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South African Local Government Association (SALGA) – Tshwane University of Technology: Virtual Seminar | Arts, Culture and Heritage for Sustainable Local Development: Day One





Posted: 23 September 2020

Exploring the connecting link between cultural heritage, the arts and sustainable development, and its specific implications at the local level, was the subject of a South African Local Government Association (SALGA) – Tshwane University of Technology, seminar on Arts, Culture and Heritage for Sustainable Local Development on Wednesday, 23 September 2020.

Hosted on a virtual platform in response to COVID 19, the three-day seminar, which started on Wednesday and resumes on 29 and 30 September 2020, was convened by SALGA in collaboration with Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and United Nations Education and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair and the United Nations Habitat (UN-Habitat).

Day one of the seminar drew insights from a variety of top experts, who held discussions on how cultural heritage and the arts can be an enabler and key driver of sustainable local development

Setting the scene, Prof Mziwoxolo Sirayi, Professor of Drama, Cultural Policy and Cultural Planning at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), said: “Some scholars have argued that when cities, towns, villages disintegrate and degenerate, the solution should be sought in the sphere of arts, culture and heritage.”

By this he meant that cultural heritage and the arts contribute directly to a variety of sustainable development goals such as safe and sustainable cities, decent work, economic growth, reduced inequalities, promoting gender equality and peaceful and inclusive cities.

Decoloniality and Spatial Planning: A Case for Cultural Planning
Prof Fana Sihlongonyane, Post-graduate Coordinator at the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University, delivered a presentation that explored the links between decoloniality, cultural planning and spatial planning.

Linking cultural planning and local development, Prof Sihlongonyane, said: “Cultural planning is a place-based approach to planning and development. It is a process for identifying and leveraging a community's cultural resources, strengthening the management of those resources, and integrating those resources across all facets of local planning and decision making.”

Digital Revolution, Culture and Rural Village Model
Prof Barwa Kanyane, a Research Director at the Human Science Research Council (HSRC), spoke about the concept of smart rural villages (SRV)-communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities. He said these smart villages could help stem urbanization growth.

“Bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas can minimize urbanization,” said Prof Kanyane.
Prof Kanyane said that this could be done by rebuilding the bridge between rural populations and their villages by transforming rural areas into places of opportunity and smart village strategies. He added that smart villages could offer exciting job opportunities that would see them being more sustainable and resilient than cities.

Culture, Climate Change and Education.

Telly Chauke, an Environment and Climate Change Specialist at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), spoke on how climate, climate change, and climate variability are perceived through the lenses of culture, tradition and heritage.

“Changes in temperature, rainfall, extreme climatic events, soil conditions, groundwater and sea level are all likely to affect the physical environment. The relationship between people and the physical environment will change; so will the relationships between people in response to resultant changes,” said Chauke
The seminar’s facilitator, Favourite Khanye, Community Development Specialist at SALGA wrapped up the day’s proceedings saying discussions held over the course of the seminar, should translate into concrete proposals for action for projects, programmes and policies of local and regional governments, civil society organisations, informal groups and heritage professionals and other stakeholders.

“Taking all the content, all the ideas that have been said and all the inspiration that has been generated into that project building,” said Khanye.

Day two of seminar resumes on Tuesday, 29 September 2020 from 09:00 am to 14:00 pm


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