Soweto Theatre: 10- years of bringing the arts to the heart of Joburg

By City of Joburg by Councillor Mpho Phalatse

 How beautiful is it to celebrate the arts with some of the greats who have contributed to its enrichment and empowerment. 

Not only are we  celebrating Joburg and  South Africa’s world-renowned artists, but we are doing so while they still stand with us ,and doing what they love through every note they sing and play. 
We should give our legends their flowers while they’re still with us and we choose to give you your flowers today while you’re still breathing.
Our kind words should not only be saved for when we stand by your graves ,but our expression of gratitude and praise should be done on days like this and everyday going forward.  

Ten years of the Soweto Theatre is an amazing achievement. It dispels the idea  that South Africans, particularly, Joburgers and residents of  Soweto are not willing to pay for and support the arts. In fact ,today’s celebrations confirm the notion that the arts are alive in the townships and across the city. 

People from across the city have converged on Soweto to not only say that the Soweto Theatre has a glorious decade behind it but also to loudly state that there are many more good decades ahead for this hub of the arts. It is also fitting that these legends are celebrated during Heritage month. 
Heritage is our inheritance ;the arts is our inheritance, and it is what we will bequeath to many more generations to come. 

The Jabulani Amphitheatre is part of our heritage ,it has hosted some of the most historical moments in our quest for a just, free, and fair society. 

It was here that the revolution for a democratic South Africa was intensified ,when Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, then only25-years old ,read out a letter by the late President Mandela ,who rejected P.W Botha’s conditions for his release. 

The work done here may not necessarily be a political revolution, but it is certainly a cultural revolution that is far from complete. 

During my term as Executive Mayor of Joburg, I have seen far too many artists ,young and  old, pass on with very little to their names. These were talented custodians of the arts who were not given their flowers while they were alive. 

Your fight–our fight–is to ensure that the arts receive its rightful and fair share ,so that the struggles of the Legends we are celebrating here today aren’t the same struggles of younger artists. In that fight you have a partner in me and the Joburg Multi-Party Government. 

Sports, Arts and Culture ,are,  to a large extent, an unfunded mandate of the city, and we are not getting our rightful and fair share from the other spheres of government, despite the contribution we make ; and we are therefore challenging National and Provincial spheres of government to unlock the resources needed so that as the City,  we can build more Soweto Theatres across Joburg to support and empower the arts.
Happy10-years to the Soweto Theatre! 

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