Arts & culture

Developing arts, culture & heritage infrastructure
Geographical names
Cultural development
Resistance & Liberation Heritage Route
Community art centres & other cutural organisations
Arts & culture organisations
Living Legends Legacy Programme
Moral Regeneration Movement
Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy
Digitisation of archival records
Contributing to social cohesion & nation-building
Cultural tourism
SA Music Awards
SA Traditional Music Achievement Awards
Visual arts
Rock art
South African Literary Awards
National Library of South Africa
South African Library for the Blind
Blind SA










Cover page of Arts and culture chapter in Pocket guide to South AfricaThe mandate of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is to:

  • preserve, develop, protect and promote the cultural, heritage and linguistic diversity and legacy of South Africa;
  • lead nation building and social cohesion through societal transformation;
  • enhance archives and records management structures and systems and promote access to information; and
  • provide leadership to the art and culture sector so as to accelerate its transformation.

The National Development Plan (NDP) emphasises the need for transforming society and uniting the country. These long-term objectives guide the department’s Strategic Plan and activities over the medium term, as do Outcome 1 (quality basic education), Outcome 4 (decent employment through inclusive growth) and Outcome 14 (a diverse, socially cohesive society with a common national identity) of government’s 2014-2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework.

Over the medium term, the department would focus on developing arts, culture and heritage infrastructure; positioning the cultural and creative industries as drivers of economic growth and job creation; and contributing to social cohesion and nation building.

Developing arts, culture and heritage infrastructure

The DAC’s infrastructure development initiatives aim to establish and maintain world-class heritage sites to boost tourism and create job opportunities.

Construction of the liberation heritage route, which will consist of a series of sites that express the key aspects of the South African liberation experience, will be prioritised over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. The department intends to focus on developing three key sites per province. Construction on these sites, including a Liberation Movements Museum, is set to begin in 2018/19 at a projected cost of R136 million over the medium term. An additional R100 000 over the medium term has been budgeted for the National Heroes’ Acre, with more than 500 bronze statues of those who helped create a free South Africa.

An advisory panel has been appointed to oversee a national architectural competition for the design of the acre by 2019/20. Spending on infrastructure in these programmes is to redress South Africa’s historical imbalances in the heritage sector and contribute to social transformation.

The Community Library Services Grant was established to support the building of community and dual purpose libraries to provide access to knowledge and information to improve the socioeconomic status of communities; and contribute to improved school performance, especially in areas where schools do not have libraries.

Through this grant, the department plans to build 87 new libraries and upgrade 135 existing libraries, at an estimated cost of R4,5 billion over the medium term. The department will also prioritise the provision of 63 service points for dual purpose libraries, which serve both the general community and its surrounding schools, to enhance learning outcomes at schools.

A venture capital fund aims to support the development of small, medium and micro enterprises, and sustainable arts and culture projects administered by previously disadvantaged South Africans. Over the next three years, R17,5 million is earmarked in the National Language Services subprogramme to target 920 students for the language bursary programme.

These initiatives aim to provide skills training, create jobs, and empower artists to participate in the economy.

Geographical names

The DAC continues to decolonise the heritage landscape by changing and standardising names of geographical features.

Over the 2016/17 financial year, three Government Gazettes were issued which culminated in the approval of 105 name changes. Amongst them were 20 in the Eastern Cape, 34 in Gauteng, three in the Western Cape, 44 in KwaZulu-Natal and four in the North West.

Amongst the geographical names of historical significance that were standardised was the name change of Triomph to Sophiatown in Gauteng. Sophiatown is seen as a symbol of social cohesion and proved to the apartheid government that people of divergent background could live together in harmony as one community.

The other place of historical and cultural significant that was standardised was the name change of Schotchekloof to Bo-Kaap, in the Western Cape.

Cultural Development

Tax incentive

By mid-2017, Section 18A of the Income Tax Act only provided for donors to social sectors such as education and welfare but not donors to arts, culture, and sport and recreation activities, to receive a tax deduction. .

