Hon Speaker, hon President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, hon members, the ANC remains guided by the Freedom Charter that states:
The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened! The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life. All the cultural treasures of mankind shall be open to all, by free exchange of books, ideas and contact with other lands.
In the words of this extract, we will ensure that, indeed, we open our arts and culture doors to all.
It is this knowledge and understanding that only freedom of expression and freedom of creativity can serve to deepen democracy, and that only free and fruitful exchange can build a more unified and dynamic society that underpins the ANC's policy on culture. Yesterday President Zuma gave us a call to build a more cohesive society.
The President reminded us that our vision remains that "of an inclusive society, a South Africa that belongs to all, a nation united in its diversity, a people working together for the greater good of all".
Let us embrace this rallying cry by promoting unity in diversity and developing a shared value system, based on the spirit of community solidarity and a caring society. In the spirit of ubuntu we shall work in this regard with the moral regeneration movement to reach all our communities, including the religious and faith-based communities.
Our task must be to strengthen the gains of our national democratic revolution and to continue to work towards a truly nonracial, nonsexist and united South Africa.
In this regard, arts, culture and heritage will play a significant role in social regeneration, unity and reconciliation. As we transform our country, we need to ensure that we build cohesive, sustainable and caring communities. The Department of Arts and Culture is tasked to lead and co- ordinate efforts to promote national identity and social cohesion.
We pledge our full support to the campaign to celebrate and commemorate Mandela Day on the 18th July every year. We call upon all South Africans to spend 67 minutes of their time on this day doing good deeds in the spirit of ubuntu, serving their communities and assisting others in order to strengthen our values and our resolve to work together for a better life for all our people.
In the next quarter, Mr President, we shall consolidate our work in building a more cohesive society and in nurturing our people's culture. We shall pool our efforts by encouraging national dialogue and community mobilisation towards a more caring society.
In the second half of this year we shall hold the first national conference on social cohesion that will be hosted in KwaZulu-Natal. The theme of the conference is "Building a Caring Society".
Ziza kujula ke iingxoxo apho. Sizakube sixoxa khona ngokwakha isizwe. Le nkomfa iza kudibanisa iinkokeli zethu zemveli, iinkokheli zethu zakwalizwi, iinkokheli zethu zoluntu, ulutsha, amakhosikazi nabantu abakhubazekileyo. Sisonke sizakube sixoxa sinenjongo enye yokuba siwakha njani na uMzantsi Afrika, sisakha njani na isizwe sethu saseMzantsi Afrika. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Debates will be intense. We shall be debating about building the nation. This conference will bring together our traditional leaders, our religious leaders, our community leaders, the youth, women and the disabled people. We shall all be debating with one aim, which is how do we build South Africa and how do we build our South African nation.]
We shall continue to strive to make the arts accessible to all. We shall focus our attention on what needs to be done, including amending legislation as well as modifying our policies in order to create a more enabling environment for the flourishing of the arts.
We shall look at ways of strengthening the work of our councils and institutions so that they can better serve the needs of our people.
Through our national legacy projects, the department is broadening access to heritage resources in the country. The Sarah Baartman project, in particular, seeks also to provide opportunities for South African architects to design a memorial and interpretation centre in the Eastern Cape. [Applause.]
We shall also promote the people's arts within our communities and especially our rural areas, including community arts centres, local theatre groups - a favourite of Minister Nkwinti - music groups, local cultural forms of expression and creative work in all our national languages, including traditional dance and music, our poetry and literature.
We shall improve arts, culture and heritage education and training programmes by placing 400 artists in schools and community arts centres. We shall also assist with programmes at community arts centres.
We shall increase access to arts, culture and heritage by providing at least one programme for women, children and people with disabilities in all 27 arts, culture and heritage institutions in the country.
Through investing in the culture programme we will ensure that our investment results in thriving communities which ultimately can stand on their own and grow.
Culture must be rooted in the realities of our people, in their daily lives, struggles and victories. Creative industries are critical for our country and for nation-building. They create critical opportunities to uplift and empower our people, especially the youth and rural women.
We shall work together with cultural workers and our communities to ensure that we use the opportunities to do more and to create a better life for our people, including the youth, women and people with disabilities.
We shall focus on creating sustainable jobs through supporting initiatives in training and skills development, and by expanding opportunities for cultural workers. We are also eager to expand our contribution to economic growth.
