About 11 million jobs could be created in the creative arts industry by 2030, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
“Many people know what the mining and agriculture sectors contribute to the GDP of the country – however, few people know and understand what the creative industry brings to GDP.
“Eleven million more jobs will be created in 2030,” Mthethwa said.
He was addressing academics, politicians and artists who gathered at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday for the two-day international conference of the South African Cultural Observatory (Saco).
Mthethwa said that in 2013 the sector had experienced a 6.7% rise in employment and urged delegates to look beyond the celebration of art and culture.
“We recognise the potential of culture and creative industry as a social transformative sector that provides jobs, drives innovation and allows many young people to make a living,” he said.
The department conceptualised the establishment of Saco as part of the Mzansi Golden strategy.
The purpose was to provide the government with information to assess the scope, composition and potential for creative economy.
“For too long the contribution [of] arts and culture has been under-appreciated,” Mthethwa said.
Under the theme, “Beyond the creative economy”, delegates – some from overseas – will deliberate critical ways of influencing the direction of the creative economy of South Africa and the world.
“South Africa’s resilience, diversity and creativity have been pivotal for our development over the centuries.
“Our expression in music, dance, food, ritual, arts, and crafts have allowed us to overcome many trials and triumph even when the odds were stacked against us.
“Our culture is deeply rooted in the principle of ubuntu – I am what I am because of who we all are,” he said.
Time and time again, Mthethwa said, South Africans had stood together.
Now was the time to leverage and take the country into a new dawn.
“Gone are the days when this sector remained on a pedestal.
“We should be more systematic and scientific.
“We recognise the potential for development,” Mthethwa said. Professor Jen Snowball, of Rhodes University’s economics and economic history department, said the institution had conducted research.
One of its major questions was how big cultural employment was in South Africa’s creative sector.
“This is not something that disappeared.
“It has always been there, but we never analysed the sector.
“Jobs were always there, but embedded in other areas.”