Recognising the lack of progress with regard to the department’s first submission to the Davis Tax Commission, the DAC collaborated with the Department of Sport and Recreation, and made a detailed representation in March 2017 regarding amendments to Section 18A of the Income Tax Act, amongst others, to Davis Tax Commission structures.

Art Bank

The Art Bank project of the DAC was launched in May 2017 through an exhibition featuring 100 works from young contemporary artists across the country. This collection will form a bank of artworks, which will develop over time with new work purchased every year, thereby creating direct opportunities for artists. The work will be made available for rental to government departments and other stakeholders. The exhibition will formally open the first Art Bank in Africa. Over the MTEF which started in 2016/17, R21 million has been allocated to the Art Bank.

Debut Fund

The Debut Fund programme creates training, mentoring and funding opportunities for young artists from all disciplines making their debut. This programme has been launched through a media campaign calling for applications. In partnership with Business and Arts South Africa, it is anticipated that this fund will support young artists from all over the country to take their first steps as professional artists.

This new initiative was announced in 2016 and a call for applications was made.

Young Patriots Programme

The aim of the Young Patriots Programme, which was launched in 2016, is to teach youth to love their people, culture and country to honour humanity, liberty and peace.

Youth will be encouraged to respect the laws, institutions, and the rights and liberties that make us South Africans first, part of the African continent and important segment of humanity across the globe that is working for social progress.

The programme enrolled over 260 young people by end of January 2017 and was expected to recruit 300 young people in 2017.

Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR)

By mid-2017, the DAC was developing the infrastructure of heritage sites in all nine provinces to ensure that the RLHR tells the South African story, thereby increasing the potential of attracting economic development and tourism.

Some of the sites of significance per province include the house of Charlotte Maxeke in Gauteng, the site of the Lowveld Massacre in Mpumalanga, Turfloop Campus in Limpopo, the Women Prison in Kroonstad, in the Free State, Mama Getrude Mpekwa Site in the North West, the Sarah Baartman Heritage Site in the Eastern Cape, sites associated with the Mandela Route in the Western Cape, the site of the Mayibuye Uprising in the Northern Cape and the Matiwane Museum in KwaZulu-Natal.

The following were declared World Heritage sites in 2016/17: Sites at the University of Fort Hare; Liliesleaf Farm; sites of the Sharpeville Massacre; prison sites and the Constitutional Court at Constitution Hill; the Castle of Good Hope; the Samora Machel Memorial and Crash Site; Freedom Park; the Grave of Chris Hani, the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance.

In 2017, the DAC was expected to develop the Raymond Mhlaba statue and construct Phase 1 of the OR Tambo project. It will also proceed with the development of the John Langalibalele Dube, Winnie Mandela and Isandlwana projects.

The Department through its agency South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) has rehabilitated and refurbished the graves of Struggle stalwarts, including former presidents of the liberation movements like Messrs Mapikela, Moroka, Sobukwe, Biko and others.

As part of recognising Heroes and Heroines, memorials were constructed for the following: Victims of the Mine Disasters in the Crown Mine Area; Rehabilitation of the grave of Magriet Jantjies; Grave of Manche Masemola, Limpopo; Memorial of Madzunya; Statue of Kgosi Mampuru; Memorial of Mme Matlala.

In preparation for the Mandela Centenary in 2018, SAHRA was planning to declare the Mandela Collection a national heritage.


South Africa is a multilingual country. The country’s Constitution guarantees equal status to 11 official languages to cater for its diverse people and their cultures. These are: English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

Other languages used in South Africa include the Khoi, Nama and San languages, Sign Language, Arabic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, French, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu. South Africa has various structures and institutions that support the preservation and development of languages.

Community art centres and other cultural organisations

There are more than 160 community art centres in operation, varying from community-initiated to government-managed centres.

