South African Cultural Observatory


Welcome to the research page of the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO), your premier resource hub for in-depth insights into the cultural and creative industries (CCIs), arts, culture, heritage (ACH), and sports sectors.


As the landscape of these industries continues to evolve globally, the South African Government, through the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture, alongside its affiliated entities and SACO, remains steadfast in its commitment to cultivating a robust repository of research to drive informed policy, strategic planning, and decision-making.


This section of the SACO website stands as a digital library, offering a rich tapestry of the latest research emanating from international, regional, and local contexts, as well as archival studies spanning diverse sectors worldwide.


Delve into our extensive collection to unearth a myriad of publications, reports, frameworks, guides, presentations, working papers, multimedia content, and other invaluable resources shedding light on the dynamic CCIs, ACH, and sports landscapes.


These sectors collectively represent the Golden Economy of nations, embodying the intersection of creativity, heritage, and sporting excellence.

We invite you to contribute to South Africa's National Research agenda for the sports, CCIs and ACH sectors, as we work together to advance understanding and innovation in these critical areas of cultural and economic development.


Read Our Latest Report

Read Our Latest Report

Explore the Economic Mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa 2022 Capstone Report

The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in South Africa contribute to economic growth, employment, and international trade. The CCIs have potential for employment creation, skills development, social cohesion, and supporting the tourism industry. The “CCI Mapping Study 2022” provides updated information on the contribution of the CCIs to the South African economy.

The study is impacted by changes in the structure of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyses the GDP, employment, and international trade of the CCIs. South Africa has a trade surplus in Cultural and Natural Heritage trade and Visual Arts and Crafts. The study also examines cultural occupations and the impact of the pandemic on the CCIs. The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have significant shares of cultural occupations. South Africa's trade policy and agreements support the development of the CCIs.

The CCIs contribute approximately 3% of South Africa's total economic production. Design and Creative Services occupations have increased their share of cultural occupations. Women in cultural occupations were less affected by the pandemic compared to men. The study aims to provide reliable and internationally comparable statistics on the CCIs. Visual Arts and Crafts, Books and Press, and Performance and Celebration are the most significant domains for South Africa's cultural goods trade.


Latest News Articles

South Africa has been on a winning streak across various sporting and cultural arenas, showcasing the nation's talent and resilience on the global stage. From the Rugby World Cup to the UFC and the Grammy Awards, South Africans have been making their mark and bringing home prestigious accolades.

South Africa's vibrant cultural and creative industries (CCIs) have long been a source of national pride and economic growth. The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) and Department of Sport, Arts and Culture’s (DSAC) statistics that show the CCIs contribute 3% to national GDP and close to 1 million jobs is well known.

The South African Cultural Observatory and the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation, in partnership with GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) and the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture hosted a dialogue and workshop at the Tshimologong Precinct on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on the creative industries on 13 March 2024.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture EC together with the national department invited the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) and various stakeholders such as CCIFSA, EC Arts Veterans, ECPACC and Bayworld Museum etc within the sector to convene for an information sharing session aimed at capacitating the department to better represent this sector on a local and international level with a further focus on building active relationships between the department and representing organisations.

Sport, arts & culture NNMU University of KwaZulu-Natal Rhodes University