South African Cultural Observatory National Conference


The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) 2017 National Conference is proud to be bringing together a distinguished and diverse group of presenters, speakers and conference attendees.

Master of Ceremonies

Masasa Mbangeni

SA Cultural Observatory National Conference MC

Masasa Mbangeni

Masasa Mbangeni is a South African actor, MC & theatre maker born and bred in Port Elizabeth.

She holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand . A former Mandela Rhodes Scholar, Masasa has a special interest in promoting the transformative power of the Arts through the work she does. Renowned for her work as " Thembeka" on etv flagship soapie, Scandal!, for which she won Best Actress at the 2015 SAFTA and Royalty Awards respectively, Masasa now focuses her energy on theatre with aspiration of one day directing her own work.


 International Speakers

Professor Lluis Bonet, Director of the Cultural Management Programme, University of Barcelona

How to go about developing a creative economy – the strategy – examples from Spain

Lluís Bonet is professor of applied economy at the University of Barcelona, specialized in cultural economics, cultural policies and arts management. He is the Director of the Cultural Management Graduate program (with a PhD, two Master degrees and four long live learning programs in the field). Bonet plans to share insights from Spain’s attempts to grow its creative economy; and generally European Union experiences in cultural economics and policy. He will provide an account of what Spain is currently doing to use its assets and space to grow artists and businesses, and provide guidelines as to how these practices can be adopted and adapted to developing economies. Read more


Erez Lieberman Aiden Director of the Rice University Culturomics Cultural Observatory, Houston

Quantitative Analysis of Culture

Erez Lieberman Aiden received his PhD from Harvard and MIT in 2010. After several years at Harvard's Society of Fellows and at Google as Visiting Faculty, he became Assistant Professor of Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Rice University. Recognised around the world for his contribution to science, medicine and cultural change, Aiden is a renowned inventor, scientist and academic, and has been lauded as ‘America’s brightest young academic’. Read more


Andres Gribnicow, Undersecretary of Creative Economy, Ministry of Culture (Argentina)

The ‘Creative Argentinean’

Andres Gribnicow, is responsible for the National Directorates of Creative Industries, Cultural Entrepreneurship and Cultural Innovation and has vast experience in the management of cultural, social and economic projects related with NGOs, public and private art and design organisations. He is also Undersecretary of Creative Economy, in the Ministry of Culture. His paper which examines the ‘and calls for the promotion of talent and creativity as engines of economic development in the country, stands to provide some interesting perspectives regarding the cultural economy of the global south. Read more


Geoffrey Wood, Professor of International Business, at the University of Essex

The Twilight of Liberal Markets, and What It Means for Economy, Culture and Society

With a PhD from Rhodes University, Geoff Wood academic career in South Africa. As the current Dean of the Essex Business School, Wood’s latest research explores the relationship between institutional mediation, economy, society and the firm, and traces the long causes and consequences of the unanticipated and unprecedented political and economic crisis in the United States and the United Kingdom (U.K.) – and what this means for the rest of the world. He has lectured in International Business, HRM, Strategy, Organization Behaviour, International Business, Ethics, and Quantitative Research Methods, etc., at postgraduate (MBA/MSc/MA) and undergraduate levels, to both full-time and part-time/practitioner students.  He is also currently in involved in doctoral supervision of a panel of students with an interest in international business, and have supervised six doctorates to completion.


Rafal Kasprzak

Rafal Kasprzak, PhD Assistant Professor

Rafal Kasprzak (PhD, Assistant Professor, ). Researcher and academic teacher at the Warsaw School of Economics in Warsaw (Poland), working at the Institute of Management. An author of many research and economics projects focusing on the issue of innovation and cooperation between creative sector and business. He has professional experience in the areas of business consulting for the creative and cultural industries and in the management of innovation projects. Read More


Africa Speakers

BK Nyathi

Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi, Programs Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre

Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi is Programs Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC), a community based heritage enterprise in the rural Matobo District of Zimbabwe. Through curating participatory cultural activities such as traditional games, dance and music, Butho is passionate about preserving and promoting tangible and intangible indigenous cultural heritage. Read more



Bamuturaki Musinguzi, Ugandan professional journalist and cultural economist

Musinguzi is a Ugandan professional journalist and cultural economist. He has close to 23 years of professional experience in news reporting with various local and international media houses based in Kampala, Uganda.