The centres are located in different places such as craft centres, community halls and theatres.

The DAC endorses and supports programmes in needy centres that are community-initiated or non-governmental. In 2015, 100 community arts programmes were implemented.

Arts and culture organisations

The following organisations play an active role in preserving and promoting South Africa’s arts and culture:

Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP)

  • The LLLP has continued to hold master classes where there is transmission of Skills by Legends across the generation divides. The Living Legends Legacy Trust, which was launched in 2015, ensures the continued implementation of the programme and creation of partnerships within the private sector.
  • The development of a sustainable mechanism to support our legendary artists, and to ensure that their talents and skills are fully utilised is critical for the development of the sector. Through the LLLP, a fund was to be created to grow the resources for the benefit of the current and future legends. To celebrate South African arts and cultural legacies, the Market Theatre staged the Divas of Kofifi musical from 11 to 13 August 2016 to pay tribute to Thandi Klaasen, Abigail Khubeka and Dorothy Masuka.

Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM)

The objective of the MRM is to contribute to the development of a caring society by reviving the spirit of Ubuntu/Botho (humanity). It also seeks to realise the values and ideals enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.

Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) Strategy

The MGE Strategy aims to provide skills development and sustainable job creation opportunities for South African artists.

The strategy continues to support flagship and other programmes throughout the country. These included the:

  • We Can Arts Festival in KwaZulu-Natal that recognises excellence in the artistic endeavours of people with disabilities and celebrates their talent in the field of arts
  • the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival in July 2016, which is one of the largest Marimba and Steelpan festival of its kind in Africa.
  • 5th Annual Women Theatre Festival,which celebrates women and their works.
  • The Rapid Lion – The South African International Film Festival , which has helped to put the South African film industry in general on the map in Russia, China, Brazil, India and most of the African continent.

The DAC also supported a number of public art projects in the 2016/17 financial year, including the Promotion of South African Coat of Arms and Schools Emblem Project, which used public art mosaic to promote South African National symbols among schoolgoing children; the “We the Transposed” Infecting the City festival that took art into public places in Cape Town, and the KwaNdebele Cultural Imbizo, a community festival where local people in KwaMhlanga were given an opportunity to showcase their diverse Ndebele culture, including culinary arts, traditional craft and music.

Digitisation of the archival records

Through the cooperation project between the French company L’Institut National De L’Audiovisuel (INA) and the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa involving the digitisation of dictabelts and the training of South African Archivists on the digitisation and restoration of dictabelts, the resultant Rivonia Trial Recordings were expected to be made available on 27 October 2017 to celebrate UNESCO’s World Day for Audio-Visual Heritage.

Contributing to social cohesion and nation-building

Over the medium term, the department was planning to host 99 community conversations to provide a platform for individuals and organisations to discuss their differences and form a common understanding of what it means to be South African.

In addition, the department was expected to host a National Social Cohesion Summit in 2017/18 to gauge progress made in achieving the resolutions of the 2012 summit. The summit would provide an opportunity for government, business, labour, youth formations, media, and civil society organisations to sign a compact on working together to address social issues such as racism and xenophobia.

The Young Patriots programme has been established to prioritise youth development. The programme aims to encourage young people to participate actively in building the capacity of the arts, culture and heritage sectors, and to gain meaningful skills through service delivery improvement initiatives, moral regeneration initiatives and youth social cohesion advocates programmes. The department will also support moral regeneration initiatives that aim to promote social cohesion and nation-building.


Arts and cultural festivals abound in South Africa and many of them have become annual events, growing in popularity and attendance numbers.

