About artsculturesa

Vision: We are a thriving arts, culture and heritage sector contributing to sustainable economic development, leveraging on partnerships for a socially cohesive nation. Our Mission We enhance job creation by preserving, protecting and developing arts, culture and heritage to sustain our democracy and build our nation.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa pays tribute to the Jazz Legend and global icon, Bra Hugh Masekela

It is with sadness and shock that we learn of the passing of the Jazz Legend, an icon and inimitable artist, Hugh Masekela also known as “Bra Hugh” who passed away on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Born in Witbank on 04 April 1939, Ramapolo Hugh Masekela was exiled from his native South Africa for 30 years; he travelled the world receiving worldwide acclaim as musician and ambassador for the South Africa oppressed masses.

“When he spoke out against South African apartheid policies, he found himself banished from his homeland. During 1970’and 1980’s, he lived in various countries in the African continent, returning to South Africa in 1991, when he played a formidable role as a developer of music in the democratic South Africa.

“Even in recent years, “Bra Hugh” continued to fly the flag for South Africa in international festivals, and his home country including the performance at the Grammy Awards in 2013. Over the last 3 years, Hugh Masekela also featured on a number of festivals such as the Joy of Jazz; Macufe; Cape Town International Jazz; Moretele; Mapungubwe and Buleyekhaya festival sponsored by the department.

“Hugh Masekela was also the recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga Gold in 2010 for his contribution to music and the Struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The Jazz icon was also a member of the Living Legends Legacy Project (LLLP), an initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture that seeks to engage the living legends actively in programmes that promote arts, culture and heritage sector, thus providing them with a platform to interact and share their knowledge and experience with the younger generation of artists.

“His outstanding contribution and exceptional track record in the liberation struggle of our country as well as his immense contribution to the transformation of the arts in South Africa, the African continent and the world, bares a testimony of the calibre of person he was, a true Living Legend indeed”, says Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The Department of Arts and Culture is in consultation with the family, we will keep members of the public and other interested stakeholders informed of the funeral arrangements.

“We once more send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to the Masekela family, to all who knew this musical maestro and his many fans”, concluded Minister Mthethwa.

For more information, please contact Zimasa Velaphi at 072 172 8925 or Margaret Ncanca at 081 044 7056

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture


Statement by Mandla Langa on behalf of the Coordinating Committee about the funeral arrangements for the late Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile.

We are gathered here to provide update on the progress made towards the burial and commemoration of internationally renowned liberation struggle stalwart and South Africa’s National Poet Laureate, Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile, who passed away on Wednesday, 3 January, after a short illness.

Kgositsile was an internationalist of note and his passing has reverberated across the globe. In the 79 years of his life, Kgositsile touched the lives of many through his poetry and political activism. Following the instruction by the leadership of the ANC for him to leave the country, he went into exile in 1961. He existed the country via Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and settled in Tanzania for a year before moving to the United States of America (USA) where he studied worked and published poetry for over a decade.

In his three decades of exile, Kgositsile continued to fight injustices through his poetry, teachings and publications. He lived in several countries including the US, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya. Upon his return to South Africa following the jettisoning of the apartheid regime in 1994, Kgositsile worked with several academic and government institutions. In his lifetime, he mentored a countless number of cultural practitioners, academics and political activists.

A special funeral committee has been established to ensure that this national icon is accorded a fitting send-off that will be accommodative of his dynamic personality. The committee is comprised of family representatives, the ANC in Gauteng, Government representatives from the Departments of Arts and Culture, Office of the Premier in Gauteng, and artists who worked closely with Kgositsile.

The committee is comprised of Mandla Langa, Trevor Fowler, Dr Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane, Ntombi Mekgwe, the ANC Gauteng Provincial Treasurer, MECs For Community Safety, Arts Culture and Recreation, Mr. Vusumuzi Mkhize, the DG of the Department of Arts and Culture, Ms Monica Newton, the HOD of Arts and Culture in Gauteng, Mr Mduduzi Mbada Special Advisor to the Premier of Gauteng, Mr Raks Seakhoa of wRite Associates, Mr Zweli Ndlovu and Siphiwo Mahala, who all worked very closely with Bra Willie.

