Reflections on a group of South Africans on the role of the arts in shaping our future

At our recent event held on the 3rd of March at Gallery MOMO in Parktown North, we as Afropolitan Explosiv, had the pleasure of hosting Robert “Bobby” Godsell as part of our panel that helped to guide the talk on: “Creativity as a way of building growth”.

Below, are the reflections by Bobby on the event:

“We seemed in very strong agreement that the arts, the creative industries or impluses were central in creating a South Africa beyond its transition from Apartheid:  a “grown up” or at least “growing up” new South Africa, beyond negating the past and more interesting in writing a new future.  We seemed also to agree that the government had a role, even an important role in promoting arts, culture and creativity.  We seemed agreed that key state institutions, including the SABC, needed to be renewed.  However we seemed equally agreed that the destiny of a creative South Africa was even more in the hands of artists, of all kinds, themselves.

Many intriguing thoughts stay with me from the engagement.  How “art” or “creativity” can escape from its current prison of “entertainment”?   How new media (You Tube, iTunes etc ) were changing existing patterns of art distribution.  What were the threats and opportunities implicit in these new ways of “doing” art?   What could be learnt (both positively and negatively) from subsets of South African “culture” such as Afrikaans and Gospel artistic activity?

I will seek to involve myself more fully in the effort s of the National Planning Commission, on which I have the honour to serve, to find a proper place in the National Development Plan for our country in 2030.  Incidentally the recently released Chinese plan for 203o is entitled “Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High Income Society.
Thank you for including me in this event.