  • Aardklop, held annually in Potchefstroom, North West, is inherently Afrikaans, but universal in character. The festival provides a platform for the creativity and talent of local artists.
  • Arts Alive International Festival in Newtown in Johannesburg provides the best in homegrown and overseas entertainment in September.
  • The Cape Town International Jazz Festival features international and African artists. It also features photographic and art exhibitions.
  • The Dance Umbrella is a festival of contemporary choreography and dance, presenting work ranging from community-based dance troupes to international companies. The Dance Umbrella has established itself as the main “stepping stone” for many South African choreographers who now work internationally. They include Vincent Mantsoe, Robyn Orlin, Boyzie Cekwana and Gregory Maqoma.
  • The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, known as the KKNK, a vibrant festival for the performing arts, is held annually in Oudtshoorn and presentations include drama, cabaret, and contemporary and classical music.
  • The Mangaung African Cultural Festival in Bloemfontein is gaining status as one of the biggest cultural tourism events in southern Africa. This 10-day festival showcases the cream of African and international talent.
  • The National Arts Festival, held annually in July in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, is one of the largest and most diverse arts gatherings in Africa.
  • Oppikoppi Bushveld Bash near Northam in North West offer live performances by rock, alternative and blues bands, both local and from abroad.
  • The Splashy Fen Music Festival near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal offers a variety of mainstream and alternative rock and pop music.
  • Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is Johannesburg’s biggest annual jazz festival, with local and international artists performing at different venues across the city.
  • Up the Creek is a popular music festival on the banks of the Breede River near Swellendam in the Western Cape.
  • The White Mountain Folk Festival in the Central Drakensberg mountain range offers great music in an awesome setting for three days in September. It features acoustic performances by some of South Africa’s top folk musicians.

Other festivals that attract visitors at both national and international level are:

The inaugural Mandela International Film Festival took place in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, in December 2015. It strives to encourage a bold new world of film-making and is committed to improving both the craft and business of film.

The Nelson Mandela Bay area offers not only an exceptional venue for the film industry but is also part of a massive investment promotion strategy that includes a range of initiatives from infrastructure to manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.

Cultural tourism

Cultural festivals, African-cuisine projects, cultural villages, heritage routes and storytelling are areas that benefit from South Africa’s booming tourism industry. Many cultural villages have been established throughout South Africa to reflect the different cultures and traditions of the country’s people.


The theatre scene is buzzing in South Africa, with over 100 active spaces across the country offering everything from indigenous drama, music, dance, cabaret and satire to West End and Broadway hits, classical opera and ballet.

Venues range from the monolithic homes of the former state-supported performing arts councils to purpose-built theatres, a converted fruit market, country barns, casinos and urban holes-in-the-wall.


Music is one of the key cultural industries identified in the Cultural Industrial Growth Strategy Report and government has committed itself to harnessing its potential. In addition to its cultural value, music plays an important economic role in the country, generating significant copyright revenue. In this industry, the department has solid foundations on which to build.

These include the annual South African Music Week, the in-school education programme run in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education, and the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition.

The Taking South African Music to the World Programme is aimed at improving export opportunities for South African music.Fcu

The DAC funds a number of musical ensembles directly and indirectly, through the NAC. According to the Seventh South African Edition of PwC’s South African Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2016 – 2020, published in September 2016, Digital music streaming revenue was forecast to rise from R74 million in 2015 to R437 million in 2020.

South Africa is the 25th largest market for recorded music, with the industry employing more than 20 000 people.

Local music accounts for a third of all the music bought by South Africans.

Township jazz and blues, especially the kwêla music of the 40s and 50s, are being redefined; the country also has a rich choral tradition, and pop and rock musicians have made their mark internationally.

Even techno-rave and house music have found their own variations in local culture. Kwaito and hip-hop are very popular, combining elements of rap, reggae and other musical styles into a distinctly South African style. Kwaai Jazz is also gaining momentum.

