RSA Agreements with Kenya, Nigeria and France on Audio Visual Co-Production

Sport, Arts and Culture

12 May 2023
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) gave brief presentations about its agreements with Kenya, Nigeria and France on audio-visual co-production. Members asked for the Department's view on the reported atrocities in Kenya, and how that had impacted the agreements between the two countries. They were also concerned that a requirement for a mutual skills transfer should be incorporated into the agreements.

The Department clarified the kinds of interactions that happened when facilitating cooperation agreements. It gave assurances that the mutual benefit of those involved, and skills exchange, were at the forefront of these interactions.

Meeting report

Agreement between SA and Kenya on audio-visual co-production

Mr Ruphus Matibe, Director: International Relations, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC), said South Africa and Kenya had re-established official relations in 1992. There had been a number of significant interactions between the two countries which had led to establishing and signing an agreement between them. Kenya had been identified as a strategic partner to South Africa, particularly given its geo-political position within the East African region and its relative economic size and importance for trade and investment opportunities for South Africa. Kenya also presented excellent access to South Africa’s culture and creative industry products to the lucrative East African market. The purpose of these agreements was to consolidate, broaden and strengthen the friendly ties and reciprocal understanding between the two countries.

All three agreements were ready for signature during the State visit to Nairobi early in November 2022, but the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on arts and culture and the Agreement on sports and recreation were not signed due to a re-configuration of departments following Kenya's national elections. The audio-visual co-production was the only Agreement signed on 9 November 2022.

The audio-visual co-production agreement was tabled in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on 28 November 2022. The Department had sent a note verbale to Kenya via diplomatic channels that it had fulfilled its constitutional mandate to bring the Agreement into force.

Agreement between SA and Nigeria on audio visual co-production

Mr Matibe said formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria were conducted through a Bi-National Commission (BNC), established in 1999. It was within the ambit of the BNC that South Africa had signed an agreement of cooperation in the area of arts and culture in 2001.

The purpose of this Agreement was to consolidate, broaden and strengthen the friendly ties and reciprocal understanding between the two countries by working towards co-producing films, documentaries, and other related audio-visual material. Above all, the agreements would serve as the legal framework to enable both countries to celebrate, and exchange knowledge and skills in the broader areas of arts and culture and to tell their own stories.

These two international agreements were submitted for the purpose of tabling in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The agreements were thus tabled, and the resulting feedback was received in March 2022. The Department sent a note verbale to Nigeria via diplomatic channels that it had fulfilled its constitutional mandate to bring the Agreement into force.

The implications were that the Kenya and Nigeria agreements were not in force yet, and thus could not be implemented by the implementing authority on the South African side, which was the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). The Department continued to follow up with Kenya and Nigeria via the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

Agreement between SA and France on cinematography and audio-visual co-production

The Agreement was signed on 21 May 2022. This Agreement would be active, following the completion of the process according to sub article (1).


Mr M Zondi (ANC) commented that the Minister had been correct in saying that the Agreement was straightforward. However, any agreement entered into with any country must benefit both countries economically and/or politically.

He asked when the last attempt was made to get a response from Nigeria and Kenya on the delivery of the outstanding application.

He also asked how the country benefited in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP) from the foreign film industry compared to the impact of the local film industry’s contribution to the GDP. He asked whether there was a market for South African cultural products in Kenya.

Lastly, he commented that the Nigerian film industry was a force to be reckoned with globally. He asked how a transfer of skills was incorporated into these agreements.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked whether there had been a growth in imports between Kenya and South Africa on a mutually beneficial basis, or if there was only a demand from one country to another.

He commented that the country reads about devilish actions in Kenya involving killing women and children. He asked what South Africa’s stance was on the atrocities in Kenya. Were there any discussions happening about that?

He also asked what South Africa and Nigeria’s stance was about the reported xenophobic violence in both countries. He asked whether there were positive results from severed relations due to competing economic and cultural influences between the two countries.

What was Nigeria’s stance on their status of being seen as drug lords by South Africans?

He asked if there had been talks aimed at uniting South African to both Kenya and Nigeria in order to erase borders that were not of African making. If not, he asked why not, and if yes, he asked what they had been about.

Mr D Joseph (DA) said the presentations had been quite long to read, but he appreciated that at that level, it was important to have agreements in place.

He asked how the African Union (AU) and African Parliament were involved, because some Members of the Parliament of South Africa sat on these bodies. What role did they play in influencing these agreements?

