SADC Multidisciplinary Festival; Commonwealth Foundation: briefing

Arts and Culture

15 April 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


15 April 2003

Ms M Njobe (ANC)

Documents handed out:
SADC Multidisciplinary Festival: 18 - 25 May 2003 briefing (Appendix 1)
Commonwealth Foundation briefing (Appendix 2)

Relevant information:

The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on the progress made in terms of preparations and the line up of events and activities for the SADC Multidisciplinary Festival. The Commonwealth Foundation briefed Members on the work of the Foundation, which is funded by governments, but works with the non-governmental sector. The Foundation sought to encourage South Africa to become a member.

Briefing on SADC Multidisciplinary Festival 18 - 25 May 2003

Mr V Julius: Chief Director, Department of Arts and Culture, said that the aim of hosting the SADC Multidisciplinary Festival was to promote the region and its art and culture and the target audience would be the SADC community.

They wanted to ensure optimal participation by all member states. He referred to a budget of R4 million that the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and National Arts Council could use to coordinate the festival. He also explained that it would be DAC's responsibility to cover not only the costs for the planning and coordination, but the costs of the South African team. The respective countries would be responsible for the international travel and allowances of their teams and each country including South Africa was limited to fifty participants. The delegation from DAC informed Members that all preparations were on track and that SADC states had responded positively towards the festival and participating in it.

The Africa Day celebrations were said to be a very big event on the inter-Ministerial agenda, and were set to take place on the last day of the SADC Multidisciplinary Festival. Plans made to decentralise the events included targeting mall suburbs. Countries were expected to start arriving as from the 18 May 2003, but contingency plans were in place in case of any early arrivals. The events were said to be hosted by the Mayor of Tshwane, with the open day being on the 19 May 2003 and a gala event on 24 May 2003.

Mr Julius informed Members that the Minister would be inviting the SADC Ministers of Culture to discuss the role of culture in NEPAD in the region with the hope that they would come up with a declaration.

Mr SL Dithebe felt that as the Portfolio Committee, having oversight over Arts and Culture, they ought to be formally invited to the festival. He also felt that the Department of Social Development should have been identified as a role-player because it seeks to alleviate poverty. Mr Dithebe emphasised that the Festival's theme should echo a better Africa.

Mr Julius said that some of the questions went beyond their responsibility as a unit. However, he assured Members that they would be sent invitations. The theme would be taken into account particularly because they were committed to multilateralism. He explained that the process was not going to target poverty alleviation directly as it was a SADC event. It should be considered that not all countries were equally developed when addressing social development. They would use people who could help prepare and complement a safe and successful event of this magnitude.

Ms A Van Wyk (NNP) commented that the Festival would provide important stimulation for the regional government, which she felt had insufficient vision on the role of culture and heritage.

Ms H Mpaka (ANC) asked how the targeted audience was going to benefit, what public awareness preparations had been made, and how South Africa would develop a criteria.

Mr Julius responded that the National Arts Council would cover the costs of marketing and publicity; they would start making use of the media shortly. The targeted audience included schools and the wider community. This was why they were going to use the State Theatre, which was in close proximity to taxi ranks, the train station and bus stations. He further added that he was saddened that South Africa did not have national troops and now had to pool different models whereas the neighbouring countries had national teams lined up for the various events.

Mr N Ngcobo (ANC) strongly felt that this occasion ought to promote rural people to alleviate poverty by displaying their art.

Mr F Cassim (IFP) suggested that DAC work with the Department of Environmental Affairs Tourism and perhaps look into using the Rand Easter show grounds and creating jobs.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for their presentation and explained that the concerns expressed by Members were only to encourage DAC and wish them success because the event was bound to further unify the people of Africa if it was a success.

The Commonwealth Foundation briefing
Mr Colin Ball: Director: The Commonwealth Foundation, described the Commonwealth Foundation as an organisation for the people and about people, funded by governments but working with the non-governmental sector. The Foundation has a strong interest in civil society - government relations. The organisation's membership shared information, expertise and experience; collected ideas and energies and connected them to government aims. It was said to be a means by which the people could express their needs, views and experiences. Membership was voluntary; South Africa was not yet a member. The Commonwealth Foundation was said to have a core budget of £ 2.7 million. The Foundation was also a grant making foundation. Mr Ball concluded his presentation by sharing the Commonwealth's view that people wanted a strong state and a strong civil society contrary to certain globalisation ideologies. People want a deepened and more inclusive democracy, and want to play a larger role themselves.

