South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Sports, Arts and Culture

Role players
Major events
Major sporting activities
Services rendered
Cultural Development
Arts and culture organisations



The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) is mandated to provide leadership to the sport, arts and culture sector to accelerate its transformation; oversee the development and management of sport, arts and culture in South Africa; legislate on sports participation, sports infrastructure and safety; improve South Africa’s international ranking in selected sports through a partnership with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC); preserve, develop, protect and promote the cultural, heritage, linguistic diversity and legacy of South Africa; lead nation-building and social cohesion through social transformation; enhance archives and records management structures and systems; and promote access to information.

Over the medium term, the department planned to focus on creating job opportunities in the sport, and cultural and creative industries sectors; promoting a diverse and socially cohesive society with a common national identity; enabling a transformed, capable and professional sport, arts and culture sector; providing integrated and accessible sports, arts and culture infrastructure and information; and supporting youth development.

In addition to encouraging the development of young people through sport and enable them to showcase their skills at events such as the national school sport championship, the department planned to build new libraries, upgrade community libraries and produce library materials over the medium term.

Role players

Boxing South Africa (BSA)

The BSA administers professional boxing, recognises amateur boxing, creates synergy between professional and amateur boxing, and promotes interaction between associations of boxers, managers, promoters and trainers.

Netball South Africa (NSA)

The NSA is the peak governing body for the sport of netball in South Africa, which is responsible for overseeing the practice of the sport across the country.

Additionally, the NSA is the managing body for the National Netball Team – the Spar Proteas. The NSA will host the Netball World Cup in Cape Town in 2023.

This is a historic first for the sport in Africa.

Tennis South Africa (TSA)

The TSA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in South Africa created to standardise rules and regulations and to promote and develop the growth of tennis in South Africa. The not-for-profit organisation invests its proceeds to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grass-roots to the professional levels, and to raise funds for and on behalf of tennis players and the game of tennis within South Africa. The TSA is affiliated to both the International

Tennis Federation and Confederation of African Tennis.


GolfRSA is the unified body of the South African Golf Association and Women’s Golf South Africa, administering, operating and providing service to amateur golf in South Africa.

GolfRSA’s role is to look after the interests of more than 460 golf clubs and 139 000 men, women, boy and girl club members, produce champion golfers and provide the opportunity for everyone in South Africa to experience the game of golf.

South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS)

The SAIDS promotes participation in sport without the use of prohibited performance enhancing substances and methods, and educates sportspeople on fair play and the harmful effects of the use of prohibited performance enhancing substances and methods.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee

SASCOC is the national multi-coded sporting body responsible for the preparation, presentation and performance of teams to all multi-coded events, namely the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Games, All Africa Games, Olympic Youth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games and Zone VI Games.

It also looks after the various national federations affiliated to it, together with the various provincial sports councils. SASCOC is responsible for the awarding for National Protea Colours to athletes/officials who have met the criteria to represent South Africa in different sporting codes and arenas. South Africa is also represented on the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and on the Confederation of Southern African National Olympic Committees.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

The WADA was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of antidoping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code – the document harmonising anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.

Athletics South Africa (ASA)

ASA, which reports to the SASCOC, is the national governing body for the sport of athletics in South Africa that is recognised by World Athletics and is also a member of Confederation of African Athletics.

Major events

Big Walk

The Big Walk is staged on the first Sunday of October to encourage participation in physical activity. The annual Big Walk takes place in October. It is aligned with The Association for International Sport for All World Walking Day, which encourages and lobbies countries to walk by creating advocacy and awareness during October.

Annual National Recreation Day

Although not a public holiday, the day provides an opportunity to all South Africans to be actively involved by participating in recreation activities that will improve their health and wellbeing.

National Indigenous Games

The National Indigenous Games festival forms part of South Africa’s annual heritage celebrations and brings people from culturally diverse backgrounds together. The popularity of the festival in recent years has contributed to an increase in the number of active participants in sport and recreation events.

