South African Cultural Observatory

Mobilizing the resources for a creative economy reset

BY Dr. Stella Khumalo, Deputy Director General, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture 31.03.23

On behalf of the South African government and the people of South Africa, we express our earnest gratitude for your participation and invaluable contribution to the SACO International Conference 2022.

The platform brought together over 98 speakers and over 400 key stakeholders engaged in culture, creative industries, humanities, anthropology, history, practitioners, business, academia and across 18 countries to deliberate and devise solutions to issues facing the creative sector today.

With so many countries, it means this was a meeting of the global community gathered in Tshwane, South Africa to discuss the current norms, institutions, and trends in the sector.

But also it was a coming together to foster partnerships, collaboration, and pathways for meaningful collaboration across the sector and the globe to help sustain the ideas and solutions that can help reset this sector.

Parallel to this conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the COP27 climate conference met to discuss strategies aimed at discussing sustainability and address climate change.

In other words this conference is taking place at a time of unprecedented challenges worldwide. At the time where sustainability is an issue.

We gathered as the global community of cultural, heritage and creative sector researchers for a renewed commitment to share ideas and insights. Sustainability has been a key part of our discussions – even when not directly.

We need to learn from and define new ways to survive and thrive, maintain and sustain, and overall counter inequality with inclusiveness.

Over the course of this conference, the delegates engaged in more than 23 sessions and heard interventions from 98 speakers or panellists.

This has provided a base from which we can start planning the reset, together – not in silos – as a community, as collaborators, as creators; and beyond just economic ends, but to achieve our social, cultural, “lived” ideals for our industry, sector, and our personal passions, hobbies, and creative expression.

This 2-day conference, would not have been possible without the support of the:

Arts industry and international and media organizations

  • The British Council
  • GIZ
  • Tshwane Tourism
  • UNCTAD
  • Gauteng Province
  • The OECD
  • The Conversation Africa
  • The Market Photo Workshop team of student and alumni photographers
  • South African Creative Industries Incubator who brought us our exhibition and the welcoming staff at the registration desk
  • Artist Dolla Sapeta
  • Steven Sack
  • The South African Heritage Publishers
  • National Lexicography Units and Authors including: Sewela Langeni, Mzamo Mayekiso, Eliyah Khabo
  • Danza Consulting
  • Our performers, dancers, musicians, including Billy Monama

We could not have done this without the core team of external team members who put this together

  • Nzinga Qunta
  • Anzomode through-the-line agency
  • Strategy Advertising
  • Online Innovations
  • Britespark Communications
  • CSIR ICC team

I would also need to acknowledge the valiant efforts of the SACO team who pulled this incredible event and programme together including Unathi Lutshaba, Amy Shelver, Paula Holmes, Richard Haines, Tumy Motsoatsoe, Titus Chuene, Mboneni Maulaudzi, Masilakhe Njomane, Chadwin Du Plessis, and the whole SACO team based in Gqeberha.

And I must thank my own team at DSAC who have also worked tirelessly with SACO to bring this programme together, with special thanks to SACO project manager Mphikeleli Mnguni, Lisa Combrinck, Mono Salane, and the Marketing and Communications Team headed by Zimasa Velapi, including Tertia Grobler, Kate Moleti,  Madimetja Moleba, James Mathibeng, Nombuso Tshabalala, and Xoliswa Phenya.

Our conference was brought to you by DSAC and SACO. SACO is hosted by Nelson Mandela University, and its institutional partners

  • Rhodes University
  • University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
  • University of Fort Hare, whom we also thank.

We discussed what can we do to have a very strong sector, to pay attention to what can we do differently to improve the sector and increase the resilience of culture and creative industries.

Through this conference we stepped up efforts to partner, to mobilize the kind of resources needed, ideas, studies, intellectual resources to reset.

TO SACO we say let’s keep up the momentum.

Thank you once again for being a part of SACO International Conference 2022. We look forward to engaging with you on future projects, platforms and forums.

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