Speech by Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, MP, at the Imbizo of the "tribute concert to women", State Library, Pretoria
16 Aug 2010
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for heeding our call in attending this meeting. As you are aware we are in the middle of observing the Women's Month and there are still many events to mark this month.
The theme of this year's Women Month’s celebrations is "Working Together for Equal Opportunities and Progress for all Women".
Through women empowerment in arts and culture we are also trying to build our rural economies and showcasing the role that the arts especially craft can play in rural development.
As the Ministry and Department of Arts and Culture, we are embarking upon a series of programmes that seek to promote women in the arts with the overall aim as well of ensuring that through our daily work we commit ourselves to the realisation of a non-sexist society and so that we also integrate the empowerment of women into every aspect of this work.
As the national government, we have initiated a number of activities, some of which have already got off the ground and others for which preparation is in full swing.
Last week I led a delegation of women artists to the Shanghai Exposition. South Africa chose National Women's Day as its national day. I am pleased that our outstanding women artists: Sibongile Khumalo, Debra Fraser, Loveline Madumo, and Thandiswa Mazwai could join us and showcase South African culture to a huge international audience. Chomee also joined us as part of our activities in flying our national flag at this event. I want to thank all the women artists present for their wonderful music that is contributed in making us all proudly South African.
In this week on Thursday we shall also in partnership with the University of the Western Cape, host a memorial lecture in honour of one of our struggle icons, Ms Dulcie September who was assassinated in exile.
On Friday we shall honour our unsung heroines of the liberation struggle. Together with the South African Heritage Resources Agency on 20 August we shall declare as national heritage sites the graves of struggle veterans, Charlotte Maxeke (the founder of the ANC Women's League forerunner), Lillian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph.
On 22 August we will also unveil the Sarah Bartmann Centre of Remembrance architectural concept design in Hankey, Eastern Cape province. This will become an important centre in memory of the life of Sarah Bartmann and the heritage of the Khoi and San people.
As part of our contribution to the development of African women, we shall host an African women writers' symposium in Johannesburg from 25 to 26 August 2010 under the theme: "Women's words: African worlds: renewing a dialogue between African women writers and women of African descent".
Concert celebrating women's achievements
This really brings us to the main focus on this meeting which is that we intend marking the end of Women’s Month through holding a concert featuring women artists and thanking them for the critical role they have played during the 2010 FIFA World Cup held on our soil.
Great South African women musicians including Siphokazi, Abigail Kubheka, Dorothy Masuka, Thandi Klassen and Mahothella Queens will be part of this celebration.
The "tribute concert to women", which is being planned for the end of the month was conceived with the objective of paying tribute to the many South African women musicians who contributed in many ways to the upliftment of the country whilst improving themselves.
It is in recognition of the contribution they have made artistically, politically, economically, spiritually, socially and to the development of the discipline and the country that we wish to honour both the musicians that passed on and those who are continuing their musical careers.
We wish to make this an annual event, where different women artists are given the opportunity to perform and honour women artists who have recently passed on and those that are still alive having contributed much to society.
I bring this concept to you all so that you may make inputs and build on it. Though we are concentrating on women musicians this year, there is a feeling that we should open it up to all disciplines and honour women in the arts, generally.
Disciplines such as dance, visual arts, sculpture, drama, writing, poetry, crafts, design, photography, graphics, cinema and other forms of expression may be included.
I would like you all to think about how we can shape this particular event which will be held annually.
May I please request the floor to be opened for suggestions, questions and discussion? Please remember that this day of the tribute to women belongs to all of us, we must shape it together. It must be part of our commitment to the empowerment of women and to gender equality.
Issued by: Department of Arts and Culture
16 Aug 2010
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