Mr Julius noted that Minister Ngubane and his counterparts were due to meet in the near future with a request to focus on gaining membership of the Foundation for South Africa in June 2003. The second target date was said to be December 2003.

Mr Ball said that the benefit of a membership included activities focused around human resource development, support for NGOs, cultural activators and intergovernmental levels. Another benefit was said to be the enhancement of relations between NGOs and civil society.

Mr Dithebe said that he hoped membership would deepen democracy and human rights. He then asked whether members paid a fixed tariff.

Mr Ball said there was an additional amount of R2 million for the recurring membership.

Mr Ngcobo asked what the Commonwealth Foundation's position was about the Iraq invasion and the situation in Zimbabwe.

Mr Ball declined to make a statement on both issues but indicated he had strong personal views that could be discussed privately.

The Committee assured Mr Ball of their support in getting South Africa to becoming a member of the CommonWealth Foundation.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1


During the IX Session of SADC Committee of Ministers of Culture, Information and Sport in Malawi, May 2000, the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology committed the Department of Arts and Culture to co-ordinate the hosting of the first ever SADC Multi-Disciplinary Festival in South Africa.

The SADC Committee of Ministers of Culture, Information and Sport approved on 30 May 2001 in Grand Baie, Mauritius that South Africa host the Festival.

The project can be described as follows:

+ A centralised multi disciplinary cultural festival presented by South Africa on behalf of the SADC for ALL SADC member states;
+ A Multi disciplinary festival with strong focus on skills development that will cater for the following genres: music, dance, theatre, story telling, a crafts fair and a creative arts and heritage exhibition;
C:. The event will culminate in a Gala event where selected acts will participate.

Each of the genres as explained in bullet 2 can be described as follows:

DANCE: A dance festival catering for A VARIETY of dance forms:
traditional, contemporary dance and fusion.
THEATRE: A theatre festival catering for a variety of genres:
experimental, street theatre, community theatre, contemporary.
MUSIC: A festival catering for various forms of music: e.g.
contemporary, traditional, jazz, coral, fusion, gospel, popular.
creative arts and artefacts of the various countries taking into consideration their heritage.
ORAL TRADITION (Storytelling): A storytelling festival.

The aims and objectives of the event are:
- To promote the goals and objectives of the SADC sector for Culture, Information and Sport;
- To promote regional co-operation by presenting a centralised multidisciplinary festival in South Africa;
- To promote culture in the region as a means of promoting closer cooperation in pursuit of the realisation of the African Renaissance and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD);
To ensure optimal participation by all members states in as many genres as possible; and

The Target audience is:
The SADC community;
The South African Arts and Culture community
The South African people; and
The Media.
The African Community at large

The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology;
- Department of Arts and Culture;
- Departments of Foreign Affairs;
- Department of Home Affairs;
- SAPS and NIA;
- Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism;
- The National Arts Council;
- The Tshwane Metropolitan Council;
- Associated Institutions;
South African Tourism
Conservation and other bodies;
The Printing Media; and
South African Tourism.

It is envisaged that the SADC Multi-disciplinary Festival will take place in Pretoria, Gauteng Province. A few venues were investigated and the following were subsequently proposed and confirmed:
-The State Theatre in Pretoria: this venue may be utilised for the following: Dance, Theatre, Music, Story telling, Creative Arts and Heritage Exhibitions;
-The Church Square: this venue may be utilised mainly for craft sales and craft demonstrations, busking, music and story telling. A separate area for food stalls may also be included in the plan;
-The walk way in Church Street as a venue for busking and other experimental theatre, street theatre and story telling; and
-Performances in the following townships; Mamelodi, Soshanguve, Mabopane, Hammanskraal and Atteridgeville.

