South African Cultural Observatory

Executive Direction

BY 30.09.19

Protecting and preserving our heritage infrastructure a gesture to future generations

As we celebrate heritage month, as we visit various heritage sites, as we remember the journey walked and traversed by our forebears, it is wise to take to heart the words of the Spanish philosopher and essayist George Santayana when he said that “those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes, and those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it”. It is often said that a community with no sense of history has no sense of future. It is thus important that we do our best as South Africans to preserve and protect our rich heritage to ensure that generations that come after us are conscious of our history and can use it to build a united and prosperous society.

We must thus commend and encourage the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for their programme of developing the infrastructure of heritage sites across the country to ensure that the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) tells the South African story. Not only is this work important for preserving our history, but it increases the potential of attracting economic development and tourism. The liberation heritage route honours those who dedicated their lives to the struggle for liberation in South Africa. The route is expected to comprise a number of sites that express the key aspects of the South African resistance and liberation experience.

World over, there is a positive relationship between successful cultural tourism and well-protected and preserved heritage. In fact the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane echoed this point when she recently spoke at the event to mark to World Tourism Day held at the Mandela Capture Site. She said “the Mandela generation has bequeathed on us a great gift which we need to nurture not only for South Africans and future generations but for humanity as a whole”.

A monument was erected at the Mandela Capture Site in honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela for his efforts to free South Africans from one of the most vicious systems humanity has ever witnessed. It is a story about how Mandela was captured as he was travelling in disguise as a chauffeur when the apartheid police who had been looking for him for 17 months finally arrested and captured him on the stretch of road near the site. This marked one of the most significant moments and turning point in the resistance against apartheid.

This and many stories of brave men and women who fought against the evil system of apartheid give us a glimpse of where we come from as a people and a country. They are important for our heritage, and monuments such as The Mandela Capture Site help us preserve a collective memory as a nation and teach us what we and future generations should avoid. Heritage is thus not about some distant history with no impact on the present, it is about us, it lives with us and has a direct economic bearing on current and future generations.

Executive Direction - August 2019 Executive Direction - August 2019

This year the International Women’s Day theme was #BalanceforBetter. It essentially talks to a balanced world being a better world.

Executive Direction - July 2019 Executive Direction - July 2019

The first quarter of our new financial year (2019/20) has been characterized by several momentous events. The country held successful national elections, elected the sixth administration into office, new national assembly members and new provincial legislatures


Executive Direction - March 2019 Executive Direction - March 2019

These past few months have seen some good momentum gained in providing direction to the research outputs of the South African Cultural Observatory. In the same vein, the inputs for the Research Agenda have expanded the research possibilities for the Observatory and the sector as a whole.

Research is the word: What's done, what's to come Research is the word: What's done, what's to come

THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory has a trove of research. Over the past three years we have generated research reports, monitoring and evaluation reports, a ground-breaking mapping study and more. We are intent on sharing this research widely and ensuring that the sector benefits, empowering through knowledge.


More News
Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) funding  Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) funding

The application period for 2020/2021 Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) funding from the Department of Arts and Culture has been extended from 11th to 18th November 2019.

Call for the 2020 NMU/DAC bursary programme application Call for the 2020 NMU/DAC bursary programme application

The DAC bursary programme at the Nelson Mandela University wishes to inform all prospective language studies students that the DAC bursary programme for 2020 is now open.

SA museums have come long way SA museums have come long way

The main function of museums has traditionally revolved around collecting, preserving, researching and displaying objects. To control a museum means precisely to control the representation of a community and its highest values and truths. It is also the power to define the relative standing of individuals within that community. Museums are more than containers of things; rather, they are complex reflections of the cultures that produced them, including their politics, social structures, and systems of thought. Cultural institutions, like museums, can be powerful in telling the “authorised” version of our histories, in shaping national identity and in building social cohesion, as well as contributing to education and research through their collection, archiving and conservation of artefacts.

The SACO team attends UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Ad Hoc Expert Meeting in Geneva The SACO team attends UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Ad Hoc Expert Meeting in Geneva

The SA Cultural Observatory Executive Director, Unathi Lutshaba & Head of Research, Prof Jen Snowball participate in UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Ad Hoc Expert Meeting in Geneva. The meeting was first of its kind & was aimed at bringing together experts from various countries to discuss the relationship between creative industries and economic development.

The artist with a deep appreciation for art- Mr Avhashoni Mainganye The artist with a deep appreciation for art- Mr Avhashoni Mainganye

At a recent SA Cultural Observatory workshop in the Vhembe district in Sibasa, Limpopo, we came across the definition of an artist- Mr Avhashoni Mainganye. Currently based at the Vhembe Arts and Culture centre in Thohoyandou, the unassuming Mainganye is an accomplished painter, printmaker, sculptor, photographer, arts teacher and mentor with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry.

Connect with us