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African insights to feature strongly at creative economy conference

Bamuturaki Musinguzi an Ugandan journalist and cultural economist (left), Butholezwe Nyathi, Programmes Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC) in Zimbabwe (centre) and Florence Majachani, from the Nhimbe Trust (Right) are part of the African speakers on the line-up for the South African Cultural Observatory’s National Conference on May 24 and 25 at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg. Picture: SA Cultural Observatory.

The African experience of growing, maintaining and developing a strong cultural and creative economy will be a main focal point at the South African Cultural Observatory’s (SACO) conference this May. The conference coincides with Africa Day celebrations on May 25.

“There is no doubt creativity and human ingenuity is going to drive the fourth industrial revolution. As a young continent – 65% of the population of Africa is under 35 – there is ample opportunity to train and develop the youth to maximize their contribution to local economies.

“The creative and cultural industries offer a viable career path in the face of automation; it is also an integral part of the future we want to imagine is possible on the African continent,” said Njabulo Sithebe, SACO Deputy Director of Research. The conference, which takes place at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg on May 24 and 25, seeks to showcase African thinking, insights, best practices and case studies to build a solid understanding of how the broader African creative economy is developing.

“We have a varied mix of respected African academics, consultants and practitioners who are primed to share their experiences at the conference,” he added.

Topping the list is Florence Majachani, from the Nhimbe Trust and an Independent Research Consultant from Zimbabwe. Majachani, is a specialist in cultural governance, advocacy, cultural rights, and citizenship and creative industries. She has over ten years’ experience facilitating the development and adoption of more efficient and culture-sensitive development policies and programmes in Africa. She has also worked consistently for African civil society network, Arterial Network and in 2011, she was commissioned by Nhimbe Trust to develop a Creative Civil Society’s National Plan of Action on the Arts and Culture for Zimbabwe. She is the author of a cultural policy profile for Zimbabwe which is featured on the World Compendium on Cultural Policies website, a web-based database of national profiles, which is expanding the highly-regarded Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe to include Australia, Asian, African and Latin American countries. She has also undergone UNESCO expert training aimed at nurturing African experts on the implementation of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. She will be speaking on ‘Exploring Emerging Business Models in the Creative Economy: Experiences from Zimbabwe’.

Also from Zimbabwe is Butholezwe Nyathi, the Programmes Manager at Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC), a community-based heritage enterprise in the rural Matobo District of Zimbabwe. Nyathi is passionate about preserving and promoting tangible and intangible indigenous cultural heritage and is a professional arts administrator, creative entrepreneur and a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow. He will be presenting the findings of a joint UNESCO/ AIHC research project on rural district councils in Zimbabwe to determine the status of arts, culture and heritage development as an empirical basis for crafting area specific local, rural cultural policies and strategies.

Bamuturaki Musinguzi is a Ugandan professional journalist and cultural economist. Currently at The East African newspaper, Musinguzi mainly writes feature stories on African history and heritage, arts and culture and the creative economy. He recently received his International Masters in Economics of Culture: Policy, Government and Management (IMEC-PGM) degree from the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy, the findings of which he will present in his conference paper: ‘The Challenges of the Creative Economy in Africa: A Case Study of Uganda’.

Calvin Boasilong from Ideas Expo Botswana, will also discuss ‘Creativity: The New Frontier for Economic Activity in Africa.’

The conference programme also features African academics and practitioners living in South Africa, including:

  • Oyekunle Adebola, a Nigerian working at the Tshwane University of Technology, who will present on ‘Challenges in cultural and creative industry policy development in South Africa’;
  • Prof Enyinna Nwauche, a Nigerian based at Rhodes University who will outline ‘The Open Access Regime in South Africa’s National Integrated ICT White Paper and the Creative Industries: Examples from the E-space project’; and
  • Raymond Ndhlovu, a Zimbabwean at Rhodes University who will look at ‘Developing a Regional Cultural Policy: Guidelines for areas without big cities’.

Generally, the conference aims to explore the relationship between the creative economy and development imperatives. Registration is open until 8 May. For more information and registration information visit: SACO 2017 National Conference Website.

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