The Presidency consulted with the family and proposed that given Kgositsile’s stature and contribution to society, he should be accorded a Special Official Funeral. The family welcomes this decision by President Jacob Zuma, and is delighted that Kgositsile is duly honoured in this manner. Indeed, Kgositsile was  among the pantheon of selfless men and women who courageously fought against apartheid and for the freedom of the people of South Africa.

The Special Official Funeral category is for distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic. The President has ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country on Tuesday, 16 January 2018, the day of the funeral. We are pleased that the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa H.E Mr Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the eulogy on behalf of the Presidency and the people of South Africa at the funeral.

Subsequent the falling of this giant, the family has received messages of condolences from political activists and organisations, the arts fraternity, civil society and the academia locally and across the globe. We welcome these messages of condolences, eulogies and flowers that have been delivered to the family home and other relevant points. Arrangements are underway to ensure a seamless process in coordinating these tributes and creating platforms for the various members of society to pay homage to Kgositsile.

In anticipation of many tributes and what we have received thus far, we have made an arrangement for every day between 18:00 and 19:00, to hold sessions to celebrate the life of Kgositsile at the family home in Killarney. The Condolence Books will be available from tomorrow at the family homes both in Killarney and Diepkloof. Further arrangements will be made for the message book to be available at the Market Theatre in Newtown and at the City Hall during the memorial services on the 11th and 12th of January respectively.

We are aware of the various events that are organised to celebrate the life of this stalwart in other parts of the country and the world over. We encourage all those concerned to continue celebrating the life of this icon in a dignified manner befitting an icon of his stature.

We are aware that on Saturday, 6 January, a memorial event was held at the MLA in New York. The event included tributes by various activists who either knew Kgositsile personally or have been touched by his life. In a true Kgositsile form, many of the commemorative events include the reading of poetry, jazz music and reflections on society. This is how Kgositsile would have preferred to be celebrated.

The upcoming commemorative events leading up to the funeral on Tuesday, 16th January 2018, will include:

  1. 10th January 2018 – the John Nkadimeng Branch will hold a memorial service in honour of Prof at Houghton Primary School at 17h30
  2. The Official Memorial Service will be held on the 11th January 2018 – at the Johannesburg City Hall from 12:00 – 16:00,
  3. 12th January 2018 – Memorial service at Market Theatre, in Newton, 12:00.

These events are organized in such a way that we will all have an opportunity to celebrate the life of this great icon who was humble, selfless and dedicated to empowering the mind and imparting knowledge. All these events including the funeral are open to the public.

On 16 January 2018 – Funeral will start at home in Diepkloof at 7am. The funeral service at Marks Park will start at 09:00am service and will then proceed to West Park Cemetery for the burial. This programme has been developed by the committee in consultation with the family and his political home, the ANC, to ensure that many people are able to attend and pay their last respects to Kgositsile.

Leading up to the funeral, we will continue providing information through media briefings and advisories in order to keep members of the public and other interested stakeholders informed of the progress.

On behalf of the family, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the support that the media has shown since the news of the passing of Bra Willie broke out. We are looking forward to working with you until the final send off on 16 January.

Thank you.

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture on behalf of the funeral coordinating committee.

Minister Mthethwa pays tribute to Prof Keorapetse “Bra Willie” Kgositsile

Born in 1938 in Johannesburg, he was one of the most vocal activits in the African National Congress (ANC) in the turbulent period of the late 1950s.  He was instructed by the leadership of the ANC to leave South Africa in 1961.  He went to Tanzania and in 1962 he moved to the United States of America (USA).  He worked for the ANC’s Cultural Desk and the Department of Education during his year in exile.

He studied at the University of Columbia and became one of the leading cultural practitioners in the African-American Literature and Culture.  He was one of the most influential figures in bridging the gap between African and Black American culture.  He had interactions with distingushed cultural practitioners including the likes of Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka and Gwendolyn Brooks.  The famous group of activists, The Last Poets, was named afer one of his poems.

