South Africa: Cultural Diplomacy Projects

South Africa: Cultural Diplomacy Projects


Project Details

  • Country:        South Africa
  • Telephone:  +27 123 364 000
  • Email:           info@freedomproject.org
  • Website:        www.dac.gov.za
  • Sponsored by: The Government of South Africa

Project Description

Freedom Park is a registered cultural institution and as such, it engages in fund-raising activity to enhance its mission in teaching, research, and community service. However, in order to fulfil its mandate, The Freedom Park must encourage contributions from both the private sector and the public.

Aims of Project

–          To provide South Africans with a base for much-needed support and education regarding reconciliation and nation-building through the legacy heritage project.

–          To articulate an overall, multi-faceted heritage that will represent national consciousness and identity, thus substantiating South African culture.

–          To integrate history, culture and spirituality into the South African consciousness.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The Freedom Park Project represents an initiative that is key in the field of cultural diplomacy; it educates and informs people of different backgrounds on the cultural heritage of a nation, in this case South Africa. Nation-building has become a top priority of the government since 1994, and it is hoped that the project will forge ties and break down barriers. To date, this project can be seen as a success based on visitor numbers, and the recent launch of the railway (Gautrain) between Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria).


Project Details

  • Country:        South Africa
  • Telephone: +27 466 031 103
  • Email:        info@nationalartsfestival.co.za
  • Website:     nationalartsfestival.co.za

Sponsored by: The Government of South Africa, the Eastern Cape Government, the Standard Bank of South Africa, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the National Arts Council, Transnet, the Sunday Independent and  Mnet, among others.

Organisation Description

The National Arts Festival is one of the largest events in South Africa. It begins around the end of June and runs for 10 days in Grahamstown, a small town along the Eastern Cape. The Festival is administered by the National Arts Festival Office, but it also relies on sponsorship from, the Eastern Cape Government, the Standard Bank of South Africa, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the National Arts Council, Transnet, the Sunday Independent and Mnet, among others.

Project Description

The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, a craft fair, workshops, heritage tours and a children’s arts festival. The event has always been open to all regardless of race, gender or religion. As no censorship or artistic restraint has ever been imposed on works presented in Grahamstown, the Festival served as an important forum for political- and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era. Today, the Festival still offers an opportunity for experimentation across the arts spectrum, as a forum for new ideas and an indicator of future trends.

The Festival has shown phenomenal growth since its inception. In 1974 there were 64 events on the main programme. The Fringe started in 1979 with 10 events. Now this portion of the festival comprises more than 350 events with over 1,200 performances.

As a trendsetter for South African festivals, the National Arts Festival demonstrates a strong commitment to being socially responsible. The ‘Hands On! Masks Off!’ programme focuses on strengthening the entrepreneurial skills of the arts community, by bringing together some of the country’s leading arts entrepreneurs to share their skills and knowledge with a new generation of arts managers.

Aims of the Project

The overall objective of the Festival is to develop and promote the artistic community in South Africa in order to promote dialogue and interaction through a variety of artistic mediums.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The National Arts Festival largely has been a success since its debut on the arts and culture calendar over three decades ago. The intended target market continues to respond in a positive way with the annual attendance figures rising year after year. Because the festival hosts all kinds of events, it benefits local communities by creating short term and long term jobs, validating its place as a leading initiative for cultural diplomacy in South Africa.


Project Details

  • Country:        South Africa
  • Telephone: +27 214 225 651
  • Email:            None listed
  • Website:         www.capetownjazzfest.com
  • Sponsored by: The Government of South Africa and private donors

Organisation Description

The North Sea Jazz Festival was created by Dutch Jazz promoter Paul Acket. The initial Festival hosted an audience of approximately 9,000 persons. The Festival has grown since then into virtually an international phenomenon, with 16 stages featuring 220 acts over a three-day period with over 70,000 people in attendance. Every year there is a combination of public and private sponsorships to support this immense event.

Project Description

Unlike its Dutch counterpart, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has a unique programming formula. With a 50/50 talent split between Africa and the rest of the world, this South African event allows for local musicians to take their rightful place alongside international musicians, in the creation of a truly dynamic spectacle. It is no wonder therefore, that the media has dubbed the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, being regarded as the most prestigious on the continent. In a little over twelve years, Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown into a hugely successful international event. The number of visitors increased from 14,000 during the first edition in the year 2000, to 30,000 in 2004. To accommodate this spectacular growth, Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (CTICC) hosts the event.

