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'Golden economy' gets its rightful place

Written by Mbulelo Baloyi

Know your Minister: Arts and Culture

As part of the bigger plan to create jobs in line with the New Growth Path, the Department of Arts and Culture is involved in programmes that will see the arts, culture and heritage sectors actively involved in growing the economy.

In South Africa, the craft sector alone contributes more than R1 billion to the country's gross domestic product and provides 38 000 jobs through an estimated 7 000 small enterprises The arts, culture and heritage industries have earned the name “Mzansi’s golden economy,” said Arts and Culture Minister, Paul Mashatile during a two-day Arts, Culture and Heritage Summit held in Johannesburg recently.

Organised by the Department of Arts and Culture, various key players exchanged ideas on how to grow the arts, culture and heritage industries to take their rightful places in job creation and economic growth.

Major contributors

“The creative sector in South Africa has the potential to be a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade as is the case in many advanced economies,” the Minister said.

Some of the proposals agreed on at the conference include promoting the appreciation of the arts among young people, establishing a National Skills Academy for the Arts and Culture and an art bank for displaying artworks in government buildings. The Minister said R6,5 million had been set aside as part of their commitment to youth programmes in the arts.

The National Skills Academy for the Arts will pool all the activities of the various arts training organisations in the country. It is planned as a centre of excellence responsible for developing the best talent in South Africa to compete successfully on the world stage.

The Department is also working with the Department of Basic Education to include visual arts and performing arts in the curriculum.