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DIEPSLOOT bred filmmakers and producers should tell of the plight of their community through movies, theatre and television dramas to gain a commercial stake in the Mzanzi Golden Economy, a Department of Arts and Culture concept aimed at recognising the arts sector as a catalyst of economic growth.

Young artists ranging from fashion designers, musicians, performers and community members heard this advice at an imbizo held at Itirele-Zenzele Combined School in extension two on 23 June. They raised a variety of issues with the ministry.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said the department had a myriad scholarships and support for budding artists; however, they needed to approach it as formal structures and not as individuals. “We are here for you, but your programmes can be more effective and successful if you are one unit,” he said.

Mashatile promised that an arts and culture institution would be built on a recently acquired tract of land on the eastern edge of the township. Residents of Diepsloot would be offered recreational amenities and an arts academy at the institution, opportunities that until now remained out of their reach.

Various ideas were mooted at the consultation, with some suggesting that Diepsloot should get a further education and training college and an arts and craft market. Others lamented that they had to pay to use the community centre and that there weren’t enough opportunities in their backyard.Chris Vondo, said the imbizo had been organised in line with prescripts of Joburg 2040, the City’s Growth and Development Strategy, which identified the arts as a significant contributor to social cohesion, building a liveable city and contributing to economic growth.

“There is a lot of arts and culture potential in Diepsloot that should be nurtured. If we organise ourselves into formal structures we can maximise that potential,” Vondo said.

A ward councillor told the community to get involved in social networking to keep the debate alive and to continue to exert pressure on authorities to expedite service delivery.

Last year, the Department of Arts and Culture adopted a strategy called the Mzanzi Golden Economy, designed to position the sector as a potential contributor to economic growth, employment creation, and trade and skills development.

The programme aims to get arts and culture recognised as a significant contributor to the mainstream economy and gross domestic product. Diepsloot residents were encouraged to participate actively in the mainstream arts and culture sector in an effort to improve their lives.

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