South African Cultural Observatory

Diversity & the decolonisation of SA’s creative industries

BY 28.06.17

IT WAS Youth Month in June – and a time for critical reflection on the role the youth, a perennial target of and key player in the creative and cultural industries (CCI). An academic view of the youth’s participation and shaping of the CCIs was profiled at the SACO Conference in May in a special session on youth perspectives on the creative economy. Mary Duker from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University presented five case studies on ‘Facilitating young artist participation in the emergent creative economy in Nelson Mandela Bay’. Thobile Chittenden from Room 13 interrogated the youth’s role in a tech-dominated world in her paper, ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution: How it Impacts Our Youth and The Importance of Art’. Dr Elizabeth Vale from the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection looked at ‘The Creative Economy After Dark: Youth Power and Creativity in Johannesburg Nightclubs.’ Lastly, Botswana-based Calvin Boasilong from Ideas Expo Botswana spoke about creativity as the new frontier for African economic activity. The youth are the future of the CCIs – and one that should be ignored at the peril of the industries. Download their presentations here. Some youth perspectives follow for you this June newsletter.

Diversity & the decolonisation of SA’s creative industries

Rebone Masemola writes about her experience of future-proofing the creative industries and encouraging diversity in reaching diverse audiences.  According to a Nielsen and ipsos study (2016) “three-quarters of black millennials say they're more likely to consider a brand that positively reflects black culture because black representation matters to them”.  Masemola argues that regardless of the struggle around ensuring transformation happens, the need is dire to ensure the suitability or future-proofing of advertising as an industry. “Thus digital can easily render the traditional industry models redundant if things stay the same. Consuming content from non-traditional platforms like Youtube is a growing trend because black millennials feel included, they actually have a voice and room to choose whatever media best represents them. If agencies continue to be run as is, less and less of us (black consumers) would continue to consume and support an industry that undermines the very essence of who we are. And we now have more young black creatives either freelancing or starting up their own creative agencies because they refuse to be undervalued. So if transformation doesn’t happen, then the black millennials who would form 70% of the workforce by 2020, would make it financially unviable for brands to spend their money with advertisers who refuse to change. History has taught us that companies are only ever willing to change when their ideological standpoint starts to affect their bottom-line.” Read more

African sport reimagined

Nigel Gibson analyses the role of sport, using the example of soccer and a Fanonian lens, to paint a picture of what an ideal sport environment would look like on the continent.  Fanon’s remarks on sport in The Wretched of the Earth, Gibson notes, have been little discussed. Fanon writes, “The youth of Africa should not be oriented toward the stadiums but towards the fields, the fields and the schools. The stadium is not an urban showpiece but a rural space that is cleared, worked and offered to the nation. The capitalist notion of sports is fundamentally different from that which should exist in an underdeveloped country”/ One can only imagine what Fanon would have made of soccer today, especially that it has become so hugely popular and so driven by money, says Gibson. But sport remains social therapy – how can it be used on the continent to build bridges, create social cohesion and bring to life the scenario Fanon dreamed of, where: “The African politician should not be concerned with producing professional sportspeople, but conscious individuals who also practice sports.” Read more.

Keeping the creative industry diverse

Bonita Darkoh muses on race, the importance of company culture, the advertising industry and diversity. “Diversity in the workplace is essential, especially in the advertising industry. I began to ask myself why is there a minority disparity in the creative industry. Then I began to think, why wouldn’t there be? I am not saying this is the only reason why, but from a young age certain industries were viewed as money-making; the creative industry was not one I remember being mentioned. Being young I thought the adults that advised knew it all! Not to forget, some minorities feel the media continue to portray their communities, music and lifestyle in a negative light. Did all these reasons that came to mind really influence the choice of industry in the BAME community? Read more

CCIs outline key priorities for Brexit negotiations

THE United Kingdom Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has called on the government to become a “global-facing” nation after it leaves the European Union. The federation recently outlined its demands to government as Brexit negotiations commence. CIF’s Brexit ‘red lines’ urge the government both to guarantee the rights for EU nationals currently working in the UK, and to retain freedom of movement for EU workers, people in touring exhibitions and shows, and those working in education. The creative sector membership organisation also calls on the government to remain part of the EU single market and customs union and to preserve EU intellectual property regulations, as well as reciprocal market access for film, TV and audio-visual distribution. The calls are distilled from a report published by the federation in October, and identify critical issues for the creative industries as the country prepares to exit the EU. Read more.



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