The games played included khokho, intonga, ncuva, morabaraba, diketo, drie stokkies, kgati, dibeke and juskei, all of which are indigenous to South Africa.

Major sporting activities

Sporting codes

Major sporting codes in South Africa include: Athletics; Biking; Mountain Biking; Cycling; Boxing; Cricket; Canoeing; Rowing; Golf; Hockey; Ice Hockey; Motorsport; Flying; Netball; Rugby; Running (including South Africa’s two worldrenowned ultra-marathons – the Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal and the Two Oceans Marathon in the Western Cape); Soccer; Surfing; Sailing; Swimming; Tennis and Chess.

Services rendered by the DSAC

Some of the services rendered by the department include the:

  • National Archives, which makes archival material available to the public. Although actual access to archival documentation is free of charge, the public is charged for the reproduction of material for further use, either on film or paper. Publications are also sold, and the public is charged for the transfer of data by magnetic means.
  • Video and Sound Archives which collects, preserves and provides access to audiovisual records created both by government and private bodies or individuals.
  • Bureau for Heraldry, which registers the heraldic representations, names, special names and uniforms of individuals, associations and institutions. It also renders advice on heraldic and related matters and provides financial assistance to institutions, boards, committees or other public bodies or persons in order to promote the functional objectives of the Bureau of Heraldry.
  • National Language Service, which provides a translating and editing service to all government departments. It also provides policy development support relating to official language development, particularly related to the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012.

Promoting and preserving heritage infrastructure

The department’s infrastructure development initiatives aim to achieve redress for South Africa’s historical imbalances and contribute to social transformation by establishing and maintaining world-class heritage sites to boost tourism and create job opportunities, particularly in historically disadvantaged areas.

Community library services

In addition to building and upgrading libraries, the department, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the DSAC also plans to build 70 dual library service points to support school curricula and enhance learning outcomes.

Cultural and creative industries

The Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) seeks to create economic and job opportunities in the arts, culture and heritage sector by supporting programmes designed to develop audiences, stimulate demand, increase market access, and develop skills.

New names of towns

The names of towns that have been changed in the post-democratic dispensation include the following:

  • Limpopo: Bela-Bela (Warmbaths); Lephalale (Ellisras); Modimolle (Nylstroom); Mokopane (Potgietersrus); Musina (Messina); Polokwane (Pietersburg); Senwabarana (Bochum); Mogwadi (Dendron); Morebeng (Soekmekaar); Modjadjiskloof (Duiwelskloof) and Mookgophong (Naboomspruit).
  •  Mpumalanga: eMalahleni (Witbank); eManzana (Badplaas); KwaDukuza (Stanger); Mashishing (Lydenburg); Makhazeni (Belfast); Emgwenya (Waterval Boven); eNtokozweni (Machadodorp); Mbombela; (Nelspruit); eMkhondo (Piet Retief) and Thuli Fakude (Leandra).
  • Free State: Mamafubedu (Petrus Steyn), Hlohlolwane (Clocolan) and Intabazwe (Harrismith).
  • Eastern Cape: Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth); James Calata (Jamestown); Maletswai (Aliwal North); Cacadu (Lady Frere); Komani (Queenstown); Khowa (Elliot); KwaBhaca (Mount Frere); MaXesibeni (Mount Ayliff); Dikeni (Alice) and Makhanda (Grahamstown).
  • KwaZulu-Natal: eMthonjaneni (Melmoth) and KwaDukuza (Stanger).
  • Gauteng: Sophiatown (Triomf).
  • Western Cape: Bo-Kaap (Schotchekloof).

New names of airports

  • King Phalo Airport (East London Airport).
  • Mthatha Airport (KD Matanzima Airport).
  • Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport (Port Elizabeth International Airport).

Cultural Development

National Art Bank of South Africa (NABSA)

The NABSA is a national programme of the then DAC, as part of the MGE Strategy implementation. The vision of the NABSA is to promote, foster and stimulate a vibrant market for the collection of South African contemporary visual art.

