Africa tourism

Joburg wants to play a central role in reviving the creative industry

I saw the children’s focused eyes on the actors on stage, allowing no distracting noise outside the tiny rooms that dot some of Soweto’s townships to deter them as they devoured a sumptuous performance.

I have also witnessed the transformation of “difficult” children into upright citizens in their communities after they immersed themselves in discipline and focused 100% on the arts. The stories about the healing powers of the creative arts are too numerous to tell here.

The arts play a vital role in shaping the imagination and creativity in society. A song transports you to unforgettable moments in your life. An image evokes thousands of emotions and can inspire change in society. A great work of art or a photograph can spark debate and help society reassess long-held values ​​and beliefs.

During apartheid, the photo of one of the first victims of the June 16 student uprising, Hector Pieterson, taken by legendary photographer Sam Nzima, distilled the collective trauma of black people in South Africa and helped shape memory collective of societies. of the apartheid state.

The city of Johannesburg has come a long way trying to keep arts and culture alive and thriving. Budget allocation issues, lack of security and vandalism have made it difficult to maintain valuable art spaces such as the Joburg Art Gallery in pristine condition. Budgetary constraints have also limited the ability of the city’s theaters to develop new talent.

In an impoverished environment that Joburg currently finds itself in, the debate will always be “how to allocate money to the arts when people have no housing, no food and “essential infrastructure such as roads are collapsing”. It’s a difficult balancing act that requires being sensitive to the needs of people on the ground and going beyond lofty intellectual debates.

The arts are sometimes perceived as a vanity project that does not add value. This narrative must change. According to the World Economic Forum, the cultural industry globally generates $2.25 trillion (about R35.15 billion) in revenue, or 3% of global GDP and generates some 29.5 million jobs in the world.

The potential for the creative industry to contribute significantly to the South African economy through tourism and direct job creation is immense. The city of Joburg is playing its part in reviving the cultural industry which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. In May and June, the City’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Department will host several artistic and cultural performances.

The Soweto Theater celebrated 10 years of storytelling and will offer a year-long program filled with poetry, comedy, plays and music on Africa Day, May 25, 2022. Visit the theater in Soweto for details.

Rasta the Artists, real name Linda Sirenje, is one of South Africa’s most controversial artists, known for painting portraits honoring South African celebrities. His personal exhibition will take place on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Museum Africa.

The Emerging Editor’s Workshop will take place at Museum Africa from May 31 to June 3. The workshop will devote time to exploring the issues faced by emerging publishers in the country.

The Ceramics Development Program workshop from June 6-11 at Lieberman Studious, highlights the nuances and techniques of creating ceramics. To register for the workshop, contact [email protected]

The Creative Native Vintage and Motor Show will take place on May 28, 2022 at the James Hall Museum. This cultural event will feature an outdoor vintage car show held

On May 28-29, 2022, Open Studious Joburg will spotlight seven art buildings across the historic CBD and beyond. Shuttle services will be able to transport visitors to the various art studios. Getting around with Drew Lindsay’s Public Works Mosaic Master Bus Tour will take place on June 4th. For more information, please contact Mari Steenkamp at [email protected]

Written by Councilor Ronald Harris
Cllr Harris is a member of the Mayor’s Committee for Community Development for the City of Johannesburg