Minister Anroux Marais' Speech at the 18th Cultural Affairs Awards | Western Cape Government


Minister Anroux Marais' Speech at the 18th Cultural Affairs Awards

10 March 2019



9 MARCH 2019


Good evening, molweni nonke, goeienaand,

It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to address such a colourful audience at the auspicious occasion of our Cultural Affairs Awards ceremony this evening. Our diverse identity is indeed reflected in all of us here tonight.

At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), we strive to promote, advocate for and preserve cultural affairs and we cannot do so successfully and more importantly, sustainably without honouring those who ardently drives this very vision, mindful of all who call the Western Cape home. Tonight, we officially acknowledge, sincerely honour and celebrate with much admiration all of you and your proactive efforts to enhance the lives of others through cultural affairs.

As we reflect on our identity, first and foremost as human beings, I call to mind the dialogue on the 4th industrial revolution which has become increasingly more prevalent in the South African conversation as a result of its global implications. In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Ramaphosa announced his appointment of a Presidential Commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution as a plan “to ensure that we effectively and with greater urgency harness technological change in pursuit of inclusive growth and social development”. While there exists much confusion and uncertainty around what exactly the 4th Industrial Revolution is and how it will affect civilization, one thing is clear, the arts and cultural affairs will need to take centre stage as a proactive response to the rapid changes underway.

As we celebrated the long service of our officials last night, I highlighted the fundamental role our Department has to fulfil as it delivers services which affords our province the opportunities to escape the cycles of poverty in our communities. Our department makes a significant difference in bringing about positive change to our communities. We improve the self-esteem of our youth and identify in them talents they would otherwise not explore. The nature of our business plays a powerful role in shaping, framing, communicating and influencing the future. In fact, according to the South African Cultural Observatory, “It is our responsibility to reflect, question, resist, review and rebuild when and where necessary. In short, it is our duty to reimagine the future”. Our department has made great strides in implementing a reimagined future in trying times, but we will fail in our objectives without our hardworking and passionate partners nominated here tonight.

At the start of 2018, Andrea Bandelli, the Executive Director of the Science Gallery International maintained that art finds itself right at the core of the activities shaping the 4th Industrial Revolution. He notes that “art and humanities are fundamental pillars of any education system and in today’s technology-dominated world, their contribution to the school curriculum is more important than ever”.  Concerted effort needs to be made to equip the present and future generations with the abilities to empathise, imagine, and create, and the key to develop these abilities is a life-long education that is interdisciplinary, cross-functional, cross-industry and cross-cultural.

Dit is van kardinale belang dat kuns by die onderwysstelsel inkorporeer word om die vaardigheidsleemte wat die volgende geslag in die gesig staar te verminder en die toekomstige leiers van ons land voor te berei.

Empatie, verbeelding en kreatiwiteit is egter nie net vir toekomstige leiers en werksgeleenthede belangrik nie. Ons het hierdie eienskappe nou reeds nodig om te verseker dat wetenskap en tegnologie op ’n mensgesentreerde manier ontwikkel word. Ons moet vandag oor ongelooflik gevorderde tegniese vaardighede beskik, sowel as die vermoë om komplekse morele kwessies te hanteer wat met hierdie tegnologieë gepaardgaan.

Slegs deur voorbereid te wees vir die hantering van hierdie kontroversiële tegnologieë kan ons seker maak dat ons deelneem aan betekenisvolle debatvoering wat die toekoms van ons gemeenskappe help vorm. Die tegnologiese deurbrake van die Vierde Industriële Revolusie kan ons samelewing meer volhoubaar en inklusief maak, of dit kan die morele leemtes in ons gemeenskappe vererger. Daar is egter nie ’n eenvoudige “ja/nee” of “goed/sleg” skakelaar nie; dit is nie ’n enkele besluit wat die uitwerking van tegnologie op die gemeenskap gaan bepaal nie, maar eerder ’n ontvouende proses wat bestaan uit gesprekvoering met verskillende belanghebbendes.

Dit is waarom die kragtige uitwerking en invloed van kuns en geesteswetenskappe die grondslag vorm van tegnologiese prosesse om hierdie debatvoering te stimuleer, te lei en te ondersteun. Yo-Yo Ma stel dit baie duidelik: “Ons kan nie bloot net kultuuraktiwiteite aan die kunstenaars en musikante uitkontrakteer en dit dan as ’n passiewe gehoor ontvang nie – dit is nie genoeg nie. Ons moet omgaan met die totale omvang en spektrum van maniere waarop mense die wêreld waarneem en elkeen van ons moet op ’n permanente basis aktief deelneem aan aktiwiteite wat ons kultuurhulpbronne versterk en uitbou.”

Today more than ever, art is essential to build an emotional framework to make sense of the dialogues at the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Art and culture build trust, the trust needed to bridge conflicting views and interests, to overcome current barriers and obstacles with dynamic and innovative approaches, and to understand the values that are embedded in any process of technological innovation.

Art triggers us to have those “calm, constructive and even uncomfortable conversations on the kind of future we want”, as advocated by Professor Klaus Schwab. Art and culture are catalysts for these conversations, constant reminders that we need to engage in them; and a reason, a reminder, and sometimes an excuse, not to shy away from them. 

All nominated and awarded here this evening have played and will continue to play a pivotal role in responding to the needs a better future requires.  The Western Cape would not be the same without our distinctive culture and for this reason we celebrate it by recognising those who keep it alive.

Together, we are in the business of building a nation, inspiring hope and motivating better versions of those we serve through cultural manifestation and creating an enabling environment in which it can flourish.

I congratulate each nominee and especially those awarded this evening and take this opportunity to profusely thank each and every nominee for selflessly reigniting hope and inspiration in our communities. The significant strides made to unite our nation will go down in our record books and further acknowledged in time to come as you have been making valuable contributions to the anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I leave you with the words of Phylicia Rashad, “Before a child talks, they sing. Before they write, they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression”. Thank you for affording the expression of humanity.

Ek dank u, enkosi, I thank you.

Click here for the winners.

Click here for background on the ceremony.

Media Enquiries: 
Stacy McLean

Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171