South African Cultural Observatory National Conference


The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) 2017 National Conference is proud to be bringing together a distinguished and diverse group of presenters, speakers and conference attendees.

Master of Ceremonies

SA Cultural Observatory National Conference MC

Masasa Mbangeni

Masasa Mbangeni is a South African actor, MC & theatre maker born and bred in Port Elizabeth.

She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand . A former Mandela Rhodes Scholar, Masasa has a special interest in promoting the transformative power of the Arts through the work she does. Renowned for her work as " Thembeka" on etv flagship soapie, Scandal!, for which she won Best Actress at the 2015 SAFTA and Royalty Awards respectively, Masasa now focuses her energy on theatre with aspiration of one day directing her own work.


 International Speakers

Professor Lluis Bonet, Director of the Cultural Management Programme, University of Barcelona

How to go about developing a creative economy – the strategy – examples from Spain.

Lluís Bonet is professor of applied economy at the University of Barcelona, specialized in cultural economics, cultural policies and arts management. He is the Director of the Cultural Management Graduate program (with a PhD, two Master degrees and four long live learning programs in the field). Bonet plans to share insights from Spain’s attempts to grow its creative economy; and generally European Union experiences in cultural economics and policy. He will provide an account of what Spain is currently doing to use its assets and space to grow artists and businesses, and provide guidelines as to how these practices can be adopted and adapted to developing economies. Read more


Erez Lieberman Aiden Director of the Rice University Culturomics Cultural Observatory, Houston

Quantitative Analysis of Culture.

Erez Lieberman Aiden received his PhD from Harvard and MIT in 2010. After several years at Harvard's Society of Fellows and at Google as Visiting Faculty, he became Assistant Professor of Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Rice University. Recognised around the world for his contribution to science, medicine and cultural change, Aiden is a renowned inventor, scientist and academic, and has been lauded as ‘America’s brightest young academic’. Read more


Andres Gribnicow, Undersecretary of Creative Economy, Ministry of Culture (Argentina)

The ‘Creative Argentinean’.

Andres Gribnicow, is responsible for the National Directorates of Creative Industries, Cultural Entrepreneurship and Cultural Innovation and has vast experience in the management of cultural, social and economic projects related with NGOs, public and private art and design organisations. He is also Undersecretary of Creative Economy, in the Ministry of Culture. His paper which examines the ‘and calls for the promotion of talent and creativity as engines of economic development in the country, stands to provide some interesting perspectives regarding the cultural economy of the global south. Read more


Geoffrey Wood, Professor of International Business, at the University of Essex

The Twilight of Liberal Markets, and What It Means for Economy, Culture and Society.

With a PhD from Rhodes University, Geoff Wood academic career in South Africa. As the current Dean of the Essex Business School, Wood’s latest research explores the relationship between institutional mediation, economy, society and the firm, and traces the long causes and consequences of the unanticipated and unprecedented political and economic crisis in the United States and the United Kingdom (U.K.) – and what this means for the rest of the world. He has lectured in International Business, HRM, Strategy, Organization Behaviour, International Business, Ethics, and Quantitative Research Methods, etc., at postgraduate (MBA/MSc/MA) and undergraduate levels, to both full-time and part-time/practitioner students.  He is also currently in involved in doctoral supervision of a panel of students with an interest in international business, and have supervised six doctorates to completion.


Rafal Kasprzak, PhD Assistant Professor

Regional and national policies towards CCI in the Central Europe.

Rafal Kasprzak (PhD, Assistant Professor, ). Researcher and academic teacher at the Warsaw School of Economics in Warsaw (Poland), working at the Institute of Management. An author of many research and economics projects focusing on the issue of innovation and cooperation between creative sector and business. He has professional experience in the areas of business consulting for the creative and cultural industries and in the management of innovation projects. Read More


Dr. Deborah Hickling, Jamaican University of the West Indies

'Regional Vision, National Mission?: Caribbean Creative Economy Policy, the Case of Jamaica.

