Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2007, Voortrekker Monument & the Heritage Foundation: briefings

Arts and Culture

09 October 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

09 October 2007

Ms T S Tshivhase (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Cape Town International Jazz Festival Annual Report, 2007
Who’s Who at Cape Town International Jazz Festival, 2007 [annual magazine][available at]
News Letter on Finances of Voortrekker Monument Group
Status Report on Construction of New Heritage Centre

Voortrekker Monument Moves with Times: Media Release
Misuse of Voortrekker Monument as Emblem Rejected Media Statement
Racist Incidents Rejected in Strongest Possible Terms Media Statement

Extract message of Goodwill by Major General (Retired) Gert Opperman
Extract From Speech by Maj Gen Opperman at South African Sports, Arts, Culture and Heritage Conference
Heritage Foundation Re Legacy of Great Trek and Battle of Blood River
Story of Voortrekker Monument & Heritage Foundation Presentation
News letters re the state of VTM finances and new Heritage Centre

DVD (duration 3.5 mins) about the Cape Town International Jazz Festival [contact [email protected]]

Audio recording of meeting

The Committee met with officials of espAFRIKA (Pty) Ltd, the company responsible for organising the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, for a briefing on the Festival’s 8th Annual Report for 2007. This comprised a presentation of the results of a study conducted by the Centre for Tourism Research in Africa, including statistics illustrating the Festival’s impact on the Gross Domestic Product nationally and provincially, roll-out plans to market the Festival as a ten day event from 2008 to 2010, and the impact on tourism in the Province.
Members expressed the view that the Festival should involve rural areas and the country as a whole, and the need for a detailed budget.

The CEO of the Voortrekker Monument and the Heritage Foundation briefed the Committee on Afrikaner heritage conservation and its adaptation to the post-1994 political landscape. A number of concerns and challenges were raised around funding, acceptance of the exhibits and events by different parties, misperceptions, the need to recognise and respect history, the difficult political situation around the wall of remembrance at Freedom Park, and the way forward. Members were strongly in favour of holding a Committee workshop to discuss the difficult and emotional issues concerning history, heritage and reconciliation.

The Chairperson asked delegates from the Committee to give a brief report on their visit to the Heritage Day celebrations at Bloemfontein.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that it had been a most memorable day, but the delegation had experienced difficulties since transport and accommodation had not been arranged in advance. All communities in South Africa were represented in large numbers. The Minister of Arts and Culture and key members of the Department of Arts and Culture attended. Mr Lekgetho would submit a more detailed, written report in due course.

Mr B Zulu (ANC) apologised that he had been unable to attend because of the death of his brother.

The Committee conveyed its condolences to Mr Zulu.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival: Presentation by espAFRIKA
Mr Rashid Lombard, Festival Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of espAFRIKA (Pty) Ltd, which was the company responsible for organisation of the Festival, noted that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival had taken place from Friday 30 to Saturday 31 March 2007. He emphasised the Festival’s role in fostering employment in the light music industry and its contribution to training and development. The Festival had conducted workshops over a period of three days for 100 primary and high school learners. International and national artists had conducted music workshops for 100 professional and emerging musicians over a period of two days. Master classes had been conducted for professional and established musicians. The Festival had conducted a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) - accredited seminar on the music business for 15 learners and a similar seminar for 15 learners on arts journalism. An arts and craft workshop had been held, at which sales in the order of R50 000 had been achieved. Acclaimed women photographers had been featured at the Duotone Photographic Exhibition.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival was the fourth largest festival of its kind in the world, exceeded only by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Out of the 100 top worldwide festivals encompassing all genres of music, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival ranked number 30.

Attendances totalled 33 356, with foreign visitors coming from the USA, the UK, Germany, Russia, Spain, and elsewhere. 98% of those who had attended had come to Cape Town primarily for the Festival. Jobs were created for 2 750 casual employees and contractors. 36 service providers or consultants had been engaged, of whom 85% were fully compliant with Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) principles. 8 000 people had attended the free Community Concert.

The Festival had contributed R342.4 million to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and R136.96 million to the GDP of the City of Cape Town.

In view of the quality of artists, it would have been not unreasonable to charge much higher fees for admission; the actual amount charged per person was in reality subsidised.

EspAFRIKA was satisfied with its marketing plan. Its international marketing campaign had featured in most acclaimed jazz presentations, including Jazz Times (USA), Downbeat (USA), Jazzwise (UK), Jazziz (EU), and in the Jazz & Blues Festival Guide. The Festival had achieved a huge footprint in the mass media, including radio and television broadcasting, and newspapers.