Currently, he is a Special Correspondent with The EastAfrican and Freelance Writer with the Daily Monitor newspapers both published by the Nation Media Group.  He is also a Freelance Correspondent with the New African Magazine, Published by IC Publications, London, U.K, among others. Read more


Banele Lukhele

Banele Lukhele, freelance educator, writer and composer

Banele Lukhele is a freelance educator, writer and composer. She self-published her first novella in 2010, called My Name is Grace. She then went on to complete a Bachelor of Music at the University of Witwatersrand majoring in composition and research. In her honours year, 2014, Banele worked as the program assistant for the South Africa Washington International Program, a leadership development programme. Parallel to this, she has been involved in private education as well as volunteering; her main subjects are Mathematics, English, Life Skills/Life Orientation and Music. Read more



Calvin Bosilong, Marketing Professional

Calvin Bosilong is an accomplished marketing professional who has a unique and exceptional ability to deliver highly creative solutions and campaigns to drive business growth. He is an accomplished marketing professional who has a unique and exceptional ability to deliver highly creative solutions and campaigns to drive business growth. He has worked in virtually every conceivable product category imaginable.

He is the Founding Partner and a Creative Director at WOWFACTOR AFRICA, a creative consultancy based in Gaborone, Botswana.  Calvin is also the founder of Ideas Expo Botswana, a marketing platform that combines the best of creativity, business and technology to instigate projects that have a great social and economic impact. Ideas Expo has been running for seven years, it has hosted conferences, competitions and exhibitions to nurture talent that is the lifeblood of the industry. Read more


South African Speakers

Shukri Toefy

Shukri Toefy, Chief Executive Officer at Fort

Decolonising Africa's Creative Economy

Shukri Toefy is an entrepreneur, strategist and opinion leader in business and brand communication. He is the co-founder and CEO of Fort, working with CCO and director Amr Singh based in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a degree in Law and Business from the University of Cape Town, Shukri’s analytical approach lead him to leadership positions in businesses and global brand campaigns in South Africa early on in his career. Shukri is a dynamic leader and strategist with the ability to drive change, motivate and inspire. Known for entrenching a culture of growth and unlocking value, Shukri has been hailed as a pioneer in creating an in-sourcing model for film, media and creative services in South Africa. Read more


Dr Lee Watkins

Dr Lee Watkins, Director of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown

Dr Lee Watkins is an Ethnomusicologist and he is currently serving as the Director of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) in Grahamstown. His main research interest is music studies in relation to heritage, development, conservation, tradition and popular music. His presentation at this conference is based on fieldwork undertaken by himself, students and local fieldworkers, and describes ways in which Ethnomusicology could assist with the social and economic development of a rural based community.


Elizabeth O Connor

Elizabeth O’Connor

Johannesburg Live Music Audiences: Exploring the motivations for, and barriers to, young people attending and consuming live music in small to medium venues

I am Elizabeth (Beth) O'Connor. Born in Australia, I have lived and worked in the UK, Australia and across Africa for the past 15 years. Trained as a marketing and communications professional, I have pivoted my career in the past six years towards the art and creative sectors with a strong focus on youth and diverse audiences. I have a global perspective working on parallel projects in the Global South and North.  Read More


Carmen Pool

Carmen Poole

Carmen Poole holds a MComm degree in Tourism Management, and has been an employee of Unisa, Africa’s leading open distance learning institution since 2012, and a lecturer since 2014. As a developing researcher, she has published, as a co-author, three articles in accredited journals and one chapter in a textbook. Currently, Ms Poole is registered at Unisa for a doctoral degree in logistics and supply chain, and completed an extra qualification in logistics and transport management in 2014. Read more



Mphikeleli Mnguni, Department of Arts and Culture

Mphikeleli obtained MA from Rhodes University and MBA from Tshwane Business School. Currently is enrolled for PhD with Wits University focusing on government service delivery in order to improve performance of creative SMMEs in South Africa. He is employed by the Department of Arts and Culture of the South African government.




Business and Arts South Africa NPC

Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) NPC is an internationally recognised South African development agency with a suite of integrated programmes implemented nationally and internationally.  BASA encourages mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts, securing the future development of the arts sector in South Africa and contributing to corporate success through Shared Value.  BASA was founded in 1997 as a joint initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture and the business sector as a public/private partnership.  For more information on BASA, contact us on 011 447 2295 or visit our website:

The South African Cultural Observatory National Conference Programme is still under development. More speakers and the full programme will be announced in due course.

Cultural Observatory issues call for National Conference papers

January 31, 2017: THE SOUTH African Cultural Observatory (SACO) today announced the theme for its national conference of the arts, heritage and culture sectors.

2016 National Conference Highlights

Watch the SACO 'National Conference 2016 - Counting Culture' highlights video featuring interviews with some of the speakers and participants; and conference insights and lessons.

About the South African Cultural Observatory

Led by the Department of Arts and Culture, and hosted by NMMU, the SACO is a statistical research institute which charts the impact of the cultural and creative industries in South Africa.

Address: 21-23 Donkin Street, Donkin Creative Precinct, Central, Port Elizabeth
Tel: +27 (0)41 504 4930