South African Cultural Observatory

Highlights Of Some Of Our Research Produced Since October Last Year

BY 01.04.19

South Africa's cultural goods trade with Africa: policies and trade potentials in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

The report was aimed at exploring South Africa’s cultural goods trade with selected African countries between 2007 and 2017, with reference to the current cultural policy environment at the continental and regional level affecting such trade. The UNESCO (2009) Framework for Cultural Statistics is used to identify cultural goods, with trade data sourced from UN Comtrade (2018). This study is thus important in the light of South Africa’s signing of the Agreement (AfCFTA) to establish the Continental Free Trade Area in July 2018.

The findings show that South Africa’s overall deficit in cultural goods trade has narrowed markedly in the period 2014-2017. This is due to persistent cultural good export growth (especially in the Visual Arts and Crafts domain) coupled with weak or declining import growth. South Africa’s cultural good export growth has outstripped growth in total commodity exports since 2011.

In its bilateral cultural trade with the selected African countries, cultural good exports are highest in absolute terms to Namibia and Botswana, followed by Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana; cultural good imports are highest from Botswana, Namibia and Kenya, followed by Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana. South Africa runs a cultural trade surplus with all the countries under study except Egypt.

Some of the key findings are:

  • Market access into South Africa is largely duty-free in all domains except Visual Arts & Crafts.
  • The highest tariffs imposed by South Africa on CCI imports from non-SADC African countries are between 20% and 30% and are found in three sub-domains of Visual Arts & Crafts, namely Jewellery, Craft and Other visual arts.
  • Trade complementarity indices suggest scope for South Africa to increase cultural trade further with AU countries on formation of the AfCFTA.
  • CCIs should work closely with the dti’s Trade Invest Africa to promote the sector across the continent.

To access the full report click here.

Unlocking the growth potential of the online gaming industry in South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2018, the global gaming industry consisted of 2.3 billion consumers, who spent nearly US$ 138 billion on games. Although the South African gaming industry is small, it is growing at an exponential rate. A recent PWC (2018) report identifies the digital video games sector as one of “the biggest success stories” in the South African entertainment and media industries. Research reported on by Hall et al. (2017) showed that there were more than 11 million gamers in South Africa: 78% black; 8% coloured; 3% Indian/Asian and 11% white. However, the rise of mobile gaming via smartphones has meant that many more South Africans can afford to play.

This research identified 54 gaming or gaming and animation companies in South Africa. Nearly half (48%) are based in the Western Cape. The most commonly used gaming release platform is still PC, which (given the international shift to mobile), may be a future constraining factor (along with high data costs).

There is considerable overlap between gaming and animation with 46% of companies producing games also doing animation work. Given turnover data provided in a detailed online survey, it is estimated that the turnover for the gaming and animation industry in the 2017/8 financial year was R476 million, of which R198 million was attributed to gaming and hybrid companies. This is a considerable increase from the R100 million revenue for the gaming industry in 2015 found in a previous study (IESA, 2016).

The South African gaming and animation sector currently create 1225 direct jobs, of which 457 are in the gaming sector. A challenge for the gaming and animation sector is transformation – the majority of people working in the sector are white men (as also found in previous studies). Part of the reason given for this is that the sector is still perceived to be a risky and unstable sector, so that it is not recognised as a viable career path by many. Support for the technical training required was suggested, as were tax breaks for smaller companies to encourage more start-ups.

Advantages identified by those in the industry included: Unique African stories and cultural diversity; Lower production costs that enable international service work; a significant pool of talent and skills; the high quality of the work produced; and access to advanced production and infrastructure.

  • eSports are driving the popularity of online gaming, and are already offered at some South African schools and higher education institutions.
  • The SA gaming industry is still small and new, but growing quickly, with an estimated turnover of R200m for 2017/18.
  • 50% of gaming companies are “very small”, with annual turnover of less than R2 million.
  • Most gaming and animation firms are found in Cape Town (44%) and Johannesburg (42%).
  • Most gaming and animation companies were founded in the last 10 years (65%).

