South African Cultural Observatory

Executive Summary

BY 13.12.23

As we come to the end of the year, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is thrilled to reflect on the vibrant and diverse cultural landscape, and work, that has unfolded throughout 2023. Despite the challenges faced, the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) have continued to inspire, uplift, and bring joy to our lives.

In this final 2023 edition of our newsletter, we would like to extend a heartfelt message of encouragement to all South Africans to support the CCIs during this festive season – and take a break to experience the diversity and creativity of our nation.

One powerful way to show your support is by purchasing artworks or creative goods developed by our talented artists. By doing so, you not only invest in their creative journey but also contribute to the preservation and promotion of our rich sports and cultural heritage.

Additionally, we urge you to attend the various events and performances that will be taking place over the season. Whether it’s a theatre production, a music concert, sports events or a dance performance, these events provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and diversity of our cultural expressions.

Your presence, engagement and “bum on seat” will go a long way to ensure that artists and athletes not only earn a living but also contribute to our cultural economy and its growth and sustainability. Our CCIs are a significant player in our national economy and contributes 2.97% (R161 billion) to the country’s GDP. That’s on par with agriculture.

A winning mindset is critical for our country’s success and a reboot of the economy in a post-COVID-19 context. This year proved that we can win, when we are stronger together and play as a team. As a result, this year was filled with many milestones.

To mention a few: The Rugby World Cup win is the top of the list, but this was backed by inspired wins, from the Siya Kolisi documentary titled Rise: The Siya Kolisi Story, winning the crowd favourite award at the recent Tribeca Festival in New York, to Trevor Noah getting two Emmy nominations for The Daily Show and Netflix special I Wish You Would.  Trevor Noah won his 1st Emmy in 2017 for The Daily Show. He also won the Erasmus Prize which is annual prize awarded by the Premium Erasmianum Foundation to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to culture in Europe and the rest of the world.

Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman and Zakes Bantwini brought home a Grammy for Best Global Music Performance for their single Bayethe. South African-born soprano Pretty Yende serenaded the Royal family, their guests, and the entire global audience at the coronation of the King and Queen of England.

On the sporting front, we lifted The Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time in history, making the Boks the most successful team Rugby World Cup history. Richard Kohler made history by becoming the first person to successfully complete the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in his solo and unsupported Ocean Kayak Adventure from Cape Town to Brazil in two months. These are a tip of the iceberg of the daily potential that is shown by South Africa’s artists and athletes.

So, as we get festive, let us remember that the CCIs are not just a source of entertainment but also a mirror of our collective identity, potential, and aspirations. They are us and we are them – stronger and together.

By supporting the arts, we nurture creativity, foster cultural understanding, and create a legacy for future generations. So, let us come together and celebrate the incredible talents that make our cultural landscape so vibrant.

Together, we can make a difference and ensure a thriving future for the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa.

Let’s build a creative, moving Mzansi, together.

Wishing you a festive season filled with joy, inspiration, and a deep appreciation for the culture and creativity.

The South African Cultural Observatory

 

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