The following events are planned to co-inside with the Festival:
-Day of Orientation 18 May: During this day or two all participants will arrive in South Africa and will be treated to typical South African hospitality. It is proposed that all the participants are orientated, accredited and taken on a tour of the proposed venues for the Festival. The day can be concluded with an informal Braai co-hosted by the Mayor of Tshwane Metro and DAC.
-Opening Ceremony 19 May: To introduce all the participants to each other in a passing parade of participants. The ceremony can be held in the State Theatre and will be hosted by the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Each country may be allowed the opportunity to pledge their support to the Festival in support of Africa.
-Gala Event and Closing Ceremony 24 May: During this event, awards and certificates of appreciation will be issued and handed over to the respective countries. Adjudicators will be appointed to select the few best acts per genre. For this purpose the Minister will host the delegations.
-Ministers Colloquium 23-24: The minister will host his colleagues from
SADC to kick off a two day Colloquium between SADC Ministers of
Culture, Information and Sport. The International Network on Cultural
(INCP) will be an important feature on the agenda of this gathering.
The role of culture in NEPAD will also be discussed.
-A council for International Folklore Festivals (CIOFF) regional meeting will be held over two days during the festival. The Council works under the auspices of UNESCO.
-The Africa Day National Celebrations will take place on 25 May and all Ministers of Culture from SADC are expected to take part in the proceedings. It is envisaged that all ministers and participants will take part in the proceedings.

The Responsibilities of the host country will be to cover all the internal costs including logistical, technical support, internal travel, accommodation and meals during their stay to a maximum of 10 days.

Participating countries will cover their own international travel costs to Pretoria, daily allowances and the costs of presenting their performances, e.g. costumes.
All the SADC Member states has confirmed their participation in the festival.
The following countries forwarded their registration forms: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia

It should be noted that the events should be managed as a partnership project between the Department of Arts and Culture and its partners e.g. Tshwane Metropolitan Council, the NAC and other arts and culture organisations with a vested interest in the themes and genres of the Festival. It will also be required of such organisations to form part of the Steering Committee and the various Sub-committees. Proper agreements should also be reached between all the various organisations to spell out exactly what their respective roles in the Festival will be.

Each country will be required to participate in at least three of the selected genres. Countries should limit the total number of delegates to the Festival to 50 participants that will cover their participation in their selected genres. Should a country however come with more than 50 delegates, the specific country will have to bear all costs for the additional delegates.

Countries can participate in areas of artistic strength and excellence. It should be noted that this is not a competition but a festival. Recognition of participation will be given rather than awards of excellence. Visiting countries could also make use of the local broadcaster, e.g. Africa2Africa to broadcast their participation to the region and the continent.

The International Liaison Directorate has appointed area co-ordinators in the following areas to assist with the management of the Festival:
Orientation; and
Printing mailers;
Interpretation and translation;
Logistics; and
Special event - opening ceremony;
Special event - gala event and closing ceremony;
Secretariat and liaison with the stakeholders;
Security liaison;
Marketing and publicity;
Protocol; and
SADC Minister's Programme.

A small National Steering Committee has been established to give direction in all the above areas. A larger Logistics Committee pulling together all the above issues and reporting to the National Steering Committee has been established. The International Liaison Directorate is responsible for liaison with each visiting country. It will be the responsibility of the International Liaison official to ensure that all issues related to the country is taken care of. To receive technical requirements from his I her responsible country is only one of the tasks to be performed before arrival of the delegation in South Africa.

The programme committee will have the very important role to ensure that proper programming takes place. It will also be the committee's responsibility to ensure that the programme is printed and distributed. Allocation of stages to fit the need of the delegation will form part of the responsibilities of the committee.

Needless to say, the logistics committee will have to play in pivotal role in everything. All information should be routed to the person to ensure that all requirements are provided and is provided according to standard.

It would be necessary to make special mention of the involvement of visiting Ministers to South Africa over the period of the Festival. Africa Day is celebrated through the whole of Africa on 25 May every year. It would be ideal for the Minister of Arts and Culture to host his Colleagues in South Africa to celebrate the 40th AU Anniversary and Africa Day.

The GCIS and the Department of Arts and Culture is working on a joint marketing and publicity strategy to ensure that the Festival get the crowds and recognition it deserves.

The event will take place from 19 until 25 May 2003 in Pretoria, South Africa.
It is expected that country participants may already start to arrive in South
Africa on 18 May 2003. Orientation of Country delegations will commence on
18 May 2003.

It is further suggested that the timing of the event includes preoperational dates. These days should be used to allow for briefing of country delegates and to familiarise them with the area and the various venues. In many instances, Embassies in South African may wish to host their country delegations for an evening at the Embassy. Time should therefore be allowed for this. The following is proposed:

It is envisaged that the income for the event will be as follows:

Contribution from the Department of Arts and Culture R4 000 000
Contribution from the National Arts Council (officially approached for the coordination and co-sponsor the South African act)

Contribution from the Tshwane Metro Council (requested to co-host an informal welcome braai and co-ordinate the security and tourism sector)


1. A Cabinet Memorandum is due to be presented to Cabinet on Thursday 22 August to:

Seek approval and confirmation from Cabinet of the Department of Arts and

Culture's lead role in driving South Africa's membership process of the
Commonwealth Foundation

· To inform Cabinet of the financial implications for membership of the Commonwealth Foundation.

