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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Open letter from Valmont Layne, Secretary General of the Arterial Network

Arterial Network South Africa (ANSA), are disappointed to see Minister Mthetwa’s appointment described as a “demotion”.

Arterial Network South Africa (ANSA), as a network of artists, practitioners, companies and activists active in civil society are disappointed to see Minister Mthetwa’s appointment described as a “demotion”, a “consolation prize”, and “like being in political Siberia”.

Does our Arts, Culture and Heritage, our identity as South Africans come to mean so little in the public and political discourse? Is it our Arts and Culture which means so little or is it the track record of our Department of Arts and Culture which is likened to “political Siberia”?

What message does this send to those in the creative sector who work to provide jobs, artistic creativity and inspiration for South Africa and the world? The perception of so many political analysts, commentators and politicians that this Ministry is the lowest rung in Cabinet needs to be changed.

The Department of Arts and Culture serves as steward of South Africa's public culture and identity and hence stands at a critical role in our national development – affirming our constitutionally entrenched values, facilitating a national conversation about who we are as South Africans and about our place in the world. We believe it is insulting to these constitutional values to belittle the arts and culture portfolio in this way.

However, we congratulate Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthetwa and Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi on their appointment and look forward to robust and constructive engagement with them and their officials about the challenges and opportunities in our sector.

On 7 June 2014 at 10 am we gather at our Annual General Meeting at the SAMRO Auditorium. We will use the occasion to celebrate another year of championing the arts, culture and heritage sector and engaging with recent and new developments in the policy landscape. We look forward to meeting as many artists and organisations as possible and of forging a new agenda for the sector with all our members.

We look forward to meeting with the Minister and Deputy Minister and to a fruitful engagement about the challenges ahead.

For information, contact Valmont Layne, Secretary General at or phone 021 461 2016/17/23.