A call for national dialogue

Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Gayton Mackenzie

Thami Akambongo Manzana: Calling for a National Dialogue on the Cultural & Creative Industries in South Africa.

The cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in South Africa have long been the heartbeat of our nation’s identity, offering rich and diverse narratives that capture the essence of our society. However, these industries face numerous challenges that often go unaddressed. It is time for a comprehensive and robust dialogue on the future of these sectors. This dialogue should be spearheaded by none other than the Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Gayton Mackenzie.

A New Beginning Under Minister Gayton Mackenzie

Gayton Mackenzie’s recent tenure as Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture has sparked interest and discussion across various platforms. His approach, whether liked or disliked, has undeniably stirred a renewed focus on the cultural and creative sectors. This momentum provides the perfect backdrop for initiating a National Dialogue on the Cultural & Creative Industries in South Africa.

Why a National Dialogue?

A National Dialogue is imperative for several reasons. First and foremost, it brings together diverse voices from all corners of the industry—artists, performers, writers, filmmakers, designers, and more. These practitioners are the lifeblood of the CCIs and possess firsthand knowledge of the issues and challenges they face. Engaging them in a structured dialogue ensures that their insights and experiences shape the policies and strategies that will drive the industry forward.

The Role of the Minister

Minister Gayton Mackenzie has a unique opportunity to lead this initiative. His engagement with the cultural and creative industries can set a precedent for how government interacts with these sectors. By calling for a National Dialogue, he can demonstrate a commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and proactive problem-solving.

Robust Discussions on Critical Issues

The National Dialogue should be robust and unflinching in its examination of the issues affecting the CCIs. Topics for discussion could include:

1. Funding and Financial Support: What sustainable funding models and financial support mechanisms can be developed for artists and creative enterprises?

2. Infrastructure and Resources: What are the current gaps in infrastructure and resources, and how can we improve access to technology that enhances creative output?

3. Education and Training: How can we enhance education and training programs to equip emerging artists with the skills needed to thrive in a competitive industry?

4. Intellectual Property and Rights: What measures are necessary to protect the intellectual property rights of creators and ensure fair compensation for their work?

5. Market Access and Distribution: How can we expand market access and distribution channels both locally and internationally?

6. Cultural Policy and Regulation: What changes are needed in cultural policies and regulations to support and enable all practitioners effectively?

7. Regulation of the Sector: How should the cultural and creative industries be regulated to ensure fairness and promote growth?

8. Review of Existing Councils: Are the acts governing the National Arts Council (NAC), National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), and National Heritage Council (NHC) still relevant, and how can they be updated to reflect current realities?

9. Amalgamation of NAC and NFVF: Should the National Arts Council and the National Film & Video Foundation be amalgamated, and what would be the benefits and challenges of such a merger?

10. Creation of a Mega-Council for Performing Arts Institutions: Is the creation of a Mega-Council for Performing Arts Institutions feasible, and how would it impact the sector?

Beyond the DSAC Management

It is crucial to note that the insights needed to truly understand the state of the cultural and creative industries cannot come solely from DSAC management and officials. The real pulse of these industries lies with the practitioners themselves. Their day-to-day experiences, struggles, and triumphs provide the most accurate reflection of the sector’s health and needs.

Moving Forward

The call for a National Dialogue on the Cultural & Creative Industries is not just a call for discussion—it is a call for action. Minister Gayton Mackenzie, with his current influence and position, can catalyse this important conversation. By doing so, he can pave the way for meaningful changes that will benefit the entire nation.

In conclusion, whether we like or dislike Gayton Mackenzie, the most important thing is the future of our cultural and creative industries. It is time for us to come together, engage in open and honest dialogue, and work towards a brighter future for South Africa’s cultural and creative sectors.

Thami Akambongo Manzana
akaMbongo Foundation Pty Ltd

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Thami aka Mbongo writes on his personal capacity.