2. The Commonwealth Foundation was established by an agreed memorandum approved by Heads of Government in London in 1965 and has been registered as a charitable Trust under the laws of England to administer a fund for the purpose of promoting professional co-operation among Commonwealth countries.

3. The Foundation's areas of interest also extend to include culture, information and the media, rural development, social welfare and the handicapped as well as the role of women. The functions of the Foundation include:

a) to support attendance at conferences, seminars, symposia etc.

b) to facilitate advisory, exchange and study visits and training attachments

c) to stimulate flow of information between professional and other non-government bodies, and

d) to stimulate and support any other activities which fall within the Foundation's areas of interest.

4. Membership to the Commonwealth Foundation will benefit South Africa by ensuring support for NGO's, professional associations and cultural activities at intergovernmental level. Through grants and a range of programmes, the

intergovernmental level. Through grants and a range of programmes, the Foundation can facilitate inter-country networking, training, capacity building and information exchange. It will also enhance relations between NGO's and Government. The Foundation's focus in allocating funds for South/South co-operation on issues of poverty, education and sustainable development will benefit the county.

5. South Africa will be able to participate in the following programmes presented by the Foundation:

· Arts and Culture Responsive grants

· Commonwealth Arts and Crafts Awards

· Commonwealth Photographic Awards Commonwealth Short Story Competition Commonwealth Writers Prize

6. As early as 1998 Minister, L P H M Mtshali indicated DACST's willingness to join the Foundation.

7. A high level of interest has been expressed regarding South Africa finalising membership of the Commonwealth Foundation, and the matter has been one of urgency for the Department.

8. South Africa's membership to the Commonwealth Foundation is dependant on South Africa signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and payment of an annual membership fee.

9. To date the following has been done:

9.1 Legal opinion has been sought from the State Legal Advisor, the Department of Justice and the Department of Foreign Affairs. According to them there is no legal obstacle to SA joining the Commonwealth Foundation.

9.2The next steps in the process were identified:

a) To obtain the President's approval by way of a Presidential Minute.

b) For the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology to sign the notification to the Director of the Foundation indicating South Africa's willingness to join and to adhere to the conditions stipulated in the MOU.

c) For the lead Department to pay the annual membership fees of approximately R2 million. Membership will only be payable from the time of acceptance of membership.

10. Before proceeding with the drafting of a Presidential Minute, Minister Ngubane requested in a letter to Minister Dr N C Dlamini-Zuma that:

a) the South African Government Departments approve DACST's role as the lead Department.

b) they support a request to Cabinet for additional funds for the membership fees.

11. The following action schedule has been proposed to finalise South Africa's membership of the Commonwealth Foundation:



Proposed Date


Submit a cabinet memorandum requesting approval for additional funding and confirmation of DACST's lead role in driving the process

22 August 2002


Set up a meeting with the Commonwealth Foundation in order to determine specifics around our membership, including benefits to SA, what our ongoing participation would involve etc. This would better equip us for our discussion at a proposed meeting between Government

Subject to Mrs Machel's availability -meeting pending


Departments in this regard



Reschedule the previously proposed To be
meeting with the relevant stakeholders confirmed
and line function managers to discuss the benefits of our membership, membership fees, the way forward etc.It is proposed that the DG chair the meeting.

To be confirmed


Obtain the President's approval by way Subject to of a Presidential Minute Cabinet approval

Subject to cabinet approval


Once Presidential approval is given Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Cabinet
Technology will have to sign the approval notification to the Director of the Foundation indicating South Africa's willingness to join and to adhere to the conditions stipulated in the MOU

Subject to cabinet approval


The lead Department will have to pay the annual membership fees of approximately R2 million. approval

Subject to cabinet approval


12. A letter to Mrs Graca Machel, the Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, has been sent, informing her of the Department's intention to finalise membership, and outlining the processes involved. A meeting has also been requested with Mrs Machel.

13. The committee recommended the following:

13.1. the Minister consult with the Minister of Finance regarding additional funding as well as with the Minister of Education with regard to the issues of education as reflected on 4,4 of the memorandum; and

13.2 a revised cabinet memorandum be submitted at the next meeting of the Cabinet.

