The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on the Department’s programme for implementing its vision to develop a strategy for strengthening social cohesion in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. The Department saw this also as an opportunity also to strengthen social cohesion on a continuing and long term basis.
Members responded with appreciation and commendation. They saw the Department as leading 2010 activities. Members asked the Department for a specific budget for its plans. There was concern that all departments and bodies involved were over-committed with the agenda for 2010. Other concerns included the need to provide opportunities to participate, benefit for women in rural areas, persons with disabilities, and artists such as buskers. The issues of moral decay, crime, xenophobia, and moral regeneration were also raised. Members and delegates discussed the relationship of ubuntu to social cohesion, and the importance of promoting knowledge and awareness of the national languages.
Implementation Framework on Vision 2010 & Programme of Action on Vision 2010 & Social Cohesion: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) Briefing
The Chairperson reported that the Committee had in the previous week visited the Green Point stadium currently under reconstruction and was impressed with the progress.
The Chairperson, while welcoming the delegation, reminded the Department that she had asked it in the Committee’s 16 October 2007 meeting to improve the representation of women in its delegations since, she believed, women were the custodians of arts and culture.
Mr Themba Wakashe, Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, wished Members a prosperous 2008 and thanked the Committee for its support and guidance, which had contributed greatly to the quality of the Department’s work. The Department was actively taking steps to improve the representation of women in its senior staff profile. The vacant post of Deputy Director-General for Heritage (arising through Mr Wakashe’s promotion) would be advertised shortly; a second deputy director-general post (vacated by the death of the incumbent) would also be advertised shortly and these vacancies would present opportunities to enhance the Department’s senior staff gender profile. Mr Wakashe promised the Committee that he was paying special attention to the Committee’s concern.
Mr Wakashe hoped that Members had been able to study the presentations, which the Department had circulated previously.
The Chairperson interjected that the Committee had received the presentations only that morning. She asked the Department, in future, to send documents well in advance.
Mr Wakashe began with the presentation on the vision for 2010 and the programme of action on social cohesion. Early in 2007 the Department had begun work on the framework for social cohesion and programmes of action and projects. Government had identified an apex of priorities, emphasising the issue of social cohesion. Within the social sector cluster the Department of Arts and Culture had been given the task of leadership on the issues of social cohesion, and was tasked specifically to develop a strategic framework and programmes.
The whole of the social cluster was involved, which included the Departments of Arts and Culture (DAC), the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development, and the South African Police Services. In 2006 the Government had released a document called A Nation in the Making, which was a discussion document on macro social trends in South Africa, and which firmly placed the issues of social cohesion, nation-building and national identity on the agenda of Government. The Cabinet Lekgotla also mandated the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD), particularly the social sector cluster, to develop a strategy to strengthen social cohesion in South Africa in preparation for hosting the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The aim was to link social cohesion to something tangible.
The proposed implementation framework took into account the critical dialectical relationship between the improvement of social and material circumstances of South Africans and the strengthening of social solidarity and social cohesion among them. The strategy proposed a set of Government interventions and partnerships with communities and other stakeholders. The Department sought to address five objectives. The first of these was to promote social cohesion, nation-building and national identity among South Africans. The second was to address the bigger challenge of eliminating poverty, unemployment, and other symptoms of under-development in South Africa. The third was to eliminate racialism, xenophobia and other aspects of intolerance. The fourth was to develop a sustainable economic environment for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the fifth to achieve a legacy of lasting value beyond 2010.
Social fragmentation manifested itself as domestic violence, crime, teenage pregnancy, decline in social values, and declining levels of social solidarity. It was a challenge that had to be addressed before social cohesion, economic and political gains could be achieved. The high level of crime between people within the same neighbourhood had to be addressed at the social level, not just left to the South African Police Service. It was essential to mobilise communities and restore social values and solidarity.
There was also a general concern that symptoms of social fragmentation predominated in impoverished communities. Therefore social structures in such communities urgently needed to be upgraded. It was not sufficient to provide houses: it was also vital to build communities. Prerequisites for this included infrastructure such as community art centres and community (public) libraries, that would give people a sense of belonging and a sense of ownership. The Department was further endeavouring to intensify existing Government programmes for poverty alleviation and eradication, social unity and cohesion.
