Good evening ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and nominees at the 22nd SAMA Awards,
The South African Music Awards are a celebration of excellence, creativity, innovation and development. While the Awards do reward individual talent, they are also a celebration of the strength and robustness of the South African music industry as a whole, demonstrating our world class abilities.
A critical part of the SAMAs is development; the recent master class in Inanda is just the start of a new focus of the event on bringing young people into the fold. Now in its 22nd year, the growth of the SAMAs is intertwined with our our resolve to improve the situation of youth in our country and to create a clear, coherent and outcomes focused development agenda. In any event, every artist is young, some may be young in age, others may have youthful aspirations, some are youthful in their illusions, and the rest of us are young at heart. All our investment has to be focused on our future, reaping the fruits by growing the opportunities for young people to participate meaningfully and contribute actively to the creative economy and the South African economy broadly.
Our creative industries mapping research in 2013 showed that Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are the powerhouses of the South African creative economy which contributes R90,5 billion Rand, equating to 2,9% to the country’s GDP. Gauteng contributes 35% to the GDP, with design and creative services, performance and celebration and audio-visual and interactive media driving economy. KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape which both contribute 14% to the national creative economy have different drivers, in KwaZulu-Natal it is visual arts and craft, followed by design and creative services and performance and celebration. In the Western Cape, design and creative industries are the largest contributor, followed by visual arts and craft and performance and celebration.
We see great growth potential here and in other provinces for the creative economy and will continue to invest in its development with a focus on transforming the industry. We are opening up the access and creating new opportunities through supporting local content, we are changing how rights regimes such as royalties benefit artists and we are focusing on artistic and entrepreneur development.
Local content is front and centre at the moment; the 90% local content policy adopted by the SABC is the subject of much discussion and debate. Our ultimate goal is 100%!
The recent changes by the SABC must be applauded and celebrated by all South Africans, and on the continent and the broader diaspora. This move opens up a space for local content previously dominated by international artists, it promotes social security by creating revenue streams for artists and in this way, local artists and by definition the local industry, will thrive.
Local content is not only an economic objective however; there is strong a social and cultural element. It shapes our consciousness and identity and by telling our own stories, and those of our fellow Africans, in our own way and on our own platforms we will be fulfilling our goal of social progress in our society.
Our message to you is that the 90% local content policy at the SABC is an opportunity; not a “blank cheque”. Talent must be found and nurtured from Musina to Cape Town. As a sector we must be in touch with our audience, be endlessly innovative and creative so that we can make the most of this opportunity. This opportunity must be effectively harnessed so that we can showcase our talent to the country and to the world for the benefit not just for ourselves, but for the entire nation.
In a salute to the greatest boxing legend of our time, Muhammed Ali; his own words – “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
All the best to all the nominees, even though not everyone will take home an award tonight, you have achieved a major milestone in your career and in our minds, you are a winner!
Let the music play, let artists lives improve and let us thrive together!