement was not desirable.
Mr Ntshiqela observed a lack of participation of civil society in the Foundation's South African board.
Dr Ramdhani replied that the Foundation had tried to approach members of civil society, but because the Foundation did not pay board members to serve, it had been an extremely difficult exercise. Members of civil society were reluctant to give their time without payment for services. As a non-governmental organisation, (NGO), Ifa Lethu did not pay people to serve on its board. Thus Ifa Lethu had sought the help of “heavyweights” who saw it as part of their social responsibility to give back to the community and country without asking for reward. Ifa Lethu continued to search for members from civil society to serve on the board.
Mr Ntshiqela asked about Ambassador Princeton Lyman.
Dr Ramdhani replied that Ambassador Princeton Lyman was originally the
Mr Ntshiqela asked how the Foundation's challenges could be responded to.
Dr Ramdhani replied that it was necessary to change the mindset of corporate
Dr Ramdhani added that, with regard to the third challenge of adopting international models, TATA South Africa had brought representatives from all African countries to the launch and its international chairperson from
Dr Ramdhani replied that teaching and nurturing creatively was vital. This related to the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture. It was there that it needed to begin.
The Chairperson was disappointed that Dr Ramdhani was content with only four staff members. In the interests of job creation, Ifa Lethu should try to enlarge its staff complement, not only in its head office but in the provinces. The drive for job creation did not end in Parliament. It was the companies which had to deliver on jobs. “We need to move as a country.”
The Chairperson also said that those informally employed in arts and crafts should be counted, since people were buying from them and they were gaining an income. However, they needed to be organised, perhaps with financial aid.
Moreover, the Chairperson said, Ifa Lethu needed to engage the Department, not wait for it to contact Ifa Lethu. Parliament funded the Department, and if Ifa Lethu did not engage the Department, it might not get its share of the funding.
The Chairperson looked forward to seeing Ifa Lethu next year.
Ms Moss commented [inaudible].
The Chairperson said that people must be able to visit Ifa Lethu, and the organisation should be ready for such visits.
Mr Ntshiqela was not satisfied with Ifa Lethu's reasons for the non-participation of civil society in Ifa Lethu's South African board. However, he acknowledged that Dr Ramdhani had spoken from her heart.
Mr Ntshiqela appealed to the Department of Arts and Culture to consider how it might assist, by means of some financial assistance, members of civil society to participate. This was of major importance.
Mr Mavunda said that Mr Ntshiqela had anticipated his comment. He asked the Department to respond.
The Chairperson agreed.
Mr Irwin Langeveld, Director: Heritage Institutional Development, Department of Arts and Culture, confirmed that the legislative framework for repatriation of cultural objects did not exist, although guidance existed in provisions of the National Heritage Resources Act, the National Heritage Council Act, and international instruments, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of November 1970. However, all these were very fragmented and did not guide, in a coordinated manner, somebody who was working in that area. Of course, there were processes underway to correct that. He referred to the forthcoming Third Cultural Laws Amendment Bill to which institutions had made input to try to streamline the responsibility for repatriation. Dr Lotriet had raised the question of the current funding model, which the board of Ifa Lethu was examining in the light of sustainability. The organisation had only two more years of existence, and the possibility of asking to be declared as a cultural institution would have to be a decision of the board after a due diligence study and a consideration of other models. However, he recalled a recent presentation in which the Department had raised the matter of the proliferation of declared cultural institutions and the burden placed upon the Department in terms of its allocations. These were issues that would also have to be considered by the Department in looking at the model of a declared cultural institution.
Mr Langeveld said that the Department would work more closely with Ifa Lethu in attending to the concern of Members that there should be greater participation by members of civil society in the Ifa Lethu's board.
Mr Langeveld said that there were clear synergies between Ifa Lethu’s work and programmes of the Department, such as investing in culture, which the Department needed to exploit. The Department would report on that in the future.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was now well-informed. She thanked Ifa Lethu, but emphasised the importance and responsibility of creating jobs. She hoped that Ifa Lethu could continue its work.
The meeting was adjourned.
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