To access the full report click here.

Policy Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for the Cultural and Creative Economy

It is now globally recognised that the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to each other. It is inevitable that, as with any revolution, change will occur in desirable and undesirable ways. Digital transformation, as the 4IR is also known, will completely revolutionize the world’s governance, trade and social conditions. It is this factor which makes it possible to liken it to the industrial revolution. It will also do so at an unprecedented pace. Preparedness is key.

This paper addresses global trends and drivers for change through environmental scanning efforts within the 4IR that has a direct impact on the creative economy in general and the CCIs more specifically. A scenario-based strategic foresight methodology has been used to provide a basis for strategic visioning and long term planning for South Africa’s uptake of the 4IR with a particular reference to the Creative Industries.

The paper contains an analysis of the main mega-trends that will shape the future of South African CCIs as the 4IR takes hold. It proposes three scenarios for South Africa’s adaptation to the 4IR, aligned with the vision of the National Development Plan and toward 2030, with a specific focus on the implications for CCIs. The paper outlines recommended areas for action, particularly decision-makers involved in policy formation, the public/ private sectors, and the global donor and CCI development communities.

The complexity and plurality of the 4IR includes advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Everything (IoT) and blockchain technology.

  • By 2030 over 2 billion jobs as we know them today will have disappeared, freeing up talent for many and new 4IR fledging industries, fundamentally changing the nature of work.
  • By 2030, a surge of micro training colleges and institutions will spring to life, as part of educating the future workforce. Each will require less than six months training and apprentices to prepare us in switching or adapting to our professions.
  • Implementing the research actions orientated toward the 4IR requires substantial stakeholder participation, as well as cross-sectoral cooperation within the cultural and creative industries from a future(s) readiness perspective.

To access the full report click here

The Employment of Youth and Women in Cultural Occupations in South Africa

In October 2018, the South African government held a high-profile Jobs Summit. In addition to acknowledging the challenges of the high South African unemployment rates overall, President Ramaphosa mentioned the importance of job creation for youth (15 – 34 years old) and women specifically. Statistics South Africa Quarterly Labour Force Survey (2018) showed that unemployment rates amongst young people have reached 39.3%. The figure is even higher for young black African women who are attempting to enter the labour market (45.9%).

The SA Cultural Observatory study analyses the 2016 Statistics South Africa Labour Market Dynamics Survey (LMDS), using the UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (2009) to identify cultural occupations and cultural industries. The LMDS sample is designed to be representative at national and provincial levels and covers the entire national population aged 15 years and over. The sample size is roughly 33 000 dwellings per quarter (132 000 observations).

Results show that the creative economy in South Africa (including both cultural and non-cultural support jobs in the CCIs) provided employment for 6.94% of the working population in 2016, an increase from 6.72% in 2015. Youths make up 35% of cultural employment, which equates to 379 000 jobs.

In terms of Cultural Domains, 43% of youth in cultural occupations are found in the Visual Arts and Crafts sector, followed by nearly 20% in Design and Creative Services. Findings also showed that there are geographical differences: Provinces with larger cities (such as Johannesburg in Gauteng Province, and Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province) tend to have a larger share of cultural employment overall.

The findings suggest that the CCIs in South Africa have a significant role to play in providing jobs for young people, even in more rural areas, but that there are some challenges, such as the under-representation of young women, and the high levels of informality. Implications of the findings for policy are discussed.

The creative economy (including support occupations) accounts for 6.94% of all jobs, thus providing employment for 1 million South Africans.

  • 35% of people in cultural occupations are youth (younger than 35).
  • 43% of young people in cultural jobs are employed in the Visual Arts and Crafts domain.
  • 86% of people in cultural occupations are black (black African, coloured or Indian/Asian), and 41% are women.
  • A challenge is that there are far fewer young women (29%) than young men (38%) working in cultural jobs.
  • Cultural occupations are more likely to be in the informal sector (50.5%) than non-cultural jobs (32.4% informal).

To access the full report click here

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