Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the ‘new’ South Africa. It also marks the 20th Anniversary of the Arts and Culture Trust of South Africa. The Arts & Culture Trust was established 20 years ago and was initially called ..”the Arts & Culture Trust of the President” as its earliest patron was our esteemed former President, Nelson Mandela. The Trust was created by founding trustees that gave the initial capital to establish the Trust which was invested. The interest earned from this investment has been disbursed over the last 20 years to countless beneficiaries.
Ask any arts organisation or arts practitioner in SA about the funding scenario in SA and they’ll tell you what a cumbersome process it is. Not only does the application process require a degree in bureaucracy, but once you have been lucky enough to be awarded funding, the process of actually getting the cash in the bank is often extremely painful and slow.
Now, I admit, I am biased as I currently serve as a trustee on this Trust, but I have to share that I wish all arts funding and development agencies were run as effectively and with as much passion as this Trust. The only negative is that they have so little money to dole out compared with other agencies and yet… they have delivered funds, created development programmes, hosted national conferences, given scholarships, given lifetime achievement awards to the shining lights of the creative industries. Many of the recipients have established themselves in the creative industries! So…Halala! ACT Halala! may your 20th celebration next year stand out as a shining light in the firmament.