He taught at a number of Universities around the world including in the USA, Botswana, Kenya, and on his return to South Africa, he was a visiting Professor at the University of Fort Hare.  He published several collections of poetry, including Spirits Unchained, My Name is Afrika, If I Could Sing and This Way I Salute You.  He worked for the Department of Arts and Culture as Ministerial Advisor before his retirement in 2014.

He is the recipient of several awards including the Presidential Order of Ikhamanga in Silver.  In 2006 he was awarded the status of National Poet Laureate.  He was instrumental in the founding of the South African Literary Awards and the Reprint of Classics project among others.  The repatriation of the remains of Nat Nakasa, whom he had known personally, was one of the last projects he worked on before his retirement from the Department in 2014.

Despite his remarkable contribution to the liberation struggle and the cultural landscape, Prof Kgositsile remained a very humble person. He was able to straddle the social strata, relating to the young and old with ease.  He was a major link between different generations of writers, yet he remained humble and unassuming in his character.

“The nation has lost a revolutionary mind and major asset in our cultural landscape. His incisive mind and humble personality will be sorely missed,” said Minister Mthethwa.

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture.

Nomination of candidates to serve on the council of The Market Theatre Foundation (Cultural Instutution)

In terms of the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (Act 119 of 1998), the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa invites members of the performing arts (Playhouse/Theatre) fraternity and the general public to nominate persons to serve as members of Council of the Market Theatre Foundation (Cultural Institution)

Nominated candidates should possess a broad understanding and experience in the field of heritage; performing arts; managerial; financial expertise; legal; marketing and liaison; fundraising; education and cultural/social research; corporate governance, as well as a willingness to render community service. The remuneration of the appointed nominees is in line with the remuneration scheme of the National Treasury guidelines as prescribed in the Cultural Institutions Act as amended.

Anyone wishing to nominate persons to serve as members of Council of the aforementioned Performing Arts Institution (Cultural Institution) should submit the following:

a)  A letter containing full names, address and telephone numbers of the nominee, giving reasons for nomination;

b) Recently updated Curriculum Vitae of the nominee, including three contactable references;

c) A brief statement signed by the nominee explaining his/her suitability for appointment.

No nomination will be considered unless all of the above are included. Correspondence will only be entered into with shortlisted candidates. Should you not be contacted within 3 months from the closing date, consider your nomination unsuccessful.

Nominations are to reach the Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture by 22 December  2017 via post: Private Bag X897 Pretoria 0001 for attention: Ms Lindeka Moeng

Email nominations can be forwarded to lindekam@dac.gov.za

Please note that this advert is available on the website Market Theatre Foundation. Telephonic enquiries: Ms Lindeka Moeng 066301 4641

Arts and Culture launches online digitized audiovisual recordings, 17 Nov

The Department of Arts and Culture will launch the online digitized audiovisual recordings on the 17 November 2017 at the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa in Pretoria. The aim is to build a global awareness of the various issues at stake in preserving the audiovisual heritage and make these recordings accessible to the present and future generation.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said during the hand over, “Armed with these digitized recordings of the Rivonia Trial, we shall be able to tell the full story of this trying period in our history with sound, words and silences to present and future generations in all its glory, its horror and ultimately its triumphs.”

The online launch of the digitized audiovisual recordings is a significant step towards preservation and promotion of our audiovisual heritage. In response to a proposal by the Czech Republic in October 2005, UNESCO’s General Conference approved the proclamation of 27 October as the annual World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. This year’s celebration took place under theme, “Discover, remember and share “.

Sound recordings and moving images in any form are vulnerable, and easily discarded or deliberately destroyed. Too much of the world’s 20th century audiovisual heritage is now lost, and much more is slipping beyond recovery because of neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence. Unless public awareness of the importance of preservation is increased, this trend will continue.

Minister Mthethwa said during his budget vote speech this year; “Through the co-operation project between L’Institut National De L’Audiovisuel (INA) and the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa involving the digitisation of dictabelts and the training of South African Archivists on the digitisation and restoration of dictabelts, the resultant Rivonia Trial Recordings will be made available to all South African citizens and the world at large on 27 October 2017 when we celebrate UNESCO’s World Day for Audio-visual Heritage. The other digitisation projects to be implemented in 2017/18 financial year include the digitisation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) audio-cassettes and Bloke Modisane papers.”