It is tasked with purchasing artworks from South African artists, particularly that of emerging artists in order to lease and sell the artworks to South African Government departments, private companies and private individuals.

Young Patriots Programme

The Young Patriots Programme was launched in 2016 to encourage young people to participate actively in building the capacity of the arts, culture and heritage sector, and gain meaningful skills through service delivery improvement and moral regeneration initiatives, and the youth social cohesion advocates programme.

National heritage

As part of efforts in recognising the work of South Africa’s Living Human Treasures, the department has produced two books on women artists who have made a unique contribution to the living heritage. The first two books are about Noria Mabasa, a world-renowned (ceramic and wood) sculptor from Tshino Village in the Vuwani area in Limpopo and Esther Mahlangu, world-famous for her largescale paintings referencing her Ndebele heritage.


South Africa is a multilingual country. The Constitution of the Republic of South of 1996 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, Shona, Telegu and Urdu. South Africa has various structures and institutions that support the preservation and development of languages.

Arts and culture organisations

Some of the organisations which are playing an active role in upholding the mandate of the DSAC include the following:

  • The National Heritage Council engages heritage stakeholders in public and private institutions, including the various organs of civil society, mobilises debates and builds awareness about heritage.
  • The South African Heritage Resources Agency is the national administrative management body for the protection of South Africa’s cultural heritage.
  • The National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) facilitates opportunities for people to practice and appreciate the arts.
  • The National Film and Video Foundation develops and promotes the film and video industry in South Africa.
  • The Pan South African Language Board is a constitutional institution that promotes an awareness of multilingualism as a national resource and supports previously marginalised languages.
  • The South African Geographical Names Council is an advisory body that facilitates name changes by consulting with communities to advise the Minister of Arts and Culture.
  • Arts institutions include the State Theatre in Pretoria, Playhouse Company in Durban, Artscape in Cape Town, Market Theatre in Johannesburg, Performing Arts Centre of the Free State in Bloemfontein and the Windybrow Theatre in Johannesburg.
  • Heritage institutions include Die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en monument, Paarl; Ditsong Museums of South Africa, Pretoria; Iziko Museums, Cape Town; KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg; National Museum, Bloemfontein; National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown; Robben Island Museum, Cape Town; Voortrekker Museum, Pietermaritzburg; War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein; William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley; Luthuli Museum, Stanger; Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha; Freedom Park and the Engelenburg House Art Collection.


Some of the different arts and cultural festivals in South Africa include the following:

  • The Aardklop National Arts Festival is held annually in October in Potchefstroom, North West. Although it is inherently Afrikaans, it is universal in character.
  • 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 Grahamstown National Arts Festival at the end of July is the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent and consists of drama, dance, theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, lectures, a craft fair and workshops, as well as a children’s arts festival.
  • The Kirkwood Wildlife Festival attracts visitors to see the game animal auction, agricultural 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.
  • The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, a vibrant festival for the performing arts, is held annually in Oudtshoorn and presentations include drama, cabaret, and contemporary and classical music.
  • The Moretele Park Tribute Concert is an annual festival which is held at Moretele Park in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
  • The Cape Town Minstrel Festival sees the minstrels taking over the streets of Cape Town (Mother City) annually on 2 January for a parade that dates back to the mid-19th century. Minstrels in troupes parade throughout the city centre in their colourful garb.
  • The Mangaung African Cultural Festival in Bloemfontein is one of the biggest cultural tourism events in southern Africa. This 10-day festival in October 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.
  • 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 held in February 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.
  • 503 Music Festival takes place twice a year in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal. It is all about celebrating and thanking icons who were born and raised in the area, also bringing other national icons to the township. Other festivals that attract both national and international visitors are: Innibos in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Taung Cultural Calabash in North West; the Awesome Africa Music Festival in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; the Windybrow Theatre Festival in Johannesburg; Hilton Arts Festival in KwaZulu-Natal, and the One City Many Cultures in Cape Town, Western Cape.