The Festival was being planned as a ten-day event towards 2010. The organisers envisaged using a dome, the Cullinan, and hoped to take possession of the Grand Parade for a whole week. Events would also take place at the Iziko Museum, Green Market Square, and Erinvale Golf Course. There would be a focus on the younger designers from an African perspective. There would also be a gig for pre-school children, a high schools brass band concert, and a gospel concert. The Festival’s existing training programmes would be enhanced by workshops on the theory and practice of lighting.

Mr Lombard showed the Committee a short DVD on the festival.

Mr Billy Domingo, Operations Director, espAFRIKA, and Production Director of the Festival, added that there was a significant export of South African artists to Cuba and Belgium. He added that notwithstanding the fact that the Festival was run as a business, in which there were no unpaid volunteers, the Festival was a major contributor to the transfer of skills.

The Chairperson observed that Mr Lombard and Mr Domingo had said nothing about provision for disabled people as visitors to or performers at the Festival, nor was there any mention of inclusion of street children. She asked how the Festival ploughed back money into the community.

Mr Billy Domingo said that the organisers took pride in provision and planning for the disabled. Despite security concerns, they had engaged with street children, and forty street children had successfully attended the Free Community Concert.

Mr Lombard said that the Festival was beginning to plough back money into the community, in the amount of around R6.2 million.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked about artists who had been exploited in the past. He asked which unions represented artists. He asked further why statistics had not been included on Radio Ghana’s coverage of the event.

Mr Lombard replied that the artists were not yet members of unions, but, as a promoter, he placed highest importance on their interests. The artists could be regarded as ambassadors. If the journey was longer than four hours, artists were conveyed by air. The Festival made great efforts to provide good accommodation to artists, although it faced difficulties with some hotels that had overcharged. It was the aim of the Festival to capture the economy and create work, for example, by encouraging hotels to employ musicians such as a trio or quartet to perform for guests. Mr Billy Domingo was responsible for training students.

Ms D Van der Walt (DA) and Mr M J Bhengu (IFP) asked if the Festival was an NPO or a Section 21 company.

Mr Lombard replied that the Festival was not a non-profit organisation (NPO), nor a Section 21 company. It was a business to train people to make money, and its status was that of a proprietary limited company. All training was carried out to certain standards. The Festival preferred not to use the word ‘volunteers’. The organisers believed that all who worked for the festival must be paid.

Ms Van der Walt asked if the Festival received any funding from the National Arts Council, how much funding it received from the Western Cape province, and how much from the Department of Arts and Culture.

Mr Lombard said that the Festival had approached the National Arts Council every year for sponsorship for the workshops, but had never received any response. The City of Cape Town had contributed R500 000 in terms of services provided. The Western Cape had contributed R700 000, and the Department of Arts and Culture had contributed R2.2 million. Such funding was deposited into a trust account.

Mr Bhengu asked about the impact of the Festival on the GDP of Cape Town, and how much it contributed to poverty alleviation.

Mr Lombard replied that the Festival helped to generate work and business for local businesses, and he was confident that the Festival was paying back money into the community. All kinds of event could have a similar impact.

Mr Bhengu also asked if such a festival could be held in other provinces.

Mr S Opperman (DA) asked if there were any plans to extend the Festival to the rural areas.

Ms N Mbombo (ANC) asked about the Festival’s contribution to poverty alleviation. She shared Mr Opperman’s concerns about the rural areas. She was also very concerned about how artists and all concerned with the Festival earned their living after the Festival, noting that many artists tended to die in poverty.

Mr B Zulu (ANC) noted the comment around the 2010 Festival, but said that he had the impression it was promoting Cape Town only. He asked how the Festival would promote the whole of the Rainbow Nation. It was necessary to accommodate all the provinces and people of South Africa.

Mr Lombard said that the organisers could do only what was within their powers and competencies. They were not operating on the level of FIFA delegations. They were hoping to take some events to the rural communities.

Mr B Biyela (IFP) agreed that much more should be done for the rural areas. Brass bands, rap, and other music forms were linked to jazz. Music played a very important role in national development. Musicians were South Africa’s cultural ambassadors during the liberation struggle. He preferred that a festival such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival be called simply a music festival.  He asked if Abdullah Ibrahim had performed at the Festival.

Mr Lombard said that there was no pure jazz festival in the world, since jazz had become a broad genre of music

Mr Domingo added that Abdullah Ibrahim had performed.