Audio-visual archives are a cornerstone of the memory of the world, with recordings that enable recall for future generations and give context to our shared history, culture and humanity for over a century. Promote a greater understanding of the unique role of audiovisual archives and the need for it to be safeguarded, preserved and protected as part of our world heritage.

Safeguarding audiovisual heritage is a complex process requiring a range of technical, political, human and financial solutions. Not taking action will result in the loss of entire chapters of our heritage in less than ten years, and lead to impoverishment of our identity. The collective memory of the different peoples of the world provides the foundation for sustainable development, the defense of basic rights and an understanding of the past. But that memory needs to remain accessible.

Enquiries: Zimasa Velaphi on 0721728925


Service provider to provide a comprehensive Employee Wellness Programme for a period of three years

DAC 14/17-18

Bid documents must be submitted to the following address: The Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, Private Bag X897, Pretoria, 0001. Attention Director Supply Chain Management


Department of Arts and Culture, Sechaba House, 122 Madiba Street, Cnr Paul Kruger and Madiba Street, Pretoria, 0001

Closing date: 24 November 2017 at 11:00

Click on the link for more information:

Employee Wellness Programme

Brandishing the old apartheid flag does not advance the cause for social cohesion and nation building

Yesterday, during the Black Monday protest, the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution were severely undermined by the shameful brandishing of a symbol of the biggest crime against humanity – apartheid.  The Minister Nathi Mthethwa strongly condemns this intolerance displayed at the Black Monday protests which continues to undermine the pursuit for social cohesion and nation building.

In South Africa, the rule of law is the foundation on which our constitutional democracy finds its strength. The Department therefore sympathises with the many families that have lost their loved ones as a result of these attacks on farms and call upon the law enforcement agencies to act decisively without fear or favour.

“Killings and attacks of any kind on South African citizens are unacceptable and conflicting to the kind of society that we seek to build – a truly non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society”, said Minister Mthethwa.

While we are unreservedly sympathetic to the plight of our farming communities, we are deeply disturbed by some of the symbolism that characterised the protest action. It is important to note that the event of burning the new flag and flying of the old flag did not advance the cause for social cohesion and nation building and we condemn this action with the strongest contempt it deserves.

The Department has the mandate to lead South African society in bridging persistent socio-historical divisions, mainly entrenched along racial, cultural and ethnic identities. There are various platforms, some in the form of community conversations that are being rolled out across country to encourage robust conversations so as to bridge existing divisions, especially along the racial lines.

We remain committed to working with all communities in ensuring that we live up to the vision of our Constitution and the National Development Plan (NDP); and by extension, we hereby issue a call to all communities to join us in forging this common future together, for ourselves and for posterity.

Minister Mthethwa concluded by saying that the wise words of OR Tambo still ring true today when he said “we seek to create a united democratic and non-racial society. We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity.”

For more information, please call Lokile Molefe, MLO to the Minister at 076 920 3934 or lokilem@dac.gov.za

Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture

Collection of Media Accreditation for the 2017 Women’s Day Celebration

Members of the media who applied for accreditation to cover the 2017 National Women’s Day celebration taking place on 09 August 2017 at Galeshewe Stadium, Kimberley in the Northern Cape are advised to collect their accreditation cards.

 Details are as follows:-

  • Day 1: 08 August 2017 from 09h00- 17h00 at Mayibuye Multipurpose Centre in Galeshewe, Kimberley
  • Day 2: 09 August 2017 from 07h00- 10h00 at Mayibuye Multipurpose Centre in Galeshewe, Kimberley

NB: You are required to bring your ID Book and Press Card or letter from the editor when collecting accreditation and also at the event.