South African Music Awards (SAMAs)

The 22nd annual SAMAs ceremony was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban in June 2016. The winners were:

  • Album of the Year: Black Coffee, Pieces of Me.
  • Duo or Group of the Year: Big Nuz, For the Fans.
  • Female Artist of the Year: Zonke, Work of Heart.
  • Male Artist of the Year: Nathi, Buyelekhaya.
  • Newcomer of the Year: Nathi, Buyelekhaya.
  • Best Rock Album: Desmond & the Tutus, Enjoy Yourself.
  • Best Pop Album: Tresor, VII.
  • Best Pop Album (Afrikaans): Karlien van Jaarsveld, My Hartjie.
  • Best Adult Contemporary Album: Judith Sephuma, One Word.
  • Best Contemporary Music Album (Afrikaans): Elvis Blue, Êrens in die Middel van Nêrens.
  • Best African Adult Album: Dizu Plaatjies & Friends, Ubuntu – The Common String.
  • Best Alternative Album: Petite Noir, La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful.
  • Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album: Nathi, Buyelekhaya.
  • Best Rap Album: Emtee, Avery.
  • Best Kwaito Album: Big Nuz, For the Fans.
  • Best Dance Album: Black Coffee, Pieces of Me.
  • Best Traditional Faith Music Album: TYGC Family, The Journey Begins.
  • Best Contemporary Faith Music Album: Ntokozo Mbambo, Spirit and Life.
  • Best Maskandi Album: Imithente, Ichakijana.
  • Best Jazz Album: Marcus Wyatt & the ZAR, One Night in the Sun Jazz Orchestra.
  • Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album: Wouter Kellerman, Love Language.
  • Best Live Audiovisual Recording: Jimmy Dludlu, Live at Emperors Palace.
  • Best Collaboration: Dbn Nyts ft. Zinhle Ngidi, Shumaya & Trademark.
  • Best Music Video of the Year: Jack Parow & FreshlyGround, Army of One.
  • Best Produced Album of the Year: Zahara, Country Girl.
  • Best Engineered Album of the Year: Black Coffee, Pieces of Me.
  • Best Remix of the Year: DJ Sliqe, Do Like I Do Remix.
  • International Achievement Award: Black Coffee.
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards: Nana Coyote (posthumous), Bhekumuzi Luthuli (posthumous) and Roger Lucey.
  • Best Selling Album: Nathi, Buyelekhaya.
  • Best Selling DVD: Joyous Celebration, Volume 19: Back to the Cross.
  • Best Selling Overall Music Download: Sfiso Ncwane, Bayede Baba.
  • Best Selling Music Download (Ring-back Tone): Sfiso Ncwane, Bayede Baba.
  • Best Selling Full-track Music Download: Nathi, Nomvula.
  • Highest Radio Airplay of the Year: DBN Nyts, Shumaya.
  • Highest Radio Airplay Composers’ Award: Samkele
  • Maphumulo, Kabelo Masekane, Cebo Ngcobo, Wanda Shabalala and Lwazi Yokwana for Shumaya by Dbn Nyts.
  • Best Selling Digital Download Composers’ Award: Sfiso Ncwane, Bayede Baba.
  • Record of the year: Roll Up by Emtee.

South African Traditional Music Achievement (SATMA) Awards

The SATMA Awards are aimed at promoting, preserving, uplifting, developing, honouring and awarding traditional musicians across racial and ethnic backgrounds. The 11th SATMA Awards ceremony was helid in October in 2016 in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal and the winners were:

