The White Paper on Arts & Culture (1996)

South Africa
Department of Arts and Culture and institutions
Key objectives of the measure:

The White Paper was introduced in 1996

The main objectives are :  

  • Promoting economic activity and valuing diversity of the arts, culture, and heritage.
  • Empower all South Africans to fully participate in the country's social, political, and economic life, by using the linguistic diversity of our country as a resource
  • Equitable development and preservation or our experiences, heritage and symbols
  • Promotes the full range of art forms, cultural activities & heritage
  • Develops the cultural industry
  • Widens access to arts, culture & heritage promotion & development
Scope of the measure:
Local, Regional, National
Main feature of the measure:

The 1996 White Paper has created an environment conducive to the promoting, protecting and realizing the full potential of South Africa’s Cultural and Creative Industries through:

  • transparent and catalytic mechanisms for distributing public funds;
  • transformation of all arts and culture institutions and structures;
  • redistribution, redress and access;
  • human resource development: practitioners, administrators and educators;
  • integration of arts and culture into all aspects of socio-economic development;
  • the rights and status of practitioners; and
  • sources of funding.

Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure: Since the adoption of the 1996 White Paper to date, a wide range of legislation enacts its policy intents and addresses the myriad elements that impact on and inform the role and work of the Cultural and Creative Industries.  Some of the legislation, programmes and projects developed since 1996 overrides the essence of the 1996 White Paper, not as intentional disregard for the policy framework but rather as a response to changes in the political and socio-economic context and directives issued by succeeding government’s priorities; and the growing strength and contribution of the Cultural and Creative Industries in the broader agenda to transform South Africa into an equitable society.
Some of the changes that have taken place since 1996, have been in the composition, governance, mandates and role of ACH institutions and the Cultural and Creative Industries.
Another very significant political and structural change that challenges the 1996 White Paper is the separation of Science and Technology from the Arts and Culture, in 2004, to form another department.

Main conclusions of the evaluation of the measure:

The 1996 White Paper is currently being reviewed to establish its impact as part a revision exercise of the policy to:

  • Strategically re-positioning the role of the DAC in delivering ACH to all – within the context and ambit of a developmental state; and in partnership with other role-players involved in and with ACH and the Cultural and Creative Industries;
  • Transforming the approach, institutional structures and processes for equitably delivery of ACH;
  • Transforming the demographic profiles of ACH institutions and the Cultural and Creative Industries - across all sectors of society and all the value chain activities of ACH; 
  • Addressing the complex set of persistent challenges that beset ACH and the Cultural and Creative Industries;
  • Maximizing the developmental socio-economic opportunities that exist within ACH and the Cultural and Creative Industries;
  • Ensuring that as many South Africans as possible have access to, and enjoy the ACH offerings of our country; 
  • Facilitating and supporting the involvement of South Africa’s Cultural and Creative Industries  in the global arena, including across the African continent; and
  • Facilitating and promoting moral regeneration.
Indicators used to determine impact:
The first phase of the review of the 1996 White Paper on Arts and Culture included:A call to the public and civil society for comments and contributionIndustry stakeholder engagementWorkshops held at all levels across the Ministry (from Minister, Deputy Minister, Director General, and across all portfolios within DAC)Consultations with civil society