Media accreditation: Ireen Magwai on 0824405676 Ireen@gcis.gov.za or Mthuthuzeli Nqumba on 0744787681/MthuthuzeliN@dac.gov.za

Enquiries: Ms Zimasa Velaphi on 012 441 3010 /072 172 8925/zimasav@dac.gov.za

Issued by Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf of the Department of Arts and Culture

07 August 2017

Call for application of the Debut Programme

Overview of the DAC Debut Programme

The DAC in partnership with BASA will be providing knowledge and skills development to emerging artists on the cusp of “making it” to support them with launching/implementing their first album, film, book, etc., and allowing them opportunities to pitch for funding to further support their venture. The programme combines DAC Debut Funding with BASA’s Education, Mentorship, and Young Business Professionals Programmes, as well as opportunities to apply for BASA Supporting Grants should applicants be eligible. Partnerships and collaborations will be important for maximum impact and improved sustainability.

BASA has identified community arts centres within each province which are supported by the DAC, and will collaborate with them. These centres will serve as programme anchors in each province, providing support and a local point of contact between the delegates, BASA and the DAC; assisting with marketing and recruitment channels. One of their staff members will be trained to co-facilitate the programme with BASA initially and support the delegates between workshop visits, and later be able to take on more facilitation within their community after completing this programme.  The centres should preferably be resourced so that delegates are able to access information, telephones and internet at their premises in order to maximise their participation and success in the programme.

The programme will be implemented in several stages with support from the BASA facilitator, local facilitator and art center.


Train the Trainer

As part of ensuring the sustainability of the programme in the different provinces, we will train local provincial representatives (ideally from the local art centres who are partners in the programme) to become co-facilitators in the programme. Training will be facilitated by BASA in-house facilitators, one training session will be held in Johannesburg, Gauteng, bringing all nine delegates together in one group:

–           Three days of workshops.

–           Six days of facilitator preparation prior.


–       Delegates will be given an induction and an overview of the programme structure and rollout.

–      They will be trained in Asset Based Community Driven Development (ABCD) and means of facilitating it.  ABCD workshops and the ABCD paradigm offer a powerful approach to community development that focus effort on discovering and mobilising the resources that are already present in a community.

Phase 2

Artist Recruitment

Recruitment target: +/- 25 people per province in all nine provinces.

Marketing and recruitment via:

·         BASA and DAC databases

·         Local community arts centres

·         Local libraries

·         Municipal offices

·         Local and community newspapers

·         Local and community radio stations

·         Social media and WhatsApp

Applications and Criteria

·         Applications to be submitted via WhatsApp/social media.

·         Applications will be assessed based on the stage of development and developmental needs, as well as previous training of the various applicants.

·         Criteria is to be an emerging artist who is active in the sector, with a project/venture in mind AND for the application to demonstrate basic ability to effectively communicate their project/venture concept, and that the concept has the potential for viable implementation.  Detailed criteria to be confirmed.

Phase 3

Provincial Workshops

(+/- 38.5 weeks per province, including preparation, content delivery, assignments and feedback)

Facilitated by a BASA facilitator and a local co-facilitator, this programme consists of three visits per province throughout the year. Each visit consists of the following:

–          four days of workshops

–          one week homework

–          feedback after two weeks

The delegates in the Train the Trainer Programme, outlined in phase one, will co-facilitate the workshops in their province with a BASA facilitator, and review assignment submissions and provide feedback under the guidance and supervision of the BASA facilitator.  They will also be required to assist the BASA coordinator with processing applications and communicating with potential delegates.  They will be loaned tablets for the period of their service for communication, reviewing assignments, and providing feedback.


–   While the introductory workshop in this programme focuses on Asset Based Community Driven Development (ABCD) in depth, the entire curriculum is premised on this model.

–   Delegates will be introduced to basic business communication skills that will be an asset to them as an employee or an entrepreneur, and to the basic ABCD tools so that they understand the paradigm.

–   Delegates will learn about understanding the venture idea, the needs it is meeting and how to communicate it. This will give them the chance to understand their proposed product or service and also its value proposition.

–   Once they have a venture idea, they will plan market research to test its viability – delegates will gain an understanding of how to collect data in order to see if it is viable and has the ability to succeed.

