The Department of Arts and Culture is proud to support the Mbokodo Awards. Through these Awards we recognize the contribution the women of our country continue to make in the arts, culture and heritage sector. Women have long been at the forefront of our arts and culture and heritage landscape but somehow when accolades are considered it is mostly males who are recipients.
This year, as before, we have many examples of excellence in the different executions of art by the women of South Africa and it is encouraging to see some of these names being nominated for the Mbokodo Awards. We are encouraged also by the peaked interest in the fields of arts, culture and heritage that we have seen as a nation in the recent past. As we continue to deepen and expand the gains of our freedom and democracy, it is the work of artists that best reflect the progress we are making in building the kind of society we can all call home, a society we can all be proud of.
Artists are the conscience of the nation. They chronicle our stories. They remind us of where we come from. They help us better understand the present and thus shape future perspectives of our society. They articulate the wishes, the aspirations and the cries of the people. Equally arts, culture and heritage practitioners contribute immensely to job creation and economic growth. Through our Mzansi Golden economy Strategy we will continue to enhance our sector’s contribution to the national economy and create massive opportunities for our artists to build for themselves sustainable livelihoods. We trust that the Mbokodo Awards will go a long way towards affirming practitioners, especially women practitioners, in our sector. We also trust that the Awards will inspire even greater numbers of South Africans to contribute to the development of our society through the arts. The attainment of a cohesive society is a project that involves all stakeholders in our nation and artists have an important role to play in this regard. This they do already with their microphones, cameras, paint brushes, canvasses, clay, pen and paper, bronze as well as many other materials used to create that which we define as art.
As we honour our artists tonight, I ask that through your work you continue to inspire
the nation. We must also honour those heroines, whose sacrifices have made it possible
for us to enjoy the freedom and democracy that we today enjoy. We must celebrate
these heroines as part of our country’s liberation heritage. Indeed we wish to honour
amongst many others, women like Miriam Makeba, Sarah Baartman, Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte
Maxeke, Winnie Madikizela-
Let these Awards inspire, in particular women artists, to continue to create excellent works of art. As the Department of Arts and Culture we will strive to support you in your endeavours.
Minister of Arts and Culture