  • Best Song of the Year: Jessica Mbangeni, Qula Kwedini.
  • Best Vernacular Hip Hop Song: Fifi Cooper, 20FIFI.
  • Best Female Artist: Osukasambe.
  • Best Afro Soul: Amanda Mankayi.
  • Best African Jazz Song: Zodwa Mabena, Aline Volo!.
  • Best Reggae Album: Chomza, Stop Xenophobia.
  • Best Praise Singer: Rorisang “Jah-Rose” Motseki.
  • Best Poet: Gugu Nzimande.
  • Best Indigenous Comedian: Nomthandazo Ruth (Nonto) Rubushe.
  • Best Newcomer Artist: Uglama Kamaskandi.
  • Best Traditional Dance Group: IIngwekazi Cultural Group.
  • Best Video: Primrose Maota.
  • Best Sepedi Album: Primrose Maota, Tsoga Lerato.
  • Best Ndebele Album: Buhlebethu.
  • Best Venda Album: Mazwale Vol 2.
  • Best Xitsonga Album: Tirhani Mabasa, Ben 10.
  • Best Ndebele Album: Buhlebethu, Babelethi Ningasihloboki.
  • Best Isixhosa Album: Nolundi Bomela, Eloyo Yiyole.
  • Best Setswana Album: The Best of Kopano ke Matla, Ngwa ya Rona.
  • Best Indian Album: Mahenthri Pillay, Shraddnjali.
  • Best Sesotho Album: Haeso Ha Ramatla No.2, Tora Haeowela Motho.
  • Best Boeremusiek: Vinkel en Koljander, Boeremusiek en Vriendskap.
  • Best Maskandi Album: Vumile Mngoma, Izumba Lentombi.


The National Arts Council is responsible for funding the KwaZulu-Natal, Cape and Gauteng orchestras as well as the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra.


Dancing is part of the African way of life and has become a prime means of artistic expression, with dance companies expanding and exploring new territory.

Contemporary work ranges from normal preconceptions of movement and performance art or performance theatre to the completely unconventional.

Added to this is the African experience, which includes traditional dance inspired by wedding ceremonies, battles, rituals and the trifles of everyday life.

An informal but highly versatile performance venue in Johannesburg, The Dance Factory, provides a permanent platform for a variety of dance and movement groups. The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Theatre is another popular dance venue.

Visual arts

South Africa has a rich variety of visual art, with influences ranging from pre-historic, ancient and indigenous art to western, Asian and contemporary art.

Art galleries, ranging from small privately owned commercial galleries, to major regional galleries such as the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Durban Art Gallery in KwaZulu-Natal, the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Gauteng and King George VI Gallery in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, showcase collections of indigenous, historical and contemporary works.

Rock art

There are many traces of ancient cultures that existed in southern Africa in the distant past. Experts estimate that there are 250 000 rock-art sites south of the Zambezi.

The San people left a priceless and unique collection of Stone Age paintings and engravings in the region, which also represents the largest collection of its kind in the world.


With its scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, diversity of cultures and rich historical heritage, South Africa is a photographer’s paradise.

Many South African photographers have been acclaimed for their work, which features in coffee-table books, documentaries, local and overseas exhibitions, magazines and newspapers.


South Africa has a rich architectural heritage, reflecting contributions from all the cultural groups in the country. Through the centuries, a unique trend has developed in South Africa’s architectural style, which has been referred to as an innovative marriage of traditions.

This is evident in the variety of architectural structures found all over the country, ranging from humble dwellings, historical homesteads and public buildings, to modern, commercial buildings reflecting state-of-the-art technology and designs that match the best in the world.


South African beadwork, once the insignia of tribal royalty alone, has found a huge range of applications, from the creation of coverings for everything from bottles to matchboxes.

With workplaces ranging from the pavements and markets of the big cities to dwellings in deep rural areas, South Africans produce a remarkable range of arts and crafts, including various forms of traditional artwork and innovative new products.

These range from jewellery, tableware, home decorations, embroidery and key rings to skilfully crafted wooden engravings and wirework sculptures. In addition to the standard materials such as beads, grass, leather, fabric and clay, many other mediums are also used, including telephone wire, plastic bags, empty cans, bottle tops and even food tin labels, to create brightly coloured paper mâché bowls.

Shops, markets and collectors dealing in African crafts provide much-needed employment and income to communities.


South Africa has a rich and diverse literary history, and the local literature sector has become globally competitive and the country’s writers continue to command respect throughout the world.

The annual National Book Week, a partnership between the South African Book Development Council and the

DAC, was celebrated from 5 to 11 September 2016. The commemoration coincides with International Literacy Day on 8 September.