Dr. Deborah Hickling is Executive Director of Ink and Vision Ltd a Creative Economy Development; and Development Communication firm in Jamaica. Dr. Hickling has been a cultural and creative industries practitioner, administrator and educator for over twenty
years, working across the disciplines of management, broadcasting, audio-visual and events production, advertising, public relations and arts management. Read more


Africa Speakers

Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi, Programs Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre

Strengthening Local Cultural Policy in Zimbabwe.

Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi is Programs Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC), a community based heritage enterprise in the rural Matobo District of Zimbabwe. Through curating participatory cultural activities such as traditional games, dance and music, Butho is passionate about preserving and promoting tangible and intangible indigenous cultural heritage. Read more


Bamuturaki Musinguzi, The EastAfrican newspaper

The Creative Economy and Public Policy in Africa: A Case Study of Uganda.

Musinguzi is a Ugandan professional journalist and cultural economist. He has close to 23 years of professional experience in news reporting with various local and international media houses based in Kampala, Uganda.

Currently, he is a Special Correspondent with The EastAfrican and Freelance Writer with the Daily Monitor newspapers both published by the Nation Media Group.  He is also a Freelance Correspondent with the New African Magazine, Published by IC Publications, London, U.K, among others. Read more


Calvin  Boasilong,  Ideas Expo Botswana

Creativity: The New Frontier For Economic Activity In Africa

Calvin Bosilong is an accomplished marketing professional who has a unique and exceptional ability to deliver highly creative solutions and campaigns to drive business growth. He is an accomplished marketing professional who has a unique and exceptional ability to deliver highly creative solutions and campaigns to drive business growth. He has worked in virtually every conceivable product category imaginable.

He is the Founding Partner and a Creative Director at WOWFACTOR AFRICA, a creative consultancy based in Gaborone, Botswana.  Read more


Florence Majachani, Nhimbe Trust/Independent Research Consultant, Zimbabwe

Exploring Emerging Business Models in the Creative Economy: Experiences from Zimbabwe.

Florence is a specialist in cultural governance, advocacy, cultural rights, citizenship and creative industries. She has over ten years’ experience facilitating the development and adoption of more efficient and culture-sensitive development policies and programmes in Africa. From 2005 to 2006 she worked as a teacher teaching African History at high school in Zimbabwe. In 2007 she joined the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa as Liaison Officer. Read more


Kobena Kouakou Hilaire, Groupe Efrouba Pour La Culture (GREC)

The Social, Cultural and Economic Impacts for the international Efruba Festival from Grand-Lahou.

KOBENA KOUAKOU HILAIRE aka HILAIRE KOBENA is an ivorian writer, editor and cultural promoter born in January 13th, 1971. His first work of literature, entitled « L’Île dévorée » (The Eaten away island) and published in July 2013, is a concret advocacy for a better environment protection and a precious overview of coastal erosion threats in Africa. Later in
January 2014, « Ne Touche pas à mon homme » (Don’t touch my man) his second novel was a sentimental plot and a best-seller in west Africa. In the earlier 2016’s, his last literary creation, « La Vie en blanc et noir » (Life in white and black) was well received by critics for his formal beauty and his skilful story-telling that brings into light the damage of glaucoma disease on the vision of millions of people in the world. Read more


Kevin Kimwelle, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, CPUT, Wiesmar University

The Joe Slovo West Community Project: Art, Culture, Architecture and an Emerging Township Economy in the Urgency Towards a More Equal Society.

Kimwelle’s foundation in architectural studies and experience begun in Nairobi, Kenya and continued to Port Elizabeth with his undergraduate and master studies. He pursues a multidisciplinary doctoral research between CPUT, NMMU and Wismar University (Germany) where he is sensitive to people centred approach under supervision Prof. Mugendi K M'Rithaa and further responds to the urgency towards social justice through activist and co-supervisor Prof. Janet Cherry. Read more