Mr Bhengu said that jazz and classical music were not excluded from indigenous music. He explained the Committee’s parliamentary oversight role. He had not known about the Department of Arts and Culture’s R2.2 million contribution to the Festival. In view of the Committee’s role and responsibilities to ensure that public money was properly spent, he said that the Committee would like to see a budget detailing how every cent had been expended.

Ms Van der Walt thanked the organisers for providing tickets to the 2007 Festival, which Mr Biyela and she had attended. She clarified that what was described as the Department of Arts and Culture’s contribution to the Festival was a donation from the Minister, as the Festival was not an entity of the Department.

Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation briefing
Major-General (Rtd) Gert Opperman, Chief Executive Officer, The Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation, gave a detailed presentation on the Foundation. He stated that the Voortrekker Monument, in honour of the voortrekkers who had migrated into the interior of South Africa in the mid 19th century, to seek freedom from the British authorities at the Cape, was inaugurated on a hill south of Pretoria on 16 December 1949. It had been privatised in 1993 as a Section 21 company. It was situated in a nature reserve of 250 hectares, known as the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site. Indigenous fauna and flora were protected throughout the nature reserve. There was a formal walking trail and biking trails. A large amphitheatre was available for hire for mass events.

He noted that South Africa’s heritage could be preserved only if linked to education with the aim of cultivating an historical awareness. The Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site presented educational programmes, ecological training, guided tours to learners, corporate groups and any other groups on request. A research centre was available, with qualified, professional members of staff.

Since March 2000 a new management philosophy had been adopted, based on three pillars – sound management, excellent service, and active marketing with faith, passion and hard work. Sound management encompassed good corporate governance, proper strategic and financial planning and control processes, expansion, rejuvenation and ennoblement of personnel, logistical and project management, diversification and security of sources of income. A policy of active marketing had been adopted with the rationale of improving image, legitimacy, promoting tourism, and expanding sources of revenue through commercial use of facilities.

The Voortrekker Monument and the Heritage Foundation had been deliberately repositioned as an integral part of South Africa’s national heritage estate. They promoted respect for everyone else’s history without losing self-respect for one’s own, and supported the principle of nation-building and reconciliation. Both the Monument and the Foundation supported efforts to amplify and re-interpret, not distort nor reconstruct, the history if all the peoples and cultures of South Africa, including the Voortrekker Monument and the Heritage Foundation’s own exhibitions. They opposed deliberate denigration, neglect and vandalisation of Afrikaner heritage. They also actively supported the government’s efforts to reach out to the rest of Africa.

The Heritage Foundation (Die Erfenisstigting) was registered as a non-profit Section 21 company in September 2002. It received no state assistance. It had its own board of directors but was managed by Voortrekker Monument personnel. Its aim was to assist with the conservation of threatened heritage resources, especially those resources dear to the Afrikaans-speaking members of the community. It was envisaged as ‘the mother company’ of the Voortrekker Monument.

The construction of a new heritage centre had already commenced and would include archives, a library, a research centre, and exhibition areas. It was expected to be completed by early 2008. The exhibition’s theme would be ‘The evolution, role and contribution of the Afrikaner in the process of conflict, adaptation and growth.’

An independent research trust had been established with tax-free status. Recruitment of 101 founder members at R20 000 each was in progress to establish an initial capital of approximately R2 million. More than R1.4 million had already been collected. The trust would concentrate on Afrikaner and Afrikaans-related research themes against a broader South African background.

On 21 June 2006 a memorandum of understanding had been concluded between the Freedom Park Trust, the Voortrekker Monument and the Heritage Foundation, whereby each institution would retain its independence, but, as each represented significant moments in South African history, would encourage visitors to one also to visit the others so as to better understand the rich diversity of South Africa’s past.

Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument were situated on either side of the Pretoria-Johannesburg highway, at the southern entrance to Pretoria, and it was hoped to upgrade an existing road to provide a bridge between the two sites. The Voortrekker Monument was also in overall control of the Blood River / Ncome site.

The chief risks for the Voortrekker Monument and other undeclared Afrikaner heritage institutions included Acts of God, international events over which the Voortrekker Monument had no control, actions by government and official organs of state, the Voortrekker Monument’s own support base, and internal factors. Serious challenges experienced by non-declared Afrikaner heritage institutions included acute insufficiency of resources, especially subsidies, grants, capital expenditure, and remuneration of personnel.