Reading statistics report that only 14% of the South African population are active book readers, and a mere 5% of parents read to their children. National Book Week is an important initiative in encouraging the nation to value reading as a fun and pleasurable activity and to showcase how reading can easily be incorporated into one’s daily lifestyle.

South African Literary Awards (SALA)

The 11th SALA were held in Pretoria on 7 October 2016. The winners were:

  • Posthumous Literary Award: TT Cloete and Chris van Wyk, for their body of work.
  • Poetry Award: Gilbert Gibson (Vry) and Arja Salafranca (Beyond Touch).
  • Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award: Sandra Hill, Unsettled and Other Stories.
  • Literary Translators Award: Leon de Kock & Karin Schimke, Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of Andre Brink & Ingrid Jonker.
  • Lifetime Achievement Literary Award: Ingrid Winterbach and Johan Lenake, for their body of work.
  • K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award: Willem Anker (Buys) and Panashe Chigumadzi (Sweet Medicine).
  • First-time Published Author Award: Francois Smith, (Kamphoer) and Jacob Dlamini (Askari).
  • Chairperson’s Award: Gcina Mhlophe, for body of work.


The South African Government recognises the significant role played by the film sector in nation-building, promoting social cohesion, reconciliation and supporting economic growth and job creation.

Government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production industry. The Foreign Film and Television Production incentive aims to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa, and the South African Film and Television Production and Co-production incentive aims to assist local film producers in producing local content.

The South African Emerging Black Filmmakers incentive, a sub-programme of the South African Film and Television Production and Co-production Incentive, which aims to assist local emerging black filmmakers to nurture and grow them to take up big productions and thus contribute towards employment creation.

The three largest film distributors in South Africa are Ster-Kinekor, United International Pictures and Nu-Metro. Ster-Kinekor has a specialised art circuit, called Cinema Nouveau, with theatres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

Film festivals include the:

  • Durban International Film Festival
  • North West Film Festival
  • Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West
  • Three Continents Film Festival (specialising in African, South American and Asian films)
  • Soweto Film Festival
  • Encounters Documentary Festival, which alternates between Cape Town and Johannesburg.


South Africa can justifiably be called the “museum country of Africa”, with the earliest of its museums dating back to the first half of the 19th century.

There are more than 300 museums in South Africa. They range from museums of geology, history, the biological sciences and the arts, to mining, agriculture, forestry and many other disciplines.

Visitors can find exhibits, both conventional and eccentric, on every conceivable topic – from beer to beadwork, from fashion to food.

By mid-2017, the Nelson Mandela Museum in Soweto, Johannesburg had signed a partnership with Google to launch the Google Expedition that would provide a virtual tour of the museum.

National Library of South Africa (NLSA)

The NLSA is a custodian and provider of the nation’s key knowledge resources. Its collections contain a wealth of information sources, including rare manuscripts, books, periodicals, government publications, foreign official publications, maps, technical reports, and special interest material, including Africana and newspapers.

South African Library for the Blind (SALB)

The SALB is a statutory organisation located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. Its purpose is to provide, free of charge as far as is reasonably possible, a national LIS to serve blind and print-handicapped readers in South Africa.

It is partly state-funded and depends for the remainder of its financial needs on funds from the private sector and the general public.

The SALB also produces documents in special media such as Braille, audio and tactile formats. It develops standards for the production of such documents and researches production methods and technology in the appropriate fields.

It also acquires, manufactures and disseminates the technology people with visual disabilities use to read. The SALB has a membership of about 5 427 people, an audio and Braille collection of more than 110 950 books, and an annual circulation of 141 950 books in Braille or audio format.

To make library services more accessible, the SALB partners with 115 public libraries providing accessible reading material and assistive devices.

Blind SA

Blind SA, located in Johannesburg, provides services for blind and partially sighted individuals to uplift and empower them by publishing books, magazines and other documents in Braille.

Source: Pocket Guide to South Africa

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