The arts, culture and heritage sector prides itself on its potential to create sustainable jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, even in areas where people have minimum or no formal education at all. We shall work towards the nurturing of sustainable jobs in the sector and be part of the national effort to fight poverty and unemployment.
During the Expanded Public Works Programme, Phase 1, the Department of Arts and Culture, through its Investing in Culture programme, created 7 374 job opportunities. Of these 51% were for women, 44% for the youth and 5% for people with disabilities.
In the next five years, we shall redouble our efforts to match the expansion requirements for the Expanded Public Works Programme, Phase 2, in promoting sustainable job opportunities and ensuring skills transfer for unemployed arts, culture and heritage practitioners.
We shall place particular emphasis on encouraging women in rural communities to produce high-quality products for both domestic and export markets. This year, the department established the annual national craft awards, where no fewer than 60 crafters across the nine provinces received awards and recognition for their contribution to craft development.
Through the national craft awards the Department of Arts and Culture hopes that South African crafters will become global players and will develop high-quality products for the export market.
Our private sector partners have also been instrumental in providing infrastructure and other resources to assist this sector. We shall continue to strengthen our relationship and build stronger public-private partnerships in the future.
In our efforts to bring arts and literature to our people in all our communities, the department is engaged in the recapitalisation of community libraries. This focuses on extending library services to previously disadvantaged areas, including our rural areas.
The department is also encouraging the development of reading material in all our official languages. The national library is republishing classics in African literature. Thus far, 24 classics have been republished, including the work of AC Jordaan, and the national library is also embarking on the second phase of this project. This will include, among others, the Sesotho classic, Chaka by Thomas Mofolo, and Insila ka Tshaka by John Langalibalele Dube.
We are also awarding language bursaries, especially in African languages, to help build capacity in the language sector.
We shall finalise the name changes. We shall continue to work together on the matter of name changes of our towns and cities. It is indeed our collective responsibility and interest to ensure that we do not only liberate ourselves but that we also liberate our cities and towns and other geographical areas. Angeke sithi siwuqedile umsebenzi wethu wenkululeko kusekhona izindawo ezibizwa abo Kafferfontein. [We cannot say we have finished our work of fighting for freedom if there are still places called Kaffirfontein.]
We continue to encourage the development of local content. We call on the SABC to do more to support local content and local artists. Investing in culture is also investing in artists and creating an enabling environment for our artists to lead a healthy, long, productive and prosperous life.
The other challenge that faces us in this sector is the fact that the entertainment industry is dominated by only a few multinationals, who dominate the profit, yet cultural workers who are the real creators of music, films, drama and poetry in our country are exploited throughout their lives, and they end up being given a pauper's funeral.
We shall work with the unions and artists towards ensuring that social security becomes a reality for the arts and culture community. We must work together to fight for transformation and equity in the creative and entertainment industry. We must work together towards transforming the entire industry, where black artists also must have ownership rights throughout the value chain of this important industry, and where black artists, not multinationals and business managers, decide what to produce and decide what they want to create.
It is important, therefore, that our interventions assist in broad-based black economic empowerment in the arts and heritage sector. We can also do this by developing co-operative production facilities which can provide employment opportunities for more of our artists.
We must also guard against the fake tapes, CDs and DVDs that we buy on the street. If we do that, we are actually stealing from the livelihood and the bread of our artists and cultural workers.
In line with our vision of developing sustainable cultural industries, the department bought the Downtown Music Hub in November 2008 from Gallo/Avusa. We believe that the Downtown Music Hub will become a unique and innovative music production entity that will empower our stakeholders in the music industry, especially previously disadvantaged artists. The Hub will be in partnership and involves corporate and community-based entities. We believe that, working together with our artists and the private sector, we can do more in creating a better life for the arts.
The department is also working together with the Department of Sport and Recreation on the 2010 World Cup. As South Africa prepares to welcome guests for the Confederations Cup and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, let us recognise that the cultural component is also very important in sharing our arts and culture with our visitors, the fans and the players that will be coming to our country and also ensuring that we leave a legacy for the future.
The department has initiated a project that will seek to document the history and culture of host cities in South Africa and in the SADC region as a whole.
Internationally, we shall continue to play an important role in ensuring that we strengthen South-South co-operation. We shall continue to be part of projects that foster relations between Africa and its Diaspora. We have seen the great success of the first Nepad cultural projects in January this year, with the launching of the new library building for the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu in Mali. The South Africa-Mali project should also pave the way for further Nepad cultural projects that seek to preserve ancient heritage for the purpose of new and future generations. [Time expired.] [Applause.]