Arts and culture

According to Cultural Times, the first global map of the cultural and creative industries, it is estimated that yearly revenues of US$250 billion are generated by these industries, creating 29.5 million jobs worldwide. The 2011 National Consultative Summit incorporated new large-scale interventions in its revised strategy, reinforcing Arts, Culture and Heritage as an economic growth sector.

Overview of CSI spend

 Arts and culture was supported by 25% of companies and received 2% of CSI expenditure in 2016.


Guidelines for effective funding

  • In addition to financial support, funders’ willingness to share business skills such as marketing and financial management can also contribute significantly to development within this sector.
  • Arts festivals are an ideal platform for collaboration. Co-operation is the lifeblood of some of the country’s renowned festivals, such as the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Funders can play a valuable role by actively promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged performers and artists from the region, thereby ensuring that under-resourced local communities have equal access to the arts.
  • Historically deprived provinces receive less funding and struggle to tap into broader funding sources. When deciding where to invest, funders should consider not only where the project is based, but also where the intended participants and beneficiaries are located. Many productions and exhibitions are, or could be, touring projects.
  • Arts and culture is a vehicle for stimulating discussion on social issues that affect all South Africans, such as systemic inequality, gender-based violence and collective memory. Funders may not want to directly support advocacy, but can contribute to a vibrant democracy by supporting individuals or institutions that produce challenging literature, theatre, fine art, music and films.

Big picture figures

  • According to the chief executive of the South African Cultural Observatory, arts and cultural events generate revenue that make up almost 3% of South Africa’s GDP, which is higher than the country’s agricultural economy of 2.5%.
  • Though not yet publicly available, South Africa’s first cultural and creative industries mapping study, conducted in 2014, shows that the arts and culture sector created between 162 809 and 192 410 jobs – about 1% of employment in the country.
  • According to the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa is the 25th largest market for recorded music, with the industry employing more than 20 000 people.
  • Based on PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2015 report on entertainment and media outlook, South Africa’s total entertainment and media spending is expected to increase by 10%, from R136.3 billion in 2016 to R148.9 billion in 2017.