Minister Nathi Mthethwa launches Africa Month Festival of Ideas and Cultural Exchange

30 Apr 2015

The Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa invites all of the people in the Republic of South Africa, the rest of the African continent and the African Diaspora to join him in the inaugural Africa Month celebrations. Africa Month was launched by Minister Mthethwa on 1 April 2015 at Freedom Park, Pretoria.

The Department of Arts & Culture has planned an exciting programme that will take place throughout the month of May and beyond. It will be a festival of ideas and cultural exchange. It will provide a strategic platform and network for conversations about the African continent. These will go beyond the challenges to successes experienced and recommitment to work for the continued development of the continent.

Activities planned will take place across the country and will include music, literature, theatre, visual arts, film, fashion, cuisines, seminars, exhibitions, lectures and panel discussions.

The theme for Africa Month is We are Africa - ‘Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo’.

South Africa recognises itself as an integral part of the African continent.  Therefore the country understands its national interest to be intrinsically linked to continental stability, unity and prosperity. Our national interest is therefore defined by the development and upliftment of all African people.

The programme will strengthen social, cultural, economic and political integration among African nations. Africa Month will be implemented in line with the Department of Arts & Culture’s priorities: Increased economic opportunities for artists; Developmental approach of the artists; product development; audience development; social cohesion among communities and the continent as well as cultural diplomacy.

Africa Month seeks to increase appreciation and demand for arts and culture goods and services to stimulate competitive markets for Intra-Africa trade.

Mthethwa says it will also strengthen culture and creative industries and their value-add in socio-economic development as well as provide a platform to promote the African Union institutions and policies.

As part of its national mandate of promoting symbols such as the flag and anthem, the Department of Arts & Culture will also promote the African Union flag and anthem during the month.

“We will use this period to promote African identity, entrench African values and ethics as well as strengthen existing collaborations in the continent.

“We believe our programme will contribute to the attainment of the African Union’s vision 2063 which strives for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena,” said Minister Mthethwa.

The creative economy in South Africa has the potential to be one of the leading sectors in generating economic growth, employment and trade as is the case in many advanced economies.

In an effort to realize this ideal, the Department of Arts and Culture developed and approved the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) Strategy in 2011. Through MGE, the Department of Arts and Culture has introduced a number of large-scale, high impact programs that seek to reposition the arts, culture and heritage sector. These programs are designed to develop audiences for the creative and cultural industries and increase consumption of the offerings in the sector.

The Department encourages all sectors of society to join the Africa Month celebrations. In addition to the planned activities throughout the month, the Department will also conduct Africa Friday events which that will encourage people to use cuisine, fashion, dialogues and many other elements to express the fact that We Are African before we are South Africans.

The Africa Fridays will intensify the momentum for activities and individuals, communities, private and public sector entities are encouraged to independently organize such events to at work places and public spaces.

Also, we encourage people to use #We Are Africa to post photos and other messages to share their activities with others.

Full programme for the month is available on Thirty one countries are expected to participate in the programme in South Africa.

Media enquiries:
Sandile Memela
Cell: 082 800 3750