The team at the South African Cultural Observatory wishes to extend their sincere congratulations to Mr Nathi Mthethwa as the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture.


The appointment comes at a time when South Africa celebrates 25 Years of Democracy and as we observe Africa Month in recognition of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (a precursor to the African Union). As the last country to be liberated on the continent, Africa month is particularly significant for the country as it gives us an opportunity to reflect on our cultural integration with the rest of the continent, to promote African unity, deeper regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny.


The arts and creative industry is at the centre of these celebrations as it is common practice in Africa that our celebrations are portrayed through arts and cultural expressions.


The Minister’s appointment comes just as the country is about to observe the Youth Month. The majority of participants in the sports, arts and culture industries are the youth, a section of our population that requires continuous investment to ensure that we build a globally competitive nation. Having been a youth leader himself, the Minister has a deeper appreciation of the challenges and prospects this section of our society might have. 


The SA Cultural Observatory is confident that in his new portfolio, the Minister will benefit and be enriched by research outputs we continuously produce. One such report is our recent report on South Africa’s Cultural Goods Trade with Africa. Titled ‘South Africa’s cultural goods trade with Africa: policies and trade potentials in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.


For example, the report indicates that our overall deficit in cultural goods trade has narrowed markedly in the period 2014-2017 in favour of South Africa. This is due to persistent cultural good export growth (especially in the Visual Arts and Crafts domain) coupled with weak or declining import growth.


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. 


The full report can be found by clicking here.

We look forward to the continuous positive and engaging working partnership with the new minister. 

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