Arts, culture industry seeks to create opportunities for youth

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The government is intensifying its investment in the arts and culture industry to create jobs. That’s the word from Arts and Culture minister, Nathi Mthethwa. He was speaking at the South African Cultural Observatory’s conference in Port Elizabeth.

The creative industry is taking centre stage and it is a tough environment especially for smaller players.

A lack of start-up funding is a big problem so too is building a fan base to make a living from the arts.

“We try and make ends meet by constantly availing ourselves for gigs but it is really hard. The issue of funding is real, there is very little to no funds and support from the government and municipality and it would make so much difference if the government gave us some support,” said local artist, Lefa Mosea.

The government’s focus is on the youth trying to break into the industry.

“With the government there a number of areas of intervention we are looking at how to sharpen the Mzantsi golden economy, which SACO, the south African observatory committee is part of, is actually a research on how to strengthen other interventions like the debut fund, which is quite new, to see how to make lives better for the artists,” said Mthethwa.

“The young people are doing well in this sector, they are doing beautiful work that is actually redefining the arts and culture sector and this conference will be a platform where some of these young people will have a chance to share with the country what is it that they are working on and what their potential is,” Research Manager,Unathi Lutshaba.

A study has found that jobs in the creative industry have, on average, increased by about 7% between 2011 and 2016.
In 2015, the industry accounted for more than a million jobs. Improved economic performance could further boost the industry.