–   After the findings from the market research, delegates will be able to do a business/project plan which will then look at the mission, vision, objectives and activities that will make the venture a success (including marketing, operations, finance, and monitoring and evaluation). The delegates will also have a clearer picture of the opportunities and potential partners to engage with. They might even need to rethink their value proposition from the research findings.

–   Further to this, to ensure that delegates stay motivated, mobilising will help them to identify what they can do now with what they have to start their venture.  The focus will primarily be their short term goals and creating a plan of action to achieve it.  When people have realistic goals that they achieve, it builds confidence and a track record to build more confidence to implement bigger goals.

–   After returning from implementation process of mobilising their venture/piloting it, the delegates need to give feedback on the experience and will look at the customer relationships built over that time and identify potential partnerships.

–   The course content thus far will feed into the development of Business Model Canvases (which can also be used for developing and strategising sustainable projects).

–   At the end of the workshop programme, they will have the opportunity to pitch their refined ventures for funding – this will happen during the last day of the third visit, and they will also need to submit a written proposal.  Winning pitches will receive funding and must implement and report on the project. Those who receive funding will also be paired with a mentor from BASA’s Young Business Professionals Programme and/or Mentorship Programme.

Applications for Eastern Cape, Gauteng, or the Free State. Closing date 1 August 2017: Call for applications for the BASA Debut Programme ECGauFS

Applications for Limpopo, Mpumalanga, or the Northern Cape. Closing date 3 July 2017: Call for applications for the BASA Debut Programme

Human Rights Day address by President Jacob Zuma,Victoria Sportsground, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.

Human Rights Day address by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma,Victoria Sportsground, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.

21 March 2017
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa and all Ministers present,

Premier Phumulo Masualle and your executive council,

The Members of the Provincial Legislature,
The Executive Mayor of the Buffalo City Metro, Mr Xola Pakati and all Mayors and councillors present,

Representatives of labour, business and religious sectors,

The family of Mr Steve Biko,

UMphakathi waseQonce neMpuma Koloni yonke,

Fellow South Africans,

Molweni, sanibonani,

We greet you all on this important occasion of the 2017 Human Rights Day commemoration in the beautiful Eastern Cape Province.

On Human Rights Day we celebrate and re-affirm our commitment to the hard-won human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of our country.

The marking of this day was born out of the huge sacrifices made by brave men and women who fought for freedom in the face of extreme brutality by the apartheid regime.

On 21 March 1960, sixty nine people were brutally killed by the apartheid police and scores were injured, when they were shot at during a peaceful anti-pass protest march to Sharpeville police station.

The ruthless incident shocked the whole world. Many were also brutally killed in Langa in Cape Town on the same day. They were marching to declare their right to freedom of movement in the land of their birth.

In another tragic incident 28 people were killed in Langa, Uitenhage in March 1985, during the 25thanniversary commemoration of Sharpeville.

We pay tribute to all of them for their selfless contribution. We shall never forget their sacrifices for freedom, equality and justice.

Our country now enjoys a stable constitutional democracy where everyone is entitled to equal human rights because of the sacrifices of the people of Sharpeville, Langa, Soweto, KwaMashu, Tzaneen, Zeerust, Giyani and many other parts of our country.

The theme of Human Rights Day this year is The year of OR Tambo: Unity in Action in Advancing Human Rights.

Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo would have turned 100 years old this year had he lived.

We are celebrating the life of a liberator, teacher, intellectual, internationalist and unifier who kept the liberation movement together and in focus during the most difficult moments in our struggle.

He strove for unity at all times and this should inspire us to work together to achieve our dream of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The year 2017 is also the 40thanniversary of the brutal murder of black consciousness leader and liberation struggle icon, Mr Bantu Steve Biko.

This sports ground is the historic venue where his emotionally charged funeral was held. We honour him today on Human Rights Day, because the gruesome and painful manner in which he was treated and his eventual merciless murder by the apartheid state was a gross human rights violation.

We joined Mrs Nontsikelelo Biko and family earlier this morning to unveil and hand over the Biko monument to the family. The handover marks the launch of the commemoration of the 40thanniversary of the death of Mr Biko.