South African Speakers

Shukri Toefy, Chief Executive Officer at Fort

Decolonising Africa's Creative Economy

Shukri Toefy is an entrepreneur, strategist and opinion leader in business and brand communication. He is the co-founder and CEO of Fort, working with CCO and director Amr Singh based in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a degree in Law and Business from the University of Cape Town, Shukri’s analytical approach lead him to leadership positions in businesses and global brand campaigns in South Africa early on in his career. Shukri is a dynamic leader and strategist with the ability to drive change, motivate and inspire. Known for entrenching a culture of growth and unlocking value, Shukri has been hailed as a pioneer in creating an in-sourcing model for film, media and creative services in South Africa. Read more


Dr Lee Watkins, Director of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown

The relationship between research, intangible cultural heritage and social and economic development: A possible solution to the intractable problem of rural poverty in the Eastern Cape.

Dr Lee Watkins is an Ethnomusicologist and he is currently serving as the Director of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown. His main research interest is music studies in relation to heritage, development, conservation, tradition and popular music. His presentation at this conference is based on fieldwork undertaken by himself, students and local fieldworkers, and describes ways in which Ethnomusicology could assist with the social and economic development of a rural based community.


Elizabeth Oconnor, University of Witwatersrand

Johannesburg Live Music Audiences: Exploring the motivations for, and barriers to, young people attending and consuming live music in small to medium venues

I am Elizabeth (Beth) O'Connor. Born in Australia, I have lived and worked in the UK, Australia and across Africa for the past 15 years. Trained as a marketing and communications professional, I have pivoted my career in the past six years towards the art and creative sectors with a strong focus on youth and diverse audiences. I have a global perspective working on parallel projects in the Global South and North.  Read More


Carmen Poole, Unisa

A South African classification for the cultural and creative industries: establishing a link with the tourism industry.

Carmen Poole holds a MComm degree in Tourism Management, and has been an employee of Unisa, Africa’s leading open distance learning institution since 2012, and a lecturer since 2014. As a developing researcher, she has published, as a co-author, three articles in accredited journals and one chapter in a textbook. Currently, Ms Poole is registered at Unisa for a doctoral degree in logistics and supply chain, and completed an extra qualification in logistics and transport management in 2014. Read more


Mphikeleli Mnguni, Department of Arts and Culture

Mphikeleli obtained MA from Rhodes University and MBA from Tshwane Business School. Currently is enrolled for PhD with Wits University focusing on government service delivery in order to improve performance of creative SMMEs in South Africa. He is employed by the Department of Arts and Culture of the South African government.


Raymond Ndhlovu, Rhodes University

Developing a Regional Cultural Policy: Guidelines for areas without big cities.

Raymond is a Masters student in Cultural Economics at Rhodes University. Together with his supervisor, Prof. Jen Snowball, he has worked on a several publications. He is also a Research intern at Cultural Observatory, as well as a music teacher at the Diocesan School for Girls (DSG) in Grahamstown.


Isaac Bongani  Mahlangu, Wits University

The role of craft hubs and post-school education in clothing and textiles based SME development: A focus on design based value adding in South African’s mohair.

PhD Candidate, Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL), School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, MA Arts and Culture Management, University of the Witwatersrand, BA Fine and Applied Arts, Tshwane University of Technology

I am a recipient of the 2015 Business in Art South Africa (BASA) Award for Leadership and Management in the Cultural Economy. I am a former Research Associate, Wits Art Museum (WAM), University of the Witwatersrand. I am a former Product Development Facilitator at the North West Craft and Design Institute, a division of the North West Province’s Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa, and I am a certified facilitator in Explaining and Applying Principles and Philosophy of Community Arts as well as Facilitating Learning in Arts and Culture Modules and Programmes.


Winnie Sze, Social Fabric Project

Social Fabric SA - an arts-design-textile manufacture collaboration project and case study in human capital.

Winnie Sze is a former investment banker (Chicago, New York, London) and is currently a financial trainer and visual art curator.  She studied fine art, math and commerce.  She holds a degree in Masters in Commerce, Development Finance from UCT.


Professor Ronny Ncwadi, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Cultural and creative industries as a catalyst for growth in BRICS economies.

