South African Cultural Observatory

About Us

Initiated by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) through the Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy (2011), the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a statistical and socio-economic research project, launched in 2014, which charts the socio-economic impact of the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) in South Africa.

We use a range of innovative statistical methodologies, audits and research tools to understand our creative economy. Our main purpose is the development of a comprehensive cultural information system which continuously captures cultural data and monitors and evaluates government initiatives in the ACH sectors and CCIs. The SACO is headquartered in Nelson Mandela Bay – hosted by Nelson Mandela University on behalf of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) in partnership with Rhodes University, University of KwaZulu-Natal  and the University of Fort Hare – but operates nationally analysing the CCIs and ACH sectors.

The SA Cultural Observatory supports the collection and analysis of data, influences policy, shares insights and builds on the intellectual capacity gained across the arts, culture and heritage sectors. We work across the breadth of all cultural domains, including the arts, heritage, tourism, museums, libraries, archives and creative industries.

The key functions of the South African Cultural Observatory include:

  • Advanced theoretical and policy-relevant research on cultural trends and the cultural economy
  • The conceptualization and collection of statistics (data-bases)
  • Monitoring and Evaluating the impact of  cultural events
  • Providing physical and online access to the cultural information
  • Capacity building within the Arts, Culture and Heritage sectors and Creative Industries
  • Networking, partnering and knowledge sharing
  • Promoting cultural diplomacy

The Cultural Observatory is a long-awaited and vital initiative in the country’s cultural landscape. The evidence and data collected and analysed assists in assessing where the competitiveness, job-creating and income-generating potential of the creative industries lies. The work of the Cultural Observatory adds value to the arts and culture sectors and enables a real socio-economic value to be attached to activities central to the rich tapestry of South African life.

More News
SACO Releases CCI Mapping Study 2022 SACO Releases CCI Mapping Study 2022

On Thursday, 31 March the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) released its much- awaited CCI Mapping Study to the media and industry at an event in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The Apartheid Museum re-opens The Apartheid Museum re-opens

The Apartheid Museum has reopened its doors to the public and is encouraging as many people to visit and tour the facility. The museum closed its doors in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black Coffee Wins Best Dance/Electronic Album at 2022 Grammys Black Coffee Wins Best Dance/Electronic Album at 2022 Grammys

Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, popularly known as Black Coffee made South Africa proud once more with winning a Grammy Award at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony organised by the United States National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.

The SA Cultural Observatory -  Measuring and Valuing SA’s Cultural And Creative Industries The SA Cultural Observatory - Measuring and Valuing SA’s Cultural And Creative Industries

The South African Cultural Observatory was established to undertake economic research for the cultural and creative industries in South Africa. The kind research we conduct provides such information as to the economic size of the sector, number of jobs in the sector or transformation. We publish the reports on our website and in various media platforms, including this newsletter, with a view to empower industry stakeholders with information that we hope they will find useful, informative and can be relied upon when making decisions that affect the sector.

Executive Direction - March 2022 Executive Direction - March 2022

This edition of The Cultural Observer is published during an interesting but complex international environment. While on the positive side the world has seen Covid-19 infections numbers subside, we are witnessing a war that has a devasting impact to the world economy.

Connect with us