In September, the month of his tragic death, we will join the family, AZAPO and the Black Consciousness Movement in commemorating his life and contribution.

Indeed, this is the year of deepening unity.

We must come together to celebrate our national heroes and ensure that our youth and future generations know and understand their contribution and what they stood for.

In the memory of Steve Biko, let us promote the emancipation of the mind.

He wanted black people to understand that they are equals with other racial groups, and that they were equally deserving of dignity, respect, equality and a better life.

He believed that only when black people understood that they were not inferior, and the white people understood and accepted that they are not superior, would true liberation be achieved in our country.

Our country indeed needs liberated minds in order to achieve radical economic transformation.

Sivuye kakhulu ukudibana nomndeni wakwa-Biko namhlanje, sikhumbula ighorqha lakowethu, uMnuz uSteve Biko owabulawa kabuhlungu abamhlophe ngo- 1977.

Ngenyanga yokuhamba kwakhe emhlabeni uSeptember, sizophinde sidibane sisebenze kunye nomndeni neqembu le-AZAPO ne Black Consciousness Movement, sikhumbule igalelo lalelighorha lomzabalazo wenkululeko yabantu abamnyama.


We mark Human Rights Day each year for important reasons.

We come from a history where there was a scant regard for fundamental human rights. It is most fitting that we pause annually, and remember the past so as to learn from it and never repeat its wrongs.

We also use this day to take stock of progress in the promotion of human rights. Today we also recommit ourselves to advance fundamental human rights and the restoration of human dignity to the black people in particular, who were brutalised and dehumanised by the twin systems of colonialism and apartheid.

We are pleased with the progress we have made thus far in advancing human rights. Our country’s Constitution enshrines socio-economic rights such as health education, food, water and social security. We have made progress in these areas.

Our children have a right to be taught in decent schools.

Government created the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure delivery Initiative to replace mud schools and other inappropriate structures and to provide basic services of sanitation, water and electricity.

The question is no longer why there are mud schools in the country, but how far government has gone in eradicating them.

Through the programme, we have completed one hundred and seventy schools. To restore the dignity of our learners, government has provided water to six hundred and fifteen schools, decent sanitation to four hundred and twenty five schools and electricity to three hundred and seven schools.

We also care about the wellbeing of children in our schools.

Nine million children receive meals through the National School Nutrition Programme and also do not pay school fees. The feeding scheme also provides an income for mothers who cook the meals daily at schools, while government buys vegetables from women-owned cooperatives in most communities. This programme thus fights hunger and contributes to community development.

Another key achievement of government that we are proud of, is the growth of the Early Childhood Development Programme. We are investing in these ECD centres of crèches as they are commonly known, to ensure that even children of the poor and the working class have a good start in education.

Government has remarkably grown the programme from supporting three hundred thousand children to 1.4 million children. Government pays a subsidy of fifteen rand per child per day and also pays a subsidy to each approved Centre.

We also extend the access to education to higher education.

More money is allocated to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme each year to support youth from poor and working class backgrounds. This year the budget is 15.2 billion rand, which is higher than ever before.

We know that there are some more young people that we have not yet reached.

I appointed the Heher Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look at funding models and look forward to the report of the Commission in June this year.


We are proud of the progress we have made in extending social security assistance to our people in line with the Constitution.

Government pays social grants to almost 17 million social grants recipients which is a huge achievement in fighting poverty.

The child support grant and older persons grant are the two largest social grant programmes with 12 million  children and 3.2 million older persons’ benefitting from the social grants.

To provide further assistance, Government is seeking to amend the Social Assistance Act to amongst other things, enable government to provide funeral benefits to the elderly and savings vehicles for caregivers of children.

Let me take this opportunity to once again assure all who receive social grants that they will receive their money at the end of the month.

Bonke abadala, ogogo nomkhulu abafumana inkamkamu, izimpesheni, nabathola izibonelelo zezingane nabakhubazekile, sicela bangoyiki neze. Bazakuyifumana imali yabo ekupheleni kwenyanga.