In practice, many institutions were obliged to take care of themselves. The Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation had limited capacity to assist other institutions, while other institutions had unrealistic expectations. There was insufficient access to the Department of Arts and Culture. There was still uncertainty about the future payment of subsidies.  There was a negative effect on the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation’s support base, on account of activities by authorities such as name changes (for example, Pretoria and Potchefstroom), the closure of certain museums (for example Vaaltechnorama and Heilbron), the total neglect and decay of other museums (such as Winburg and Bergendal), the deliberate destruction of monuments (such as Standerton), and the controversy about the omission of names of fallen ex-South African Defence Force members from the Wall of Remembrance at Freedom Park. Actions of extremist and activist groups in different communities had an adverse effect, regardless of the fact that heritage institutions did not support them.

Therefore, Maj-Gen Opperman warned that the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation’s future had to be viewed with some caution. Further deterioration on certain levels was likely, but nothing could be done about this. On the other hand, the future perhaps offered a larger role for the Heritage Foundation to assist the authorities.

The Chairperson stressed the importance of reconciliation. She thought that if the ‘Voortrekker’ name were retained, it would hinder reconciliation, whereas the name ‘Freedom Park’ implied reconciliation. She asked how the Voortrekker Monument addressed affirmative action. She asked about the Monument’s narrators, and if they were Afrikaners only.

Maj-Gen. Opperman replied that the name ‘Voortrekker’ was itself important, and that, if it were to be changed, it would be unproductive and hurt too many people. Moreover, changing the name would set a precedent for changing the names of countless streets countrywide. He fully agreed that the name was a very sensitive issue. It was in this light that it was intended in future that the Heritage Foundation would be the ‘mother company.’

Mr Bhengu commended Maj-Gen. Opperman on his comprehensive, detailed, well-prepared, and honest presentation. He had a comment on the issue of legitimacy. He said that the historical wounds were still fresh. He prayed that one day Blood River would become water for the Zulu nation.  He believed that the Voortrekker Monument needed to pursue a more vigorous search to achieve a higher level of legitimacy.

Mr Lekgetho asked what channels the Monument used to communicate with school visitors, and how many visitors came from black rural townships. He asked about the composition of the staff structure. He asked how the Monument’s future could be ensured. Further, he asked why Maj-Gen. Opperman had come alone to the Committee.

Maj-Gen. Opperman said that there were more women on the staff than men, and that his Deputy was a woman. He wanted to employ a marketing manager, but there was not sufficient funding to do so. Guides from the Venda community were employed to narrate in their mother tongue, but three had recently resigned on account of low salaries. Two had recently replaced, but there were serious concerns about how to retain staff in view of the low salaries available.

Maj-Gen. Opperman added that the Monument actively marketed to the previously disadvantaged schools and communities. At present the Monument received more learners from the traditionally black schools than from the traditionally white schools. Many white teachers thought that it was politically incorrect to visit the Monument. He admitted that about seven years ago he had to deny admission to a party of black learners because many had arrived under the influence of liquor, and had intimidated their teachers. This was a one-off incident, as usually black learners came always well dressed, well behaved and eager to learn, and were extremely welcome, along with all other South Africans, as visitors.  

Mr Biyela said that it was widely thought that white people, especially Afrikaners, did not participate in Freedom Day celebrations. He said further that there was a complaint in the Afrikaner community that Afrikaners felt themselves marginalised from Freedom Day celebrations. He asked what should be done to address these issues and ensure that Freedom Day would be celebrated by all South Africans.

Ms Van der Walt said that the voortrekkers were part of her own heritage too. She urged that the Committee should hold a workshop to examine the history of all people. She felt that it was awkward for an Afrikaner to promote the idea of preserving the Afrikaner heritage against negative perceptions of Afrikaners.  She herself felt unwelcome on Robben Island, where Afrikaners were denigrated in exhibits. She felt proud of who she was but was not proud of the exclusions and murders that had been committed in the past. She commended Maj.-Gen. Opperman for coming before the Committee. She noted that she had protested the SABC’s use of the name Tshwane.

Mr Bhengu supported Ms Van der Walt’s proposal for a Committee workshop.

Ms N Mbombo (ANC) thanked Maj-Gen. Opperman for his honesty, endorsing the comments of Mr Lekgetho. She urged the Monument to make provision for visitors of limited mobility.

Ms P
Tshwete (ANC) apologised for her late arrival occasioned by her attendance at another meeting. She too supported the proposal for a Committee workshop. She asked why some entities had to wait for others before submitting reports.

Maj-Gen. Opperman noted that the Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation had received an unqualified formal audit report. The Blood River / Ncombe site was subsidised by the Voortrekker Monument, which met capital and operating expenses. The site was normally open seven days a week. He noted that there had apparently been a problem with a visit, and he was not sure why this had happened. He noted that there was a joint marketing committee and pamphlets had been produced.

