Arts and culture paralysed in the Bay: Athol Trollip

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Nelson Mandela Bay used its Heritage Day celebrations at the Mandela Peace Park in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, to further explain its vision for the Metro to voters. The park is where the late former President, Nelson Mandela, first gave his first speech in the Eastern Cape as President of South Africa.

“In the words of our beloved Madiba, ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’,” said DA Eastern Cape leader and the party’s Mayoral candidate for the 2016 Local Government Elections, Athol Trollip.

“Freedom is more than the ability to vote. Real freedom is being given the opportunity to turn dreams into realities, no matter who you are, what you do or where you come from. Real freedom means that every resident has access to opportunities. Opportunities that create jobs.”

Trollip said that everyone should be able to pursue their passion with the full support of a government that adds value and provides opportunity.

“In a space where real freedom, real fairness and real opportunity exist there is no room for unemployment, no room for inequality, no room for poverty, no room for corruption, no room for failed municipal events, no room for crime and no room for broken communities,” he said.

“Despite these daily debilitating obstacles, South Africans are the most resilient and determined people I know, making the most out of often difficult circumstances.

“Our rich heritage and cultural diversity, which transcends these obstacles, is something to celebrate. Not only today, but every single day.”

Sadly, he said, many of the Nelson Mandela Bay’s cultural and artistic landmarks had been “left to rack and ruin”.

“The symbolic Red Location Museum has been inexplicably closed for two years. This museum offers us a comprehensive analysis and representation of our painful past.

“This past has inspired many artists and musicians to create and produce outstanding pieces of work and the Red Location Museum should contribute to this, but instead its doors remain shut,” Trollip described.

“Furthermore, various film and music festivals, many of which would have provided desperately needed income for the Metro and local artists, have failed to materialise due to corruption, poor planning and flawed coordination by the municipality.”

He said arts and culture industries had been “paralysed by an idle and uninspiring government” in the Bay.

Trollip promised that the DA, if voted into power, would create a thriving arts and culture sector “through support programmes run out of the Arts and Culture Directorate, a database of artists and musicians will be developed and maintained”.

“This will allow the municipality to call on artists with ease to showcase local talent at regular events.”

He said they would also sponsor roadshows and tours for local artists to promote the wealth of Eastern Cape talent.

He also said it was important for the various communities in the Bay to share their cultures.

“No single culture is independent of another, and no language is unaffected by the multi-lingual experience which is the melting pot of South African life.

“My heart swells with pride when I marvel at the fact that South Africa has 11 official languages, all of which hold their important place in society. From isiXhosa here in the Eastern Cape to isiZulu in KwaZulu-Natal, and from Venda in Limpopo to Afrikaans in Gauteng, each language represents cultural uniqueness, overlaid onto one great nation,” Trollip said.

“Our abundant heritage and culture is a constantly moving landscape, adapting and shifting as we continue to grow as a nation, and I am blessed to be part of it.”