Izinkinga ebezikhona, sesixaxuliwe.


The Constitution also refers to food security.

Government, through the South African Social Security Agency supports with food parcels, families facing extreme hunger or disasters such as fires and destitution.

In the past year, government approved more than one hundred and fifty thousand applications from citizens and households faced with destitution, undue hardship and disasters.

The Expanded Public Works Programme also provides job opportunities to many families to put hunger at bay. For long term assistance, government continues to support households with food production measures through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

To meet the right to housing, since 1994 government has provided housing opportunities for about 4.3 million households. However, there is about 2.1 million households who seek assistance or an opportunity to be provided with a home.

We will work with households and the private sector to address the housing backlogs, taking into account the limited resources and competing priorities facing government.


In 1994, we undertook to build a non-racial society in which racism would be a thing of the past.

Sadly, the ideology of racism remains firmly entrenched among some in our population, and it represents one of the most despicable human rights violations.

We are however, encouraged at the level of outrage that these incidents usually draw. It proves that South Africans are generally not tolerant of racism.

In this fight against racism, government, through the Department of Justice is finalising the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances.

This Plan will give further clarity and guidance to government and to the broader South African society on the fight against racism and related intolerances.

We have also recently published thePrevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

Once it becomes law, it will criminalise several forms of discrimination including on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and nationality. This Bill is a perfect illustration of the seriousness with which we view hate crimes in our country.


Our programme of radical economic transformation is also linked to ensuring access to the socio-economic rights guaranteed under the constitution.

This will require that corporate South Africa joins government in ensuring that there is equal pay for equal work.

Workers must also receive a living wage to fight poverty. The National Minimum Wage is a positive start in this regard. Together we must also promote work and business opportunities for the youth.

Women’s rights are human rights. In this regard, the employment equity policy and broad based black economic empowerment has ensured that women gain access to critical areas which hitherto, had been exclusive preserve of men.

This transformation work must continue in both the private and public sectors.

Most importantly, compatriots, the economy must be unbundled so that we can loosen white monopoly control and allow the entry of black people into the mainstream of the South African economy.

Government will continue to work with business and labour to achieve these objectives.

Fellow South Africans,

Land is mentioned specifically in the Constitution especially the need for restitution. As part of our commitment to the restoration of human dignity of our people, we will be taking practical and reasonable measures to return the land to the people.

We will use all available instruments necessary in expediting land restitution and respond to land hunger.

Indeed, government has done a lot to promote human rights for all in our country.

We know that many of our people are still waiting for some of the basic services such as water or electricity.

Work continues to ensure that these services are extended to the people on a continuous basis.


The Constitution says we all have a right to security. We are thus very concerned about the high levels of crime in some communities.

We must accept that we have a problem and work together to fight crime in our country. I visited Nyanga in Cape Town, Soshanguve in Tshwane and KwaMhlabuyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal in the past three weeks.

Communities indicated that they are tired of crime and being abused and bullied by gangs of criminals.

Indeed, our people should not co-exist with crime.

I have also been alerted to the problem of high crime rates in areas such as Lusikisiki and also Mthatha where taxi violence has tragically claimed a few lives.

Police and relevant government departments are attending to these incidents. Crime in rural areas does not obtain the high profile as that in urban cities but it is equally traumatic for residents.

We call upon the police to act decisively against criminals who terrorise our people. We also urge communities to work with the police to create safer communities.

We are following up on issues raised in the communities that we have visited so that people can see a difference in their lives.

The anti-crime road show continues. We will be visiting more communities to provide support and also ascertain what else can be done to eliminate thuggery, gangsterism and bullying by criminals in our country.

Our people have a right to security and comfort as declared in the Constitution and the Freedom Charter.


We live in a country that enshrines human rights and dignity. These gains came at a great price. People lost their lives. We should never forget the sacrifices that were made for our freedom and democracy.

In the memory of those who laid down their lives for this country, we must continue to build a South Africa that will enshrine the human rights of all, regardless of their class, gender or geographical location.

I wish you all a meaningful and happy Human Rights Day!

I thank you.

Issued by The Presidency