Lights, camera and urgent action needed for creative economy


Lights, camera and urgent action needed for creative economy

The ‘Generations 16’ debacle exposed the need for a dialogue where all can place their cards on the table

Ayabonga Cawe

Actor Vatiswa Ndara’s open letter to arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa last week was a welcome opening of a can of worms. After the public silence on the exodus of the Generations 16 following conflict with the creators of the popular show, a shake-up of the film and television industry is overdue.

Many have spoken at length about the potential of the creative economy (of which film and television is part) to create employment and contribute to SA’s economic output. Even the department of trade and industry and many provinces have earmarked the industry for support. It is also an industry with strong links to other sectors of the economy, most notably tourism. It also has many subsectors, such as software production and gaming, that have significant potential for SA as the fourth industrial revolution unfolds.

I want to consider some of the labour issues Ndara’s letter raised, and how they have the potential to constrain our ability to leverage what I recently heard being called the orange economy...

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