Heritage, Arts & Culture

Arts and responsibility – no cart blanche approach

on Thursday, 30 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Art is classified as part of the freedom of expression. Pundits rave about artistic expression that should allow artists space to challenge the norms. The question is: what are the responsibilities that artists should always be mindful of when expressing themselves (through arts). In South Africa, artistic freedom is not carte blanche. In arts, like in any other profession, there are standing ethical codes that must be adhered to. Art is a noble craft. It depicts a story that reflects certain aspects of society. Art is hardly neutral and, in most cases, not innocent. But in can’t be a “do as you please” form of art.

Cultivating positive culture in disadvantaged communities

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Gansterism and drug abuse are usually more prevalent in disadvantaged communities than in affluent societies. A culture of car hijacking and celebrated thuggery is akin with people in marginalised communities. This should be tackled head on and a positive culture should be cultivated in these communities. Initiatives like Metro FM’s Men in the Making and Playing for Change should be encouraged to reach out to remote communities. There are tendencies to concentrate such initiatives in affluent communities. Culture is about the mindset, and if the mindset of drug abuse, gang-rape and gangsterism is not arrested the country will continue perpetuating negative culture in this communities.

Culture of ukuhlolwa (virginity testing) – the pros and cons

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

It would be foolhardy to discard every cultural practice just because it’s perceived to be old and not that “classy”. One cultural practice in question is ukuhlolwa, virginity testing. This cultural practice is prevalent mainly in remote rural communities of KwaZulu Natal. In this practice, young maidens avail themselves to elderly women to be checked if they are engaging in penetrative sexual activities. In a country with high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, and where abstinence is preached as a prevention strategy for HIV transmission a culture of ukuhlolwa could be a solution. The question is whether the practice is done within acceptable hygiene and human rights standards.

 

From our divisive part – South Africans forging unity through arts and cultural events

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Arts bridges any divide. The leadership of the great Nelson Mandela saw an opportunity in arts, sports and cultural events and advanced unity amongst South Africans. Various forms of arts have fast-tracked the bridging of different cultures in many ways. Through music, for instance, it is common to find collaborations between diverse cultures. Jonny Clegg, a guitarist maestro who was once dubbed a “white Zulu” because of his maskanda artistic prowess collaborated with Sipho Mchunu, another maskandi great, and formed Juluka. Juluka transcended cultural divides and unified the white and back races during apartheid years.

 

Gender perspective for effective leadership and management

on Thursday, 30 January 2014. Posted in Leadership & Management, Heritage, Arts & Culture

No matter how progressive constitutional democracy can be, the evil of patriarchy still shows its ugly head now and again when it comes to acknowledging woman leadership in society. South Africa is relatively progressive when it comes to being gender aware in leadership and management roles. Women leaders have been assigned critical responsibilities, and these include being Premiers and heading critical institutions like the Reserve Bank. In 2011 UNDP and the SA government gender focal point commissioned Gender Links to facilitate a nationwide training programme for women councillors to prepare them for leadership and management tasks before the 2011 local government elections. A noble programme indeed. (106 words)

Our country and cultural diplomacy for Africa

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Cultural diplomacy is very important for South Africa in its role in Africa. This is about building a continent that safeguards its heritage and encourages its arts as part of sustainable development. African countries have culture that defines their respective national identities. It is through individual country’s cultural diplomacy that the country is able to engage with fellow African countries on issues of cultural exchange to build cultural relationships. The SA Ministry of Arts wants to use cultural diplomacy to “build the African continent that treasures democracy”. Having been recently given the responsibility to lead the AU, South Africa cannot afford to fail on cultural diplomacy.

 

Social cohesion through arts, heritage and culture

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Art is always used as a weapon to challenge norms in liberal societies. Those who resort to art to challenge certain issues find themselves in the firing line most of the time. South Africa is a country with deep scars from our divisive past. Having mended social tensions through artistic creativity displayed during the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 AFCON tournaments, the social cohesion showed signs of disintegration when the Brett Murray’s Spear portrait and Zapiro’s cartoon of President Jacob Zuma’s erect penis hit the public space. The Department of Arts & Culture has recently organised a conference to mend social cohesion.

 

Supplementing artistic innate talent with modern skills

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

As the saying goes, talent on its own won’t take one anywhere. There is no doubt that the South African arts industry is abundant with inborn artistic talent. The rich performing and visual arts industries that Mzantsi boasts with today come from raw talent. While theatre became the “university of drama and performance” for artists to hone their skills, the country has also invested immensely in institutions to develop inborn talent with modern artistic skills. The National Skills Academy for the Arts is one such institution to develop artists with entrepreneurial skills to understand the industry better.

 

The power of arts 1 – Telling the South African story through storytelling

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Once upon a time grandmothers would seat their grandchildren around the fireplace in the evenings and start telling them folk stories. Some would be stories about tricksters and how they would end up being punished. Others would be stories about greed, i.e. how big animals would dupe smaller and weaker animals and help themselves to all the foods. There would also be pure entertainment stories and the audiences would be left in stitches. The culture of storytelling still prevails in South Africa. The added value nowadays is that storytelling is a professional art form, and artists are making a living out of it.

 

Visual arts in South Africa – taking its rightful place in the Heritage, Arts & Culture sector

on Friday, 31 January 2014. Posted in Heritage, Arts & Culture

Painting. Sculpture. Photography. Filmmaking. Architecture. Crafts. These are forms of art that are categorised as Visual Arts in the Heritage, Arts & Culture sector. In modern terminology these artistic forms also embrace fine arts as well as applied and decorative arts. Generally, art in South Africa is understood as performing arts, i.e. music, dance, theatre and/or drama. Visual arts are often relegated to secondary forms of art. In fact visual art is often interpreted as only paintings and statuettes. It is therefore critical that resources are invested to popularise visual art as integral part of heritage, arts and culture industry.

 

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