The basic premise was that the programmes and projects would address firstly the non-tangible aspects of social mobilisation, issues such as patriotism, tolerance and intolerance, mutual respect, national identity and human solidarity. This had a further aim of protecting democracy. Secondly, the Department sought to promote social dialogue, focusing on an examination of the quality of individual and collective responsibilities at community levels. A further challenge lay in encouraging people to accept individual responsibility and move away from the attitude of entitlement.
The National Heritage Council had held dialogues and conversations about ubuntu towards achieving social transformation. Ubuntu was an African philosophy of humanism, with a core concept ‘I am because of other people’. It had many parallels with other philosophies of humanism, which was not alien to social-historical development on the continent of Africa. The relationship between humanism and ubuntu was a basis for achieving social cohesion.
The national dialogue should include how to achieve the development of social values, building of social institutions, such as religious institutions, the family, the schools, the community policing forums, and using them to realise and reinforce positive values. There should be discussion on what norms should be promoted in order to ensure a caring and a sharing society, how to ease the tensions between the competitive market-based economy and a compassionate, caring and equitable society, and what kind of society was desirable and how it could be achieved.
The roll-out plan and plan of action also sought, within a defined timetable, to facilitate dialogue about women on socio-economic issues and gender equality, to conduct radio and television talk shows on the significance of South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup both to itself and Africa. There was to be branding and marketing of the 2010 FIFA World Cup using cultural festivals (for example: Cape Town International Jazz Festival and Zindala Zombili Heritage Festivals, and rural festivals). The Legends tournament would promote national identity and social cohesion. There would be campaigns on National Symbols (including sport symbols and emblems), the National Pledge as well as the Bill of Responsibilities as part of promoting the South African national identity; and education of communities through various activities including information materials, radio and television talk shows on racism, non-racism/anti-racism, affirmative action , employment equity and xenophobia. Further projects included facilitating the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Youth Indaba and conducting an exhibition of flags, anthems and coat of arms of all countries in the African Union to celebrate African Identify and African Renaissance concepts. Leadership and training programmes in communities would be facilitated, in areas that included sports and recreation, arts, culture, heritage and tourism development. The plans included showcasing rural girls games, especially in communities around host cities and towns; intensifying women’s arts and culture festivities, facilitating a conference of SADC Women in Sports, and conducting national and provincial workshops and indabas.
The Department would also conduct awareness campaigns to educate the nation on the history and significance of national days in promoting national identity and social cohesion, facilitiate festivals and displays of gymnastics and dances, and aim to recruit and train volunteers for placement in communities around host cities and communities. National communication partnerships on the World Cup would be maintained to promote a sustainable, conducive socio-economic environment for hosting the World Cup. The Department would create opportunities for people with disabilities. Other role players included the Office of Gender Equality in the Presidency, the Departments of Labour, Social Development, Sports and Recreation and organs of civil society, and corporate South Africa.
The social re-integration programme on social crime prevention sought to conduct a walk for peace and against abuse of women, intensify education and awareness campaigns on crime prevention, facilitate victim support, intensify sector policing, with emphasis on taking policing closer to the communities. A booklet containing the basics of the South African official languages would be produced. There would be greater training for interpreting services in the official and foreign languages; translation and edits of official documents related to 2010 and development of terminology on concepts such as national reconciliation, national unity, social cohesion, and football terminology for the official African languages.
Legacy programmes sought to produce books, videos, and DVDs on the social history of host cities, and of the various sports codes. Existing sports, arts and culture infrastructure would be expanded and new infrastructure developed, including fan parks and public viewing areas. There would also be development of stronger supporters clubs, a museum of modern African art, and a research programme to monitor and evaluate social cohesion continuously.
African legacy programmes included the launch of the African Legacy Programme at the UN Summit, the Mali manuscripts, the African World Heritage Fund and Cinema in Africa, various campaigns and collaboration with the African Renaissance Institute and other stakeholders in the fight against xenophobia and racism.
The Chairperson and all other Members thanked Mr Wakashe for an excellent and exciting presentation. She expressed her concern about the moral decay of the youth, which was of especial significance to the social sector cluster. She spoke of the disturbing occurrences of taverns located next to schools.
