The Power of Culture South Africa Special
The role of culture

Exactly ten years ago in April, South Africa abolished its history of
apartheid, and opted for a future of equality and non-racism. Enough
reason to throw a birthday party for the country on the most southern tip of Africa , and to highlight the special role culture played. Because bringing about change was a task the South African art world envisaged long before Nelson Mandela was freed, as Andries Oliphant, the "father" of the first inclusive cultural policy, points out in this special.

The Netherlands sought to support the cultural infrastructure of the "new" South Africa, and established many collaborations over the past ten years, as Margriet Leemhuis, the cultural attaché of the Dutch embassy in Pretoria, explains. The four organisations the Dutch embassy worked with - the Dance Factory, the Market Theatre Laboratory, the Bag Factory, and the Film Resource Unit - show that "empowerment", "raising issues" and "changing perceptions" are still buzzwords in an art world that has found a new role for itself in the post-apartheid era.

For decades, the arts in South Africa played an important role in the fight for freedom and bringing about democratic change. Social issues were captured in paintings, music and all other art forms. >>>

With the aim of contributing to an enabling environment for the arts, the Dutch government created a culture and development program for South Africa in 1996. The local culture fund, which has a total budget amounting to € 500,000 a year, is practically unique. >>>

The Dance Factory Market Theatre Laboratory Bag Factory Film Resource Unit
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