More than 40-acts perform over the two days on five stages at the CTICC. Selected bands also perform at the Free Community Concert to be held at Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square. The pre-festival concert has become a permanent feature of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and is the organizers’ commitment to community members who cannot make it to the paid sessions of the event. The 12th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2011 featured notable local and international Jazz performers including: Patricia Barber, Dave Ledbetter and the Clearing, Hubert Laws, the Wayne Shorter Quartet with Brian Blade, Danilo Perez & John Gang of Instrumentals, Monique Bingham, Gazelle, Christian Scott, Lisa Bauer, Esperanza Spalding, Sandra Cordeiro, Simphiwe Dana, Youssou N’Dour, Earth, Wind & Fire, Hanjin, Dave Koz, Ivan Mazuze, The Flames and many more.

Aims of the Project

The overall objective of the Festival is to promote South Africa as an international cultural capital as world-renown musicians, public officials, and audience members from numerous countries gather in one place to connect through the shared experience of music.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown to become the most defining music event on the African continent, by showcasing not only South African jazz musicians, but also those of the continent and the world. Music is a vital means of cultural diplomacy as it brings people together through a common interest. In the chilly economic climate of recent years, many countries have begun to measure cultural impact in more dispassionate financial terms, and  South Africa is no exception. Following research into the economic impact of large events in SA, it is apparent that the CTIJF (Cape Town International Jazz Festival) holds quantifiable benefits not only for Cape Town, but also for South Africa as a whole.


Project Details

Project Description

In the cultural arena, South Africa and Norway have focused on music as their central means of formalized co-operation. Since 2000, Norway and South Africa have cooperated to promote mutual learning and exchange between musical performers and institutions in the two countries. The programme is called MMINO –The South African-Norwegian Education and Music Programme, and is implemented in partnership with Rikskonsertene in Oslo. The support is channelled through the National Arts Council of South Africa, and project funds are made available to applicants twice a year. The Norwegian support to the programme is a total amount of up to 12m NOK over 3 years. The National Arts Council of South Africa is contributing to the program with a total of 3m Rand within the same timeframe.

Aims of the Project

–          To support musical education, and promote artistic cooperation between South Africa and Norway;

–          To target disadvantaged and marginalized groups as potential participants;

–          To stimulate capacity-building through institutional cooperation;

–          To facilitate cultural exchange between Norway and South Africa.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

As a promoter of co-operation and musical educational exchange, it can be said that this is a commendable and successful project. The exchange of ideas, expertise and education is important in the advancement of cultural diplomacy; this project is not only benefitting local South African communities but also those of Southern Africa as a region.


Project Details

  • Country:        South Africa
  • Telephone: +27 214 813 800
  • Email:       info@iziko.org.za
  • Website:         norway.org.za
  • Sponsored by: The Government of South Africa

Organisation Description

‘Iziko’ is an Xhosa word, meaning ‘hearth.’ Since the hearth of a typical African homestead usually occupies the central space, Iziko symbolizes both a hub of cultural activity, and a central place for gathering together South Africa’s diverse heritage.

The public programmes offered at Iziko serve to encourage inclusive discussions and inter- generational dialogues. The programmes provide an opportunity for members of the public to participate in events and activities that are meaningful and educational, in order to create a culture of engagement for diverse audiences. The programme makes use of collections, objects, stories, exhibitions, commemorative days and other resources to encourage participation, promote awareness, enhance knowledge and understanding, foster respect of human right and contribute to both social cohesion and human dignity.

Project Description

The ‘Iziko Mobile Museum’ is an educational outreach project, designed to take educational museum resources to rural and urban communities that are unable to visit the Iziko Museums. Iziko Mobile Museum Outreach programmes are free of charge, but must be booked two months in advance.

The main mission of the project is to manage and promote Iziko’s unique combination of South

Africa’s heritage collections, sites and services for the benefit of present and future generations.

Aims of the Project

–          To encourage life-long learning for diverse audiences;

–          To foster social cohesion and nation-building through intra- and intergenerational dialogues;

–          To promote Iziko and its collections beyond its sites through the Mobile Museum;

–          To establish strategic collaborations with various institutions.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

As a museum, Iziko is able to capture South Africa’s unique heritage through the preservation of art, language and tradition. Working with the South African government, it travels to all corners of the country through its ‘Mobile Museum Outreach’ programmes, with the aim of informing and educating people on culture and how it can bring people together. This in itself is a form of cultural diplomacy.



No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

ICD Membership

ICD Twitter

Flickr Photos

July 2018
« Nov    
%d bloggers like this: