Viva Africa Festival: briefing

Arts and Culture

03 June 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

3 June 2003


Ms M Njobe (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Committee Programme: 2003
Viva Africa - Celebration of Africa: Briefing
Viva Africa 2003 Sponsorship Proposal

Viva Africa briefed the Committee about their festival concept, which appeared to focus on the Eastern Cape at the expense of other provinces. The Committee suggested that the concept be developed in more detail and, possibly, launched on a smaller scale. It was also made clear that Government would not consider providing financial assistance to any initiative of this nature unless a Section 21 company had been formed.

Committee programme
The Chair highlighted date changes and new items in the committee programme. She pointed out that there had not been much change in terms of content. The programme also included information on the role and objectives of the Committee, a list of entities and structures on which the Committee exercises oversight, the Committee's legislative work and various house keeping procedures and details. The Chair was concerned that the Committee was not making full use of parliamentary support systems including researchers, legal support and language support services. She emphasised that administrative concerns needed to be addressed once identified. The committee programme was approved.

Viva Africa: Briefing
Mr Andile Lungisa and Mr George Meko briefed members on the Viva Africa concept and presented their sponsorship proposal to the Committee. The concept was that a festival celebrating Africa would be hosted annually at Nelson Mandela Bay and launched on 20 September 2003. The festival would feature African cultural events and traditions including cooking, music, art, medicine, literature, technology, sport and craft. The sponsorship proposal included budget requirements for 2003 to 2005. Viva Africa had established strong links with African Americans hosting similar festivals around the world.

Most Members felt that the concept needed to be developed in greater detail. Viva Africa would also need to form a Section 21 company in order to be considered for government funding.

Mr F Cassiem (IFP) suggested that Viva Africa ask the Department to look at the feasibility, viability and desirability of the project.

Ms H Mpaka (ANC) asked how Viva Africa would interact with rural communities

Mr Lungisa replied that area co-ordinators would target rural areas with cultural expertise for inclusion in the various events proposed.

The Chair expressed concern that the presentation had tended to imply that the focus of the festival would be on Eastern Cape culture. For the festival to be a national event it would need to include the other other provinces and feature what those provinces had to offer.

Mr Lungisa explained that, if provinces such as KwaZulu Natal felt they had the capacity to host the festival, they would need to bid for it along the same lines as the Olympics bid process. Viva Africa had already embarked upon an extensive awareness-raising campaign with this in mind.

Mrs T Tshivase (ANC) asked whether other African states had been invited and was told that they had not.

The Chair wondered how African the Viva Africa concept really was. The more she looked at the document the more convinced she became that the project focused on the Eastern Cape. The document said nothing about other provinces or African states although mention was made of states outside Africa. She wanted to know whom else they worked with, explaining that the Committee would need this information since it had been approached for support.

Mr Lungisa explained that the Eastern Cape Department of Arts and Culture had been approached, but could not fund a festival of the envisaged magnitude. Coca Cola had promised their support on the condition that national government was involved.

The Chair asked how Viva Africa envisaged its festival relating to the Grahamstown arts festival hosted by the same province that had become a national event. She said she needed to know whether the two festivals would compete with or complement each other.

Mr Lungisa replied that the Grahamstown festival was limited to the arts and took place in winter. There had been no formal interaction between the two.

Mr S Opperman (DA) commented that it would be unreasonable to expect international and national tourists to go to the Eastern Cape in July and return there again in September. He asked the team how much of the festival budget had already been secured.

There was no specific response to this question, although Mr Lungisa did say that Viva Africa had capacity but not funding.

Ms S Motubatse-Hounkpatin (ANC) referred to the very recent Africa Day celebrations that had involved countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. On a smaller scale, she spoke of Afro Day that had been celebrated at the Jabulani amphitheatre when she had still lived in Soweto. She suggested that the Viva Africa festival might also need to begin on a smaller scale and grow over time. Committee members could assist in developing the concept in their personal capacities, but the proposal was not something that could be addressed by the Committee as a whole.

The Chair then closed discussion on this matter and the meeting was adjourned.



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