South African Cultural Observatory

15 Facts about the South African Cultural Observatory

Measuring and valuing South Africa’s cultural and sport ecomomy

The SACO

  • SACO was officially launched in 2015.
  • We are the StatsSA of the cultural and sport economy.
  • We act as a national research centre dedicated to the development of a comprehensive cultural information system for South Africa.
  • We are a project of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture hosted by Nelson Mandela University.
  • We were conceived under and mandated by the 2011 Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy.
  • Our partners are Rhodes University and University of KwaZulu Natal.
    • Past partners include the University of Fort Hare.
  • SACO is one of 3 observatories of its kind across Africa.
  • Sport was included in our mandate from 2023.
  • Our role?
    • Champion evidence
    • Influence policy
    • Share insight
    • Build capacity

Our Results

  • SACO’s flagship report is biannual Economic Mapping Study.
  • The creative and cultural sector contributes almost 3% of the economy GDP and creates 1 million jobs.
  • SACO has worked with international organisations such as UNCTAD, UNESCO, OECD, GIZ,  British Council, SiNCA, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), among others.
  • We have produced over 300 research outputs since 2016.
  • We have conducted 63 dissemination workshops and 28 capacity building workshops since 2016 sharing the SACO’s work in 9 provinces and reaching tens of thousands of people.
  • Developed 6 frameworks on cultural seasons, diplomacy, measuring cultural employment, cultural statistics, monitoring and evaluation of publicly funded arts, culture and heritage
  • Produced 2 guides on copyright and the development of a Sallywood.
  • Created 1 event economic impact calculator.
  • We touched the lives of 899 young creatives during the COVID-19 crisis as part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP).

More News
The changing canvas: AI and cultivating skills for South Africa's future The changing canvas: AI and cultivating skills for South Africa's future

South Africa's vibrant cultural and creative industries (CCIs) have long been a source of national pride and economic growth. The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) and Department of Sport, Arts and Culture’s (DSAC) statistics that show the CCIs contribute 3% to national GDP and close to 1 million jobs is well known.

IR Roadshow On International Treaties And Obligations For Sport, Arts, Culture And Heritage IR Roadshow On International Treaties And Obligations For Sport, Arts, Culture And Heritage

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture EC together with the national department invited the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) and various stakeholders such as CCIFSA, EC Arts Veterans, ECPACC and Bayworld Museum etc within the sector to convene for an information sharing session aimed at capacitating the department to better represent this sector on a local and international level with a further focus on building active relationships between the department and representing organisations.

Café AI Report Café AI Report

The South African Cultural Observatory and the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation, in partnership with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture hosted a dialogue and workshop at the Tshimologong Precinct on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on the creative industries on 13 March 2024.

South Africans Shine On The Global Stage South Africans Shine On The Global Stage

South Africa has been on a winning streak across various sporting and cultural arenas, showcasing the nation's talent and resilience on the global stage. From the Rugby World Cup to the UFC and the Grammy Awards, South Africans have been making their mark and bringing home prestigious accolades.

Open call: ACCES 2024 music showcases Open call: ACCES 2024 music showcases

The Music In Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES) invites African musicians based on the continent to apply for an opportunity to showcase at ACCES 2024 in Kigali, Rwanda, from 14 to 16 November. Organised by the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) in different cities across the continent, ACCES offers a platform for performers to showcase their talent to a diverse audience of local and international delegates, including festival curators, promoters, booking agents, record labels and other influential industry professionals.

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