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.


There are over 100 active venues across the country offering everything from indigenous drama, music, dance, cabaret and satire to classical opera and ballet.

Performing arts

Performing arts institutions are schedule 3A public entities established in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act of 1998. They are mandated to advance, promote and preserve the performing arts in South Africa; enhance the contribution of arts and culture to the economy; and create job opportunities and initiatives that further nation-building.

The following arts institutions receive annual transfers from the DSAC:

Artscape (Cape Town); The Playhouse Company (Durban); The Market Theatre (Johannesburg); Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (Bloemfontein); and the South African State Theatre, (Pretoria).


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 DBE, 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. Government funds a number of musical ensembles directly and indirectly, through the NAC. 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 27th edition of the annual SAMAs was broadcast live on SABC 1 on 31 July 2021 and held virtually due to the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. The nominees were announced on 19 May 2021.

For the first time in the history of the SAMAs, the public was invited to vote for the Artist of the Year, a new category introduced in SAMA27.

The Artist of the Year honours the musician, group or band that entertained the public in the past year as voted for by the public.

The winners of the 27th SAMAs were:

  • Artist of the Year: Blaq Diamond.
  • Record of the Year: Keep it Together – Matthew Mole.
  • Music Video of the Year: Price to Pay – Miss Pru featuring Blaq Diamond and Malome Vector.
  • Album of the Year: Once Upon A Time In Lockdown – Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings).
  • Duo or Group of the Year: Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings) – Once Upon A Time In Lockdown.
  • Sofnfree Female Artist of the Year: Sho Madjozi – What A Life.
  • Male Artist of the Year: Kabza De Small – I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust.
  • White Star Newcomer of the Year: Bucy Radebe – Spiritual Encounter.
  • Best Rock Album: Orange Sunshine – Yum Yuck.
  • Best Pop Album: Tribes & Angels – Locnville.
  • Beste Pop Album: Twentig 20 – Brendan Peyper.
  • Best Adult Contemporary Album: Rise – Ndlovu Youth Choir.
  • Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album: Herverbeel – Die Heuwels Fantasties.
  • Best African Adult Contemporary Album: Amakhaya – Max Hoba.
  • Best Alternative Music Album: Iimini – Bongeziwe Mabandla.
  • Best R&B/Soul Album: Uhambo – Soul Kulture.
  • Best Hip-Hop Album: Zulu Man With Some Power – Nasty C.
  • Best Kwaito Album: Ama Roto EP – Reece Madlisa and Zuma.
  • Best Dance Album: The Healers: The Last Chapter – Black Motion.
  • Best Traditional Faith Album: Spiritual Encounter – Bucy Radebe.
  • Best Contemporary Faith Album: Your Kingdom on Earth – Hle.
  • Best African Indigenous Faith Album: Izwi Lakho – Mandlethu Gospel Singers.
  • Rest of Africa Artist: Songs in the Key of Love – Berita.
  • Best Traditional Album: What a Life – Sho Madjozi.
  • Best Maskandi Album: kaMakhelwane – Abafana Baka Mgqumeni.
  • Best Jazz Album: Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworld – Nduduzo Makhathini.
  • Best Classical/Instrumental Album: We’ve Known All Times – Wouter Kellerman.
  • Best Afropop Album: Ngumama – Vusi Nova.
  • Best Live Audio Visual Recording: Journey to the World and Beyond – Sun-El Musician.
  • Best Collaboration: Mali Eningi – Big Zulu, featuring Riky Rick and Intaba yase Dubai.
  • Best Produced Music Video: Hosh by Prince Kaybee feat Sir Trill – Ofentse.
  • Best Produced Album of the Year: Umsebenzi by Sjava – Delaydem, Ruff, Webmoms, Zadok and Vuyo Manyike.
  • Best Engineered Album of the Year: Inganekwane by Zoe Modiga – Papi Diretsi and Songo Oyama.
  • Remix of the Year: Yehla Moya – Da Capo.
  • Best Reggae Album: Persistence – Bongo Riot.
  • Best Amapiano Album: Once Upon A Time in Lockdown – Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings).
  • Best Gqom Album: Inzalo Yekwaito – Zinaro.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Lebo M, Dr Lindelani Mkhize, PJ Powers.
  • International Achievement Award: Master KG.
  • Best Selling Artist: Mlindo the Vocalist – Emakhaya.
  • Most Streamed Song: You’re the One – Elaine.
  • SAMRO Composer Highest Airplay: Kgaugelo Moagi (Master KG) and Nomcebo Zikode – Jerusalema.

