Honourable Members of the House
Ladies and gentlemen in the public gallery
I was privileged to be part of the Portfolio Committee on the visit to the Italy and Angola in March and November last year (2017). There were many things that one learnt which our province can copy and imitate for the betterment of our communities.
On our first visit sit we were taken to the SA Embassy where it was recommended that a Bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in the fields of Arts, Culture, Education and Sports should be pro-actively implemented to support when areas where SA and Italy can work together has been identified. A follow-up on this is needed.
Another visit was paid to Nelson Mandela Library where it was identified that the library must collaborate with SA Embassy to come up with possible strategies to engage Italian public interested and partaking in Nelson Mandela Day and other South African historic events.
VISIT TO CULTURAL SITES & LIBRARIES
A visit was paid to Le Artigiane Exhibition Space and Eataly Market place. What a world class facility, that can be duplicated in our province. Such establishment will accommodate best artisans under one roof. Like Le Artigiane, it can host various events such as handcraft shows, personal or collective exhibitions, book presentations and workshops. An advance online store where artists register, sell and ship their South African culture inspired products all over the world. Such space can encourage potential and growing artists to produce personalised items made of natural materials instead of standardized products. This cannot happen over-night but if hard work and gathering of information could be put into work, unemployed talented youth could benefit from such space in the future.
Our province does have facility like Eataly market place where variety of province’s traditional food and products are sold to tourists and local people although more investment is needed into marketing and ensuring that the markets are known and visited by tourists.
Visit to Vatican City Cultural Site and MiBAC- Taught us that as a province must fight to have our heritage and cultural sites feature our iconic figures and promoted in the world space to attract more tourists. Our province must train and produce more experts in conservation and restoration as there is a scarcity of curators to store and preserve our heritage.
Government must be willing invest more funds to curb the inadequate commercialisation and advertisement of our art, culture and heritage both locally and internationally. Our diversified culture and heritage must be preserved, advertised and utilized all over the world. Also, in comparison to Italy, it was clear that the high crime rate in KwaZulu-Natal must be controlled to allow for tourists to pour into our cultural sites as it has proved to be the major challenge that hinder the growth of cultural and heritage related tourism.
Italian museums taught us that we should establish museums where poverty, violence, unemployment, racism and degradation would be depicted and discussed. Important lessons on how to preserve, collect, annotate and disseminate information could be learned in such museums. A central research and resource bank dealing with development issues should be established.
Italy has a Central State Institute of Global Database of Italian Libraries. This must be imitated in this country. An institute like this one will be responsible for managing all online catalogue of the country’s libraries and ensure delivery of national services. All universities and ordinary citizens will have access to the services of this institute. Small authors work will be recognized and accessible. We need to beef up our libraries, to fast track literacy and reading culture among youth.
Angolan arts, heritage and culture sectors are potentially rich but affected by the struggling economic sector and shortage of funding to keep it productive and running. Libraries and museums could attract millions of investments as it has rich black history including slave trade archives back dating to 18-20 centuries.
Over 70 percent of the people leave below poverty line and youth are dependent on their self-sufficient entrepreneurial skills and talents. Many have not waited on government to intervene but produce cultural items and food to sell for survival. Small retail trade is very important in people's survival strategies. Women are especially important in selling food, traditional items and firewood, and men predominate in trade in arms, diamonds, and spare parts. Many traditional ceremonies and cultural celebrations have disappeared or are held infrequently.
We got to also understand the background of “BLACK FRIDAY” that South Africans seem to celebrate without proper understanding. This black Friday boloney concept developed during black trade centuries, where black people were sold to highest bidders of white people from overseas. This culture should be condemned everywhere in our African continent as it reminds us of our painful history.
I thank you.