Minister Anroux Marais' speech at the 2018 Cultural Affairs Awards ceremony
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
CULTURAL AFFAIRS AWARDS
3 MARCH 2018
Good evening, molweni nonke, goeienaand,
It is an absolute pleasure and, I must say, privilege to address such a colourful audience at the auspicious occasion of our Cultural Affairs Awards ceremony this evening.
This evening once again personifies the immense power cultural affairs and especially the celebration thereof has to unite different groups of individuals. Tonight, we are reminded about the beauty that lies in our diversity. We see it in the various garments, dress codes, language varieties spoken, differing cultural backgrounds and all other expressions under one roof, together honouring exceptional leaders in our cultural sphere. I am sure you will agree it is quite simply, beautiful.
It is no secret that our political landscape is currently shifting and while other departments are in limbo due to demand outweighing supply as a result of budget cuts, our department continues to rebuild a once divided nation through cultural affairs and sport with the very limited funds available to us.
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.
All nominated and awarded here this evening have played a pivotal role in responding to the despondence and hopelessness South Africans collectively felt at one point. At a time when we are faced with a climate of protests, cultural differences and negative news, the promotion of our cultural expressions have and will continue to be a supporting tool to incorporate a mutual understanding of and respect for our unique backgrounds. It is no small feat to be awarded this evening as the winners not only had strong competition amongst the nominees but were also adjudicated by an independent committee. The awards bestowed on deserving nominees provide an opportunity to proudly showcase the assortment of the cultural landscape of the Western Cape and those who work tirelessly to make this possible. Our culture defines our identity, even though it has different meanings to different people; it is a significant part of our heritage which has been passed down through many generations. 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. One can only imagine the profound impact if we were all as united in our diversity as we are tonight in all spheres of our daily lives.
I congratulate each nominee and especially those awarded this evening. As we commemorate the centenary of Tata Madiba this year, we keep in mind his iconic legacy and remember his words, and I quote, “Our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our nation”. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have been pleased with each nominees’ special ability to bridge diversity and nurture tolerance so that we understand and respect our differences and embrace cultural inclusivity. In this way we collaboratively offer the people of the Western Cape the opportunity to discover and acknowledge rising stars in their cultural spaces, which ultimately accelerates unity, nation building and acceptance. All of which is much needed in our beloved country today.
I now 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 we celebrate many of the leaders and organizations’ in the arts and culture sector I want to pay tribute to the excellent work many of you do in closing the opportunity gap between resourced and under resourced learners. We know that many of our learners miss out on educational input by the time they reach high school. Through dance, drama and other art forms, learners are afforded an opportunity to close the gap. We need you all to reach out to learners and join the movement to ensure every learner has access to rounded, quality education both in and after school.
I also encourage all present, regardless of political affiliation, differing cultural backgrounds or even job descriptions, to increase trust, social inclusion and confidence in the human spirit to contribute to the enrichment of our communities and the wellbeing of the South African condition.
Ek dank u, enkosi, I thank you.