Prof Ncwadi holds a PhD in economics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and a certificate in Marine Studies from Washington University, USA.  He also holds a certificate in Macro-Econometric Forecasting from the IMF Development Programme (USA). He has a finance background in a banking sector. Prof Ncwadi lectures Public Finance, Money & Banking, International Finance, and Econometrics. Read more


Nwabisa Kolisi, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Cultural and creative industries as a catalyst for growth in BRICS economies.

She holds an Honours and Bachelor’s Degree in Economics at the NMMU. Nwabisa Kolisi commenced her professional careers as an Intern Economist at Eastern Cape Development Corporation. In her roles, Nwabisa Kolisi’s experience spanned from being responsible in assisting in conducting Eastern Cape quarterly economic reviews, conduct trade and investment analysis and compiling Eastern Cape Budget Analysis. Nwabisa has previously participated in socio-economic impact assessment research project at ECDC in the Eastern Cape economy. Read more


Dr. Narissa Ramdhani, Ifa Lethu Foundation/Republic of Chile in South Africa

The Fourth Revolution, Rural Industrialisation and Development: Successes for the Creative Economy of South Africa.

Dr. Narissa Ramdhani is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Ifa Lethu Foundation of South Africa, a national organisation devoted to the entrepreneurial development of creative practitioners in South Africa, especially youth. Her previous positions have included directorships of special projects for former late President Nelson Mandela, Research centres at the Universities of Durban-Westville and KwaZulu-Natal, with fellowships at Yale University, Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut. Read more



Banele Lukhele, freelance educator, writer and composer

New perspectives on the use of creative skills in South African classrooms.

Banele Lukhele is a freelance educator, writer and composer. She self-published her first novella in 2010, called My Name is Grace. She then went on to complete a Bachelor of Music at the University of Witwatersrand majoring in composition and research. In her honours year, 2014, Banele worked as the program assistant for the South Africa-Washington International Program, a leadership development programme. Parallel to this, she has been involved in private education as well as volunteering; her main subjects are Mathematics, English, Life Skills/Life Orientation and Music. Read more


Professor Jen Snowball, Chief Economist & Research Strategist, South African Cultural Observatory

Professor Snowball is a professor of Economics at Rhodes University and her research interests are focused mainly in the field of cultural economics (or the economics of arts and culture). She has more than 40 articles published in national and international peer reviewed journals. Her book, Measuring the Value of Culture: Methods and Economics in Cultural Economics (2008), was well received both locally and internationally. She is a member of the Association of Cultural Economics International, and regularly presents at South African and international conferences. Her research in cultural economics has focused on the use of market and non-market valuation methods, especially as they apply to cultural festivals. Her recent work for the South African Cultural Observatory has been on cultural mapping studies, employment in the cultural and creative industries and developing a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of publically funded arts, culture and heritage.


Njabulo Sithebe, Deputy Head of Research at SACO

Presenting a combination of Private and Public sectors with experience spanning 16 years - focused on driving the delivery of economic development solutions and opportunities in South Africa.  Njabulo has been part of economic development work & consulting for various South African State Owned Companies (Blue IQ & Coega),  consulted for Transnet, and previously worked as a Senior Economist for KPMG and Standard Bank’s Economics Division. Read more



Caryn  Green, Wits University

Developing a Practice-Led Approach to Monitoring and Evaluation.

Caryn Green is an Arts Manager, Advocate and Trainer. She is the Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Manager at Drama for Life, Wits School of Arts, Wits University. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts and Culture Management from Wits University. Her current research interest is in exploring best practice research methods within the field of the applied arts for social transformation.


Thabo Seshoka, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

All the Glittters? Convergent Conceptualisations and Divergent Outcomes: Cultural Heritage in South Africa after 1994.

Thabo Seshoka is the Curator of Cultural History for Museum Africa; he joined the Museum’s curatorial staff in October 2016. Seshoka, is in the process of making corrections to his Masters of Arts thesis titled “Intimate Strangers – Encountering the Foreign in Urban Spaces” under the supervision of Professor Rose Boswell at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is also in the process of enrolling for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (History) at Rhodes University, where he will be co-supervised by Dr Lee Watkins and Professor Julie Wells.



Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish Animation Studios

Animate Africa Stimulating the African Animation industry.

Stuart Forrest is the CEO of Triggerfish Animation Studios—the producer of two of Africa's most successful films, "Adventures in Zambezia" and "Khumba" . The company has produced many other films including the BAFTA nominated "Stick Man" and most recently, the Roald Dahl "Revolting Rhymes” Christmas special for BBC.  “Stick Man” was judged the best TV animation in the world by an international jury at the Annecy Animation festival in 2016. Read more


Dr Lebogang Nawa, Segarona Culture Institute

Anticipating the South African National Cultural Policy in 2030 according to African Conventions.

Lebogang Lance Nawa obtained DLitt et Phil (PhD) degree from the University of South Africa in cultural policy research, 2012. This is the first and thus far the only such qualification in this field in South Africa. He is a former Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) where he has received the 2014 Faculty of the Arts Post-Doctoral Researcher of the Year Award. At TUT, he was also involved in the establishment of Bachelors of Arts in Arts Management and Cultural Policy, UNESCO Chair for Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development, and the Faculty of the Arts Centre for Creative Industries. Read more


Professor Richard Haines, SA Cultural Observatory

Reflexive Development Policy and the New Creative Economy: The Case for CCI Clusters in South Africa.

Professor Richard Haines has an MA in from University of Natal, and a PhD from the University of London. He is currently the CEO of the South African Cultural Observatory, and played a central role in the founding of this national research arm of the Department of Arts and Culture. He is also Professor of Development Studies in the School of Economics, Tourism and Development at Nelson Mandela University. He set up the Department of Development Studies which he ran from 2006-2015. Read more


Parks Tau, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) President

Culture and Global Citizenship

Mr. Parks Tau is the President of the global network, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and the President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). He is furthermore the second democratically elected Executive Mayor of Africa's largest economic hub - the City of Johannesburg between 2011 – 2016, wherein he drove a spatial and socio-economic transformation agenda during his tenure. Mr Tau, who is also the Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) Greater Johannesburg Region, is a seasoned local government activist with over 20 years’ experience in the field. Read more



Business and Arts South Africa NPC

Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) NPC is an internationally recognised South African development agency with a suite of integrated programmes implemented nationally and internationally.  BASA encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts, securing the future development of the arts sector in South Africa and contributing to corporate success through Shared Value.  BASA was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture and the business sector as a public/private partnership.  For more information on BASA, contact us on 011 447 2295 or visit our website:

Mapungubwe Institute For Strategic Reflection

MISTRA is an independent research institute that takes a long-term view on the strategic challenges facing South Africa. MISTRA combines research and rigorous discourse with an array of partners.  The Institute seeks to deepen debate and broaden avenues of enquiry on a plethora of issues, including economics, governance, history, art, culture and natural sciences. MISTRA is built on a long-held and deeply entrenched passion among Southern Africans to deliberate socio-political issues that have both a local impact and a global resonance. MISTRA endeavours to provide platforms for dialogue and forge partnerships for intellectual exploration that both bolster a fledgeling democracy and push the boundaries of limited expectation of our fractured history. As one of its priority research areas, MISTRA is currently engaged in an ongoing project on Arts, Development and Democracy in South Africa.


The South African Cultural Observatory National Conference Programme is still under development. More speakers and the full programme will be announced in due course.

Cultural Observatory issues call for National Conference papers

January 31, 2017: THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) today announced the theme for its national conference of the arts, heritage and culture sectors.

2016 National Conference Highlights

Watch the SACO 'National Conference 2016 - Counting Culture' highlights video featuring interviews with some of the speakers and participants; and conference insights and lessons.

About the South African Cultural Observatory

Led by the Department of Arts and Culture, and hosted by NMMU, the SACO is a statistical research institute which charts the impact of the cultural and creative industries in South Africa.

Address: 21-23 Donkin Street, Donkin Creative Precinct, Central, Port Elizabeth
Tel: +27 (0)41 504 4930