South African Cultural Observatory

Young, free and creative

BY Richard Haines 29.06.17

YOUNG people will shape the cultural and creative economy of the future. While they have always been at the forefront of the culture and content of cool, now more than ever it is important to consider the value, power and role of the youth in building and sustaining this economy. 

With Youth Month  bringing the importance of young people into sharp focus, it's important to consider their impact on the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sectors and the creative and cultural industries (CCIs) as the opportunities and threats of the fourth industrial revolution make themselves manifest. 

 Our 2017 National Conference really worked hard to incorporate youth perspectives. To this end, we collaborated with the Market Theatre Foundation to create a seamless conference ‘precinct experience’ in Newtown that favours the students at the Market Theatre Laboratory and the Market Photo Workshop, and other creative youth.

Four young, black women photographers were hired to capture the conference proceedings, adding to their portfolios and client experience. Two groups of 25 theatre performance students a surprised conference goers with cameo performance; and other students worked with the SACO Conference team to manage the conference over the two days gaining invaluable insight into how to run an event.

The youth flavour extended past this collaboration to include the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company which performed at the conference. Bokani Dyer with his trio and guests – including Zoe Modiga – played at the conference evening cocktail function at the Market Theatre.

The cocktail function on the evening of May 24 kept with the youth theme, as guests moved from jazz to theatre with a choice of either Can Themba’s The Suit, directed by James Ngcobo, or Wits School of Art’s performance of Kgafela oa Magogodi’s satirical play Chilahaebolae.

In addition we had a really strong youth focused programme with a whole session dedicated to 'Youth and Development for the Creative Economy' - and which featured some promising young researchers and practitioners, including Dr Beth Vale from the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra), Tobile Chitteden from Room 13, Calvin Bosilong from Ideas Expo Botswana and Mary Duker from Nelson Mandela University. 

 Through this conference we achieved much of what we set out to do, in terms of gaining a broad idea of the current trends shaping the creative economy and development here and further afield. We also stimulated debate while profiling the potential of the creative industry as a powerful economic driver - and considered the youth angle. This is something we will endeavour to do throughout the next year as we run a nationwide roadshow of domain workshops and gera up for the 2018 National Conference.  

Update on SACO activities

It's been non-stop and a seamless transition from the National Conference planning and execution into putting the final touches on the domain workshop planning, which start next month in East London. We are also commissioning research on mapping and monitoring and evalution studies. It's our third and final year of our contract with the Department of Arts and Culture and there is much ground to cover, with our priority shifting almost entirely to delivering our major research outcomes. Watch this space as we reach out to you as a sector and industry to participate in mapping the existing and future potential of the creative and cultural economy. 

Until then, enjoy the June edition of The Cultural Observer.

Your Culturalist,

Prof. Richard Haines

South African Cultural Observatory: CEO

Celebrating Creative Women Celebrating Creative Women

WOMEN are, in many ways, shaping the future of the creative industries. Last year Prof Jen Snowball, SACO Chief Research Strategist, compressed data from National Mapping Study of the creative and cultural industries released in 2014, and published this article in The Conversation – From the stage to the boardroom: South African women make slow transition.

Changing the world Changing the world

NELSON Mandela once said: ‘I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.’ In July the incredible leader was front and centre as we not only celebrated his birthday through the now globally renowned 67 Minutes and Mandela Day initiative, but also in the re-naming of Nelson Mandela University.


#SACOConf2017 - it's a wrap! #SACOConf2017 - it's a wrap!

THE #SACOConf2017 was a real celebration of the current and future potential of the creative economy. Please enjoy this special edition newsletter which focuses on highlighting some of the speeches and insights offered - and which also covers the emerging trends, the critical debates and access to the presentations.

Conference to capture creative economy trends Conference to capture creative economy trends

IT’S ALL systems go for the second South African Cultural Observatory National Conference on May 24 and 25 in Johannesburg. We are very excited to present a dynamic and varied programme – featuring a wide range of global, African and local speakers and perspectives; especially since it’s Africa Day on May 25.


More News
Special Award recipients at 20th BASA Awards Special Award recipients at 20th BASA Awards

HUMAN rights activist Justice Albie Sachs, the Swiss cultural centre Pro Helvetia, and law firm Webber Wentzel have been honoured with BASA Special Awards.

SAFEIC Calculator Video Tutorial Now Available SAFEIC Calculator Video Tutorial Now Available

The South African Cultural Observatory is excited to announce the release of a training video on the use of the SAFEIC Calculator. The South African Festivals Economic Impact Calculator (SAFEIC) is a free online tool developed by the South African Cultural Observatory specifically for cultural festival and event organisers so they can track the economic impact of their events. The SAFEIC is designed to be used to estimate the economic impact of a festival on a host economy. It has been carefully, and conservatively, designed so as to produce results that are as reliable and valid as possible for a wide range of events – provided the data that is inputted is as accurate as possible.

Three Solo shows: Turiya Magadlela, Bronwyn Katz and Herman Mbamba At Blank Projects Three Solo shows: Turiya Magadlela, Bronwyn Katz and Herman Mbamba At Blank Projects

RELOCATED to larger premises in Woodstock, Blank Projects is a wonderful space for art. In this premier show, three artists present distinct methods and processes that may be understood in various ways. Magadlela’s “Wabana lapho isifebe, wangena kuso” employs pantyhose on canvas to great effect; Katz uses bed wiring and Mbamba uses acrylics within the context of torn pages from Norwegian fashion magazines.

19 Days in September: Steve Biko Exhibition 19 Days in September: Steve Biko Exhibition

AN exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the death and immediate aftermath of the murder of Steve Biko by security police in South Africa in September 1977, opened in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, on Tuesday 12 September at noon.

Youth Expression Festival 2018 call out Youth Expression Festival 2018 call out

THE South African State Theatre’s Education, Youth and Children Theatre (EYCT) Department will be celebrating the 10th Youth Expressions Festival in 2018. In celebrating a decade of staging young people’s professional work, and commemorating the struggles fought by the youth of 1976, professional young art practitioners are invited to propose their work of art to be part of the festival, which will be divided into the Main and Fringe programs.

Connect with us