South African Traditional Music Achievement (SATMA) Awards

The 16th annual SATMA Awards were held in Mbombela on 27 November 2021 and the winners were:

  • Best Male Artist/Group: 100%Ncobela.
  • Best Female Artist/Group: Qtwins.
  • Best Afro Soul Song: Mc Records KZN.
  • Best African Jazz Artist/Group: Austebza.
  • Best Raggae Artist/Group: Chomza.
  • Best Traditional Praise Singer: Ntombhi Ya Mutsonga.
  • Best Indigenous Poet: Kwazi Nsele.
  • Best Upcoming Artist/Group: Menzi Mabizela.
  • Best Traditional Accapella Music Song: KA-SHIMA.
  • Best Traditional Music Community Radio Presenter: Silulami Dumza Dumezweni.
  • Best Department of Art & Culture: Limpopo.
  • Best Department of Cultural Affairs Chief Director: Bokone Bophirima (North West).
  • Best Traditional Producer: Deejay Avesh.
  • Best Traditional House Music Song: NKR.
  • Best Sepedi Artist/Group: Tau Sebata.
  • Best Venda Artist/Group: Nnae.
  • Best Xitsonga Artist/Group: Misskay Chardnah.
  • Best Ndebele Artist/Group: Ngezekakaramba.
  • Best IsiXhosa Artist/Group: Us’hlangu Semfene.
  • Best Setswana Artist/Group: Legora la Mmino.
  • Best Siswati Artist/Group: Licathazi Lika Mamzomba.
  • Best Sesotho Artist/Group: Morusu.
  • Best Boeremusiek Artist/Group: Die Teelepeltjies.
  • Best Indian Artist/Group: Praven Moodley.
  • Best Maskandi Artist/Group (Traditional/Digital): Sgwebo Sethambo.
  • Best Traditional Collaboration: Qtwins, featuringt Dj Tira & Ntencane.
  • Best Traditional Music Artist/Group of the Year: Nomtiti.
  • Best Traditional Outfit (Fashion Kulture): Rshiks – Limpopo.
  • Founders Award (Honoraries): Khuzani Mpongose.
  • Founders Award (Honoraries): Qhuzulini Sithole.


The NAC 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 prehistoric, 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 Gqeberha 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 coffeetable 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. South Africa commemorates the annual National Book Week (NBW) in September. It is an initiative of the South African Book Development Council, in collaboration with the DSAC.

The NBW is an important initiative in encouraging the nation to value reading as a funand pleasurable activity and to showcase how reading can easily be incorporated intoone’s daily lifestyle. The commemoration coincides with International Literacy Day on 8 September. The NBW was celebrated from 6 to 12 September 2021.