In relation to the comment on Blood River, Maj-Gen Opperman explained that following the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture’s call for a dialogue on the legacy of the Great Trek and the Battle of Blood River / Ncome, the Heritage Foundation had taken up the challenge and arranged a symposium that took place from 13-14 October 2006. It was unfortunate that Dr Willie Serote (Freedom Park Trust), Mr Phakamani Buthelezi (South African Heritage Resources Agency) and Professor L Mathenjwa (KZN-HRA) had withdrawn within three days before the start of the symposium; the latter two had declined even to make their papers available for presentation on their behalf. Their presence and participation would have contributed further to the legitimacy and relevance of the symposium. Exchange of thoughts was important as differences could be noted and debated, and where necessary the mutual latching onto myths and fallacies could be pointed out. Maj-Gen Opperman had been constrained to appoint a white academic to present the Zulu viewpoint. Apart from the matter of possible divine intervention, it was also possible to explain the outcome of the Battle of Blood River / Ncome by reference to the norms of war, which included the choice of battlefield, superiority of weaponry, firepower and mobility, level of psychological preparation, attitude, discipline, patience of the opposing forces, and the effect of the climate. Blood River could be seen as a great tactical battle. There were different views even within the Afrikaner community on the Battle. It was necessary to engage in difficult subjects. Although, not being a Member of the Committee, he could not officially support the workshop, he commented that this seemed an excellent proposal, which, if implemented, would enable many difficult and emotional subjects to be placed on the table and discussed.

Maj-Gen Opperman said that Ms Van der Walt had attended a seminar that he had arranged last year, during which the military veterans and the names on the wall of remembrance at Freedom Park were discussed. If there was anything that had divided and estranged members of the Afrikaner community, it was the way in which the issue of the names of the former South African Defence Force Members had been handled. There was ill-feeling to the extent that many Afrikaners who had previously supported reconciliation and nation-building were now alienated and wanted nothing to do with Freedom Park. They believed that people, who had died in the service of their country, were now being portrayed as murderers. Many Afrikaners felt unwelcome at Freedom Park and refused to visit. Maj-Gen Opperman and Dr Serote had tried to organise reciprocal visits by groups from their respective constituencies. However, only fourteen Afrikaners could be persuaded to visit Freedom Park. This was partially attributable to insufficiency of information from Freedom Park. Potential visitors did not want to depend on last minute radio announcements. There had been few participants in the reciprocal visit to the Voortrekker Monument. Maj-Gen Opperman had invited Dr Serote to speak at the Monument to Afrikaner cultural groups, but had received no response to his own request to speak at Freedom Park. Communication could not be only one sided.

In regard to the bridge at the Blood River / Ncombe site, Maj-Gen Opperman was pessimistic about the likely availability of funds which were already heavily committed to services. Initially R7 million had been given, but R15 million had been spent, and it was unrealistic to expect more money in the near future.

Mr Biyela asked that Maj-Gen Opperman should list the museums that had been closed and write a short report on why they had been closed.

Maj-Gen Opperman said that the museums that were being closed were mostly at provincial and local government level. There were many changing priorities. He gave as an example the Winburg museum, which was administered by the Free State provincial government, and had fallen into such a state of disrepair that recovery was virtually impossible. It had been decided to convert it from a Voortrekker museum to a pioneer museum to commemorate all the pioneers of that area. Maj-Gen Opperman’s criticism was that it was wrong to destroy an institution in order to change it into something else. If it was desired to change the theme of an institution, the change should be implemented gradually after a planning process. Moreover, he was concerned at the high risk of loss of valuable collections of documents, such as the private collection of former President F W de Klerk, which had been donated to museums that were now closed, and were now languishing in storerooms unattended. He agreed to submit a report in response to Mr Biyela’s request

Maj Gen Opperman noted that many Afrikaners did not participate in national holidays because these tended to be celebrated in a political manner, as indeed had national holidays in the past. The mistakes of the past were being repeated. It was important to celebrate national holidays a-politically. Different people had different ways of celebrating. Afrikaner people tended to appear very serious and formal at public events, and did not participate readily when required to stand, rather than sit, with a large number of people, and listen to heavily amplified music. It was difficult to coerce people to participate in an event at which they did not feel comfortable.

The Chairperson agreed that there were unfortunate trends of history repeating itself. The people of South Africa had to speak with one voice and build the country together. It was important to forgive, but not to forget.

The meeting was adjourned.



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