He wanted to know how these agreements would be implemented practically at ground level in the cities and towns of each respective country where the cultural businesses exist and operate.

The Chairperson said the Nigerian film industry was a force to be reckoned with, and asked how skills transfer had been incorporated into the agreements.

She commented that the last time the two countries cooperated was during the cultural season in Kenya in 2018, which was more than five years ago. She asked whether there had been any areas of cooperation between Kenya and South Africa since then from a cultural perspective.

Ms R Adams (ANC) also asked whether there had been any areas of cultural cooperation between Kenya and South Africa in the last five years since 2018, and what the status of entry was in relation to France.

To what extent had the film industry's income bounced back after the Covid-19 pandemic? She also asked about a skills transfer being included in the Nigerian Agreement.

DSAC's response
Ms Mandisa Tshikwatamba, Deputy Director General: Institutional Governance and Corporate Services, (DSAC), responded that in March, there had been an attempt to pursue Kenya and Nigeria on the finalisation of their processes. These had been conversations at the Ministerial level resulting in progress on these interactions, because the counterparts of the Minister could be coming to participate in the Africa Month activities. During their visit, which was still tentative, DSAC could take the opportunity of trying to finalise the agreements.

She commented that the Agreement with France had been finalised. Implementation would start in June.

She said the agreements were co-production agreements, where South Africa would not just be recipients of finished goods. The audio-visual production proposals would be evaluated on a skills exchange, and sharing of the projects from producers in both countries was under consideration. This may require assistance from other entities that the Department was engaging. Those entities had started putting in processes that would assist producers. The Department had partnered with the NFVF, and discussions had started with them.

Issues of trade were on a friendly basis at the people-to-people level. They were helping people to get to know each other and to be able to trade with each other.

On issues of economic development, the Department did take heed to balance trade. They took their cue from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) in accessing value. For example, Kenya was one of the largest trading partners of South Africa. They looked at areas where there were semi-production goods for South Africa to participate in their production, and also not to import finished goods. She added that when South Africa exported goods, they sought to establish a base for production in those new markets. The Department was working with DIRCO and the DTIC on these matters.

She lastly commented that the Department was led by South Africa’s diplomatic relations. She would leave it for the Minister to respond on South Africa’s position on certain issues.

Mr Matibe responded that from 2018 to 2021, the country was under siege because of Covid-19, so not much could be done during this period. Exchanges were based on cultural reciprocity. South Africa had done its part in Kenya and had been waiting for Kenya to reciprocate. Kenya had been excited to come to South Africa during the BNC, and the Department was waiting for them to come.

He commented that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement had just been ratified, and the creative sector was one of the biggest beneficiaries because it included products such as film, music, theatre, craft and design. South Africa had a huge market to exploit in the African continent, which was comparable to no other continent. It served as an opportunity for African people to tell their own good stories, using their own languages, and to challenge the atrocities that happen in their communities through creative platforms.

While it was often said that Nigeria was a force to be reckoned with for filmmaking, Africa was not only about voodoo and witchcraft, because many other stories could be told. The challenge came when producers did not have content that appreciated diversity and the common heritage that needed to be appropriated. They would then project what they knew and become famous for it. Nigerian movies focus on that. South African filmmakers produce broad content that is consumed globally, and they win awards for it because of the narrative that they have.

Mr Matibe said skills transfer was very important. Some countries were ahead of South Africa, and the Department had learnt from them about marketing and the narrative.

During May, which was Africa Month, it was important for the Department to appreciate, commemorate and celebrate every African so that issues of xenophobia and gender-based violence (GBV) were dealt with. This was symbolic of the DSAC marching ahead of the marching orders of the African Union.

Mr Madlingozi commented that Ms Tshikwatamba had mentioned that the Minister would respond to his questions. However, his questions still remained unanswered because the Minister had left that meeting.

Ms Tshikwatamba responded that she would still prefer the Minister to respond regarding South Africa’s position. She added that the atrocities were public knowledge. What was important concerning the cooperation agreement was whether diplomatic ties of all the respective countries were still intact. I was a different matter if, during the cooperation, violations arose, as the government would need to take a stand. However, there were still ongoing discussions at this point, and no decision had been taken on withdrawal.


The minutes of the previous meeting were not adopted because there was no quorum.

The meeting was adjourned.

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