Mr Wakashe agreed that it was important not to overlook the younger age groups. Most interventions came too late in the life of people, and it was essential to target children.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) complimented the Director-General and his colleagues on the New Year, and praised the Department’s roll-out plan; but he asked for specific information about the adequacy of the plan’s budget. He suggested, with reference to eliminating poverty, unemployment and domestic violence – which included rape, and with reference to the upcoming 2010 event, that one matter that would contribute to its success would be to ‘legalise sex workers’. Many rapes occurred because people did not have a suitable outlet. If sex workers were legalised, people would not engage in such activities covertly. Legalisation would bring benefits to tax revenues and ‘improve the lives of those [who were not] working’.
Mr M Bhengu (IFP) commended the Department on a well-researched presentation and commented that social cohesion was none other than ubuntu.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) asked how the Department proposed to ensure that women in rural areas could sell their craft products to 2010 visitors. It was important to ensure that the rural areas benefited from the economic, social and cultural stimuli of the 2010 event. There should also be training for taxi drivers on how to give visitors information about cultural events.
Mr S Opperman (DA) agreed with Mr Lekgetho’s request for budget details, but differed on the role of sexual workers. It would be unacceptable to make the most sacred human relationship a commodity and base the nation’s tax revenues partially on the sale of sexual activity. He asked if South Africa was too lenient towards crime. He urged the Department to continue its social cohesion programme beyond 2010, and asked if the churches were included in the Department’s thinking.
Mr M Sonto (ANC) expressed some fears that all departments were, perhaps, over-committed, and had too much to do with regard to 2010.
Mr Sonto was further concerned that the concept of ubuntu had been reduced to a mere concept or catchword. English-speaking people would talk naturally about social cohesion, which knew no race or gender barriers. It was necessary to study ubuntu more deeply. He agreed with Mr Bhengu.
Mr Sonto was further worried that the very fear of xenophobia and anxiety to prevent it was becoming punitive to local people and prejudicial to their values. There was a danger that defending local values might be confused with xenophobia. Attempts to accommodate the sensibilities of tourists also posed the risk of prejudicing the values of South African citizens.
Mr Sonto said that Mr Wakashe had not mentioned civic structures. This was unfortunate since the ANC had come to power on a firm social bedrock of civic formations. It was essential for the national dialogue to be based on and involve the civic structures.
Mr C Gololo (ANC) asked how the mindset of South African society could be transformed. He also agreed that the Department should regard its programme as ongoing and continue with it beyond 2010. It was indeed important to embrace persons with disabilities, and the aged, in activities for 2010. With regard to Mr Lekgetho’s suggestion, the Committee could not take it upon itself to debate this subject as it would have to be opened to public discussion.
Mr H Maluleka (ANC) said that it was vital to realise the great opportunities that the 2010 World Cup gave to the nation, and to ponder the responsibilities of government and society to ensure the event’s success. With reference to the discussion on xenophobia and South African values, he mentioned that there were some establishments at the Cape Town Waterfront where he did not feel welcome. He stressed that it was important that 2010 visitors would want to return for future visits.
Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) raised the question of the capacity of concerned departments and bodies to meet their 2010 commitments. She was also concerned to ensure the full economic participation and benefit of all sections of the community. Too often only the rich benefited from such programmes.
Ms N Mbombo (ANC) complained that most people did not bother to learn the languages of their fellow citizens. It was remarkable that whilst, for example, adults could learn French, German or Portuguese at a number of institutions, tuition in the African languages was not offered there.
Ms Mbombo said that it was important to present local culture in its fullest sense to the 2010 visitors, and not confine culture merely to dance performances. She emphasised the importance of community art centres.
Mr Wakashe addressed Members’ questions in general terms. He noted that resources would never be adequate, but nonetheless it was essential to remain committed to the programme. The Department was examining its projects for creative industries to help the rural poor. At a national level there had been a preoccupation with the building or reconstruction of stadia. FIFA did not own South Africa’s cultural spaces, and here the country could reap the benefits of 2010 without the constraints of the organising body.
It was of critical importance to emphasise ubuntu, but it was alarming that African children, especially those of the middle-class, were growing up with non-African values. There was a socio-cultural disjuncture between the upper middle and middle class and that expressed itself in a neglect of African languages and a distancing from African values. It was necessary to engage with a broader African world view and link that with the issue of language.