South African Literary Awards (SALA) 2021

The 16th SALA ceremony was held virtually on International African Writers’ Day, 7 November 2021. The winners were:

  • Children’s Literature Award: Andre Trantraal, Keegan & Samier: Die Sokkerfiasko.
  • Youth Literature Award (English): Pamela Newham, The Boy and the Poacher’s Moon.
  • Youth Literature Award (Sepedi): Kobate John Sekele, Mararankodi mafelelo.
  • Youth Literature Award (isiXhosa): Sipho R Kekezwa, Ubomi, ungancama!.
  • First-time Published Author Award (Afrikaans): Lynthia Julius, Uit die kroes.
  • First-time Published Author Award (English): Reŝoketŝwe Manenzhe, Scatterlings.
  • K Sello Duiker Memorial Award (Afrikaans): Brian Fredricks, As die Cape Flats kon praat.
  • K Sello Duiker Memorial Award (English): Karen Jennings, An Island.
  • K Sello Duiker Memorial Award (isiXhosa): Lihle Sokapase, Yapatyalaka ibhobhile.
  • Poetry Award (Afrikaans): Johann de Lange, Die meeste sterre is lankal dood.
  • Poetry Award (English): Ayanda Billie, KwaNobuhle Overcast.
  • Poetry Award (isiXhosa): Babalwa Fatyi, Hlahl’indlela Nohombile.
  • Poetry Award (Setswana): Kgwadi Kgwadi, Ithuteng Mogolokwane.
  • Poetry Award (Tshivenda): Nndanduleni Mulaudzi, Khonadzeo.
  • Poetry Award (Sepedi): Tshepiso Makgoloane, Tša maAfrika.
  • Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award (English): Nankanjani Sibiya, The Reluctant Storyteller: A Collection of Stories.
  • Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award (isiXhosa): Madoda Ndlakuse, Mhla Latsh’ibhayi.
  • Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award (isiXhosa): Mzoli Mavimbela, Masibuyel’embo Konakele Phi Na?
  • Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award (English): Sabata-mpho Mokae and Brian Willan, Sol Plaatje: A Life in Letters.
  • Literary Translators Award (isiXhosa): Jeff Opland and Peter T. Mtuze, Iimbali Zamandulo (1838-1910).
  • Novel Award (isiXhosa): Ezra Mcebisi Nkohla, Zajik‘ izinto.
  • Novel Award (isiXhosa): Fred Khumalo, Ngenxa yeMendi.
  • Literary Journalism Award: Jean Meiring (Body of Work).
  • Chairperson’s Literary Awards: Ntogela Masilela (Body of Work).
  • The Lifetime Achievement Literary Award: Lefifi Tlali (Body of Work).
  • The Regional Poet Laureate Prize (Afrikaans): Ronelda Kamfer (Body of Work).
  • The Regional Poet Laureate Prize (Xitsonga): Themba Patrick Magaisa (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 subprogramme 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; the North West Film Festival; the Apollo Film Festival in Victoria West; the Three Continents Film Festival (specialising in African, South American and Asian films); the Soweto Film Festival; and the Encounters Documentary Festival, which alternates between Cape Town and Johannesburg.


South Africa has more than 300 museums ranging from museums of geology, history, the biological sciences and the arts, to mining, agriculture, forestry and many other disciplines. 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 was established in terms of the NLSA Act of 1998, which requires it to contribute to socio-economic, cultural, educational, scientific and innovative development by collating, recording, preserving and making available the national documentary heritage, and to promote awareness and appreciation of the national documentary heritage.

It provides services to community libraries. These include, in partnership with provincial library services, ICT support; training in preservation and resource development; and marketing and exhibition services. Over the period ahead, the National Library of South Africa plans to catalogue 129 000 items and conserve 57 000 books.

South African Library for the Blind (SALB)

The SALB was established in terms of the South African Library for the Blind Act of 1998, and is mandated to provide a national library and information service to blind and print‐handicapped readers in South Africa. The SALB receives an operational subsidy from the DSAC.

Over the medium term, the library was expected to maintain its objective of reviving and strengthening services to blind and print‐handicapped readers. It plans to produce reading material in audio and Braille formats, and set standards for the production of such documents; research production methods and technology in the appropriate fields; and procure and distribute reading equipment for new members.

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. It equips blind people with the skills they need to fully and independently participate in society. This includes support in living without assistance, getting about, using technology, reading, working and socialising.

Source: Pocket Guide to South Africa