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RORKE'S DRIFT PROJECT (article first published : 2004-10-4)

The Rorke's Drift Training and Development Project has been launched with the Create SA National Skills Fund Programme as the implementing agent.

Minister of Arts and Culture Dr Z Pallo Jordan started his Imbizo campaign with a visit to the communities who will benefit from this ambitious venture. On September 25 he visited the Investing in Culture programmes in Vryheid and Rorke's (Shiyane) Drift.

The Arts and Craft Centre in Rorke's Drift was once a leader in this sector in South Africa. Established so that traditional crafts were developed as a means to earn a living and to help to improve the conditions of women in the homelands, it is probably the oldest centre of its kind in the country. However, during the past 15 years the centre has failed to keep up with market demands.

Create SA, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and other organisations have now stepped in with an ambitious training scheme to turn the fortunes of the centre around. The creation of new markets and product development will be a primary focus of this new intervention. Opportunities for producing goods for both the local and export markets have been identified and secured through the involvement of the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) in the project.

The objective is to coordinate, facilitate and implement an integrated craft and tourism development strategy for Rorke's Drift, building on the existing legacy, resources and infrastructure. At the same time, new markets for craft products will be assessed while developing new tourism-related products that allow the community to maximise local economic development opportunities.

The implementation of the learnerships and skills development programmes will generate immediate work opportunities for 80 unemployed people from the Msinga local municipality and boost the income of the 30 existing artists, crafters and administrators at the centre. This will lead to the renovation of existing infrastructure and identification of additional infrastructure needs. Financial aid should result with the finalisation of a business plan and the implementation of new product development on behalf of the Rorkes Drift community.

All the training on this project will be funded and project managed by the Create SA programme of the MAPPP-SETA. The training is accredited and will lead to qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework. Create SA funding covers all the training costs and learner weekly stipends.

The goal of Create SA is to invest in the cultural sector's most critical resource, people. Create SA is the Media Advertising, Publishing, Printing and Packaging Sector Education and Training Authority's (MAPPP SETA) creative industries skills development programme. It was started in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and is funded by the Department of Labour's national skills fund.

Create SA believes that South Africa's creative industries have the potential to develop into a major growth industry in the local economy and be competitive in the global marketplace.

Says Dr Jordan: "As a nation, we need to have high artistic standards and government aims to create an enabling environment for the reduction of the divide between rural and urban areas and ensuring that the arts have an equal opportunity to thrive in both areas. I believe there is still a lot of untapped opportunities for arts and culture, we are connected by our shared African heritage, and we should not undermine the potential for the arts in building the nation and in contributing to the economy."

More information about the organisation and its programme on the Create SA website at www.createsa.org.za




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