Know your Minister: Arts and Culture
July is celebrated as Moral Regeneration Month. This is the birthday month of Nelson Mandela who inspired the formation of the Moral Regeneration Movement. It is also the month in which the Charter of Positive Values was adopted. The Department of Arts and Culture is responsible for matters relating to moral regeneration.
During his time as President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was concerned about the decline in the country’s moral values. In June 1997, he held a meeting with key South African religious and spiritual leaders to discuss the role of religion in nation building and social transformation. It included the need for such institutions to work with government in rebuilding the moral fabric of the nation. This was the foundation of the Moral Regeneration Movement.
The Moral Regeneration Movement aims to correct distrust among South Africans after more than 40 years of discrimination. Years of apartheid oppression led to negative feelings and people losing faith in the justice system. This has contributed to the increase in crime.
Among the challenges identified, is corruption in the private as well as public sector. This has led to positions of responsibility often being treated as opportunities for self-enrichment. Other challenges identified include violent behaviour in inter-personal relationships and within families, in particular the high incidence of abuse of women and children.
Regeneration means to revitalise, rebuild or give new life to something. The Moral Regeneration Movement aims to revitalize the moral values of the South African people.
A Moral Regeneration Summit was held in 1998 and after the 1999 election, the moral regeneration initiative began to enjoy more formal attention from the Presidency. In dividing up political and administrative tasks between the President and Deputy President in the early days of their term, the then Deputy President Jacob Zuma was allocated responsibility as champion of the Moral Regeneration Movement.
Arts and culture
In recent years, the Moral Regeneration Movement has formed partnerships with the National Heritage Council, the National House of Traditional Leadership and the Department of Arts and Culture.
This resulted in the Department of Arts and Culture becoming the Department responsible for matters relating to the Moral Regeneration Movement and the Minister being its champion.