Eswatini hosts first ever arts summit
Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga

Eswatini hosts first ever arts summit

Eswatini National Arts and Culture has taken a step towards acknowledging the ongoing technological innovations
and transformations which are currently taking over the arts industry by storm, and hosted their first ever Arts Summit. The historic two-day event was held at Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) auditorium in Manzini last Thursday under the theme ‘The Future of Arts-Artist as the Nucleus’. Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries Bulunga was the guest speaker. The event first focused on the vital and transformative impact of artists in both local communities and global economies. It was noted that the need to look at the global economies was due to the technological advancements that had reduced the world into one global village, where issues of climate change and migration reshaped societies while creating complex challenges that invited new solutions that would embrace the coming together of people from different cultures. This development has created the need to bring together the different stakeholders to address these issues and examine how governments, cultural organizations, creative practitioners, and citizens could work together to actively lead change while bringing forth sustainable
resolutions and declarations from such summits. Minister Bulunga first applauded the different stakeholders
who helped stage such a very important platform, saying it would take arts to even greater heights if the ideas shared at the summit were properly cultivated into the country’s own arts industry. The Minister noted with great gratitude the speech from the throne during the opening of the 11th parliament, where His Majesty spoke about the
importance of the youth in national development, hence he said this has given everyone a clear command to
upscale programs that would uplift the lives of the youth. Minister Bulunga shared statistics that showed that the Arts and Culture industry had potential to employ more people than any other sector. The statistics showed that the industry had been able to create nearly 30 million jobs worldwide, while employing more people under the age of
29. “It is clear that through the Arts industry, we could counter one of the biggest challenges facing Eswatini,
that of youth unemployment. We can come up with ideas and strategies where arts would be used to alleviate
unemployment,” said the minister. Among other things, the minister also harped on the framework and intellectual property rights. He said the apid changes in technology should be addressed while keeping in mind the importance of protecting and promoting the work (original) of artists and cultural professionals.

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