14. Letters to the Ministers of Finance and Education requesting a meeting with

them in the above regard have been sent from Minister Ngubane

15. On Wednesday 5 March 2003, CD/ACIL met with Mr CoIn Ball, the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation.

16. Mr Ball was briefed on the status of South Africa's membership to the Commonwealth Foundation.

17. A briefing session with the portfolio committee on the Commonwealth

Foundation has been proposed for 15 April 2003. Mr Ball (Director of the

Commonwealth Foundation) has offered to make a presentation, along with

DDG/AC and CD/ACIL, to the committee regarding the Foundation and its

benefits to South Africa.

1 8. It is proposed by DAC: International Liaison that finalization of South Africa's membership to the Foundation be targeted for no later than June 2003. This would enable South Africa to be represented at the next Board of Governors meeting in London.

Appendix 2
SPEAKING NOTES: PRESENTATION TO PORTFOLIOS COMMITTEE, The Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation of the Commonwealth



15 APRIL 2003

  • Founded in 1966 by Heads of Government
  • Working alongside the Commonwealth Secretariat
  • What does it do?
  • Best here to refer to recent document - report of the High Level Review Group chaired by President Mbeki:

"There are a large number of associations and organisations that have either a general or specialised interest in Commonwealth activities. We believe that the networks for sharing expertise, information and experience among these organisations, people-to-people links and the existence of a wider Commonwealth civil society are valuable assets that give the Commonwealth a depth and a reach that is unique."

Simply put: the Foundation's mandate is to serve and support those networks and links across the 'people's Commonwealth' and indeed to connect that 'unofficial Commonwealth' with the 'official' government-to-government Commonwealth.

Foundation therefore also has a similar role to that of a Parliament - to represent the 'people's Commonwealth' and help connect it to Commonwealth governance. Aim to hear voices, make them known to governments.

Quote: "What is the greatest thing in this world, I tell you; it is people, it is people, it is people" Come back to this in a moment.

Go back to basic facts about the Foundation:

  • Membership is voluntary: currently 46 members most recent members being Belize, Cameroon, Mozambique. South Africa currently the only large country not in membership, and the only Commonwealth country in Africa not in membership
  • Governance - by representatives of each member country, through Board of Governors
  • Chair is distinguished private citizen elected by Heads of Government. Currently Mrs Machel
  • Assessed contributions from members provide core budget: currently in excess of 2.5 million pounds per year.
  • Small and cost-effective; 13 staff, many partnerships with other organisations.

Work programme:

  • Quote vision statement

"The Commonwealth Foundation works for a world where ordinary citizens and organisations are able to participate fully and effectively in the development and determination of their communities. It works for a world where the needs and aspirations of the poor and disadvantaged women, men and children are listened to and acted upon by governments committed to social justice and the eradication of poverty. The Commonwealth Foundation is committed to a world where citizens work in harmony with each other and with decision makers and power holders to ensure good governance and sustainable development within communities, nations and globally."


  • Various programmes and activities towards that end: two kinds of connection: people-government and people-people
  • NGOs and other CSOs - faith, labour, professionals
  • Arts and cultural activities
  • Photography Awards, Vision Awards, Arts & crafts Awards - all means of expression: Arts and Culture is part of civil society


  • People's Festivals since 1997
  • Need to be seen as whole - all means of association, connection and expression
  • Programmes and grant-making

Principal focus on governance: Civil society and Citizens and Governance programmes since 1997: as much about people's voices and connecting people to government as connecting CSOs to governments. 10,000 citizens, three conclusions:

  • Strong state strong civil society
  • Deepened more inclusive and participatory democracy and governance
  • Enlarged role for citizens


Quote Fancourt + Durban Communique: key guiding lights for the Foundation:

  • "people must be directly involved in the decision-making process and in the implementation of development plans and programmes. " Noted that civil society is significant in empowering people
  • "if the poor and vulnerable are to be at the centre of development the process must be participatory, in which they have a voice…"


As parliamentarians your concern will be with your constituents. You may ask what value or benefits would accrue to them if the Foundation were a stand-alone separate privately funded body would be hard to answer. But because it is the 'safe space' between governments and civil society it can influence - and help improve democracy and development by voicing the perspectives of people, including those constituents. Those improvements benefit all.

Look forward to South Africa joining and contributing its views to the governance process.



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