It was also disturbing to observe that, ten years after democracy, white children typically did not speak any of the African languages. This had been understandable before 1994, but was unacceptable today. It was evident that parents were not encouraging their children to learn African languages. Children born in South Africa were growing up unable to engage fully in the national discourse: they would experience moments of exclusion and feel alienated. This related strongly to social cohesion, since it was through language that one understood values.
Mr Wakashe appreciated Ms Tshwete’s suggestion that taxi drivers should be informed about cultural events and be equipped to direct visitors to theatres and other cultural venues. This was important, because 2010 visitors would spend most of their time not in the stadia but in South Africa’s communities. He also noted that multiculturism was important, but social and economic equity would lead to all cultures feeling equal.
Mr Wakashe felt, on the basis of presentations by colleagues, that departments and bodies concerned were taking action to fight crime. The Department was indeed looking beyond 2010. However, at present social institutions were not really ready; a plan was needed first. The Department would be addressing these issues from the beginning of the new financial year, after the State of the Nation address.
Mr Wakashe said that Mr Sonto had given an interesting perspective on xenophobia, and referred to the debate in Europe, including in the more traditionally tolerant United Kingdom, of assimilation by Muslims of European values. South Africans should ask themselves how they interacted as members of society.
With regard to the politics of multiculturalism, Mr Wakashe referred to the programmes and projects to address non-material aspects such as patriotism and human solidarity. He said that ‘The self was always political’. However, at an intellectual level South Africans were not engaging sufficiently with those issues, allowing themselves to be defined by others. It would assist if the Department and the Portfolio Committee could together debate issues of national identity, since there had, perhaps, until now been a focus on funding rather than other issues. Artists generally tended to regard the Department primarily as a source of funding, and the broader picture of culture tended to be neglected.
The business sector’s slogan of ‘proudly South African’ should be applied to service industries as well as to production industries, and good service should be offered both to South Africans and to the world.
The issue of capacity was an ongoing concern. The Department would take steps to ensure that the poor did benefit from the 2010 programmes.
Mr Wakashe requested the opportunity for the Department to make a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on community arts centres, which were important in relation to community structures. Insufficient funding led to neglect of community arts centres, and hence vandalism.
DAC 2010 Arts and Culture Programme for the African Continent: presentation
Mr Sydney Selepe, Deputy Director-General, Arts and Culture Promotion and Development, DAC, recapitulated on the first presentation, but highlighted the five broad areas of the Department’s 2010 Arts and Culture Programme- visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, heritage resources, promotion and legacy. He summarised the phases of implementation, and described a programme of activities to interact with the host cities and provinces. In the planning stage was a Museum of Contemporary African Arts to be built at Soweto.
Mr Selepe said that artists from various parts of the African continent must be incorporated in the programme, which would offer opportunities to such individuals as curators, translators, and those with artistic and technical skills, for training and transfer of skills. The Department was keen to promote performing artists such as buskers (street musicians) who might otherwise not be involved in the formal programme. The Department would support them financially, but they would also be able to collect donations from members of the public. Airports should introduce arriving visitors to African culture and heritage.
Legacy programmes included publications, training and development, and cultural exchanges with other African countries and with members of the diaspora.
Mr Selepe said that the Minister sought to establish a national choir and a national dance team to feature in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup.
The Chairperson asked Mr Selepe about the Department’s relation with the Department of Environment and Tourism.
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted clarification of the structure of the Department’s concept. He asked if the Department’s capacity was sufficient, and if it planned to increase the number of its staff. He asked about discussions with representatives from Malawi, other SADC countries, and from the African Union. He said that the importance of the African languages should be recognised.
Mr Gololo asked how the dancing companies would be selected. With regard to plans for a major museum in Soweto, he asked if such a similar museum could be sited in Mpumalanga, and indeed in every province. He expressed concern about the time frame.
Mr Selepe replied that it was impossible to replicate a museum of contemporary African arts in every province. It had been necessary to be selective. Soweto had been chosen for strategic reasons.
Mr Selepe said that although the Northern Cape was not hosting any games, it would be included in the programme of events in the hope that visitors would travel there.
The Chairperson expressed the Committee’s happiness with the presentation and the overall progress with 2010 activities in which the Department was playing a leading role. The Committee fully supported the Department.
The meeting was adjourned.
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