Mashatile: Arts and culture are SA's new gold

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

South Africa in past years has been driven primarily by mineral resources ... ," he said at The New Age televised business briefing in Sandton on Tuesday.

"I said to people: 'In the 21st century our economy will be driven by cultural and creative industries'.

"This is our new gold, the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE)," he said on SABC2.

The basis for this economic strategy was laid at the national summit on the role of arts, culture and heritage in the economy, held in 2011.

The MGE strategy sought to channel large-scale investment into the sector to bolster nation-building and economic empowerment.

'No tourism without arts'
Mashatile said the arts sector had the potential to boost job creation and stimulate small business.

It was also crucial to the tourism industry, as there could be "no tourism without arts, culture and heritage".

He said Cabinet's decision to include the department in the economic cluster indicated the importance of the sector's contribution.

Funds had been allocated for the establishment of a cultural observatory to collect and analyse data relevant to the sector.

Task teams were also appointed to look into the South African music industry and local television content in the digital age. Their preliminary reports were expected by the end of the month.

"We don't want to go beyond 20 years of our democracy and complain that our artists die poor, musicians die as paupers.

Freedom Friday
"Their [the task teams'] work is to find solutions, when people create productions… they must be paid for that."

The local content task team would look into the important issue of locally produced television content.

"We need to produce our own content [and] tell the stories of our country."

Mashatile also encouraged South Africans to participate in the Freedom Friday initiative, to begin on September 20.

The public was encouraged to wear clothing or accessories that highlighted national pride on Fridays.
This included clothing in the colours of the national flag, traditional wear or national sports teams' jerseys.

"[It is] a call to all South Africans to take pride in their South Africanness and, together, to celebrate the road they have travelled since 1994." – Sapa

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