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THIRD FOR ARTS (article first published : 2001-03-15)

More than a third of South Africans believe the arts are more important than sport in creating a balanced society and they believe the government should spend more money on drama, music and dance. These findings are published in a survey into arts and culture in South Africa which shatter myths about the way many people feel about our country’s cultural life.

“This survey will enable us to expand the role the arts play in our communities,” said the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane.

The South African Awareness and Attitudes towards the arts was commissioned by Cape Town’s Spier Festival Trust in collaboration with the department.

“The outcome of the survey has been extraordinary,” said Mark Dornford-May, artistic director of the Spier Festival Trust.

Field work was carried out by Markinor, using face-to-face interviews and a quota sample. Nationally, 2000 South African adults were interviewed between August and September last year. The questionnaire was translated into five languages: Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa and Tswana.

The survey showed the arts were held in high esteem by the poor, more than half of whom said they wanted greater access to the arts. Those with the strongest feelings are black, or earn less than R2,500 a year.

Perception of the arts was defined from a base of theatre and drama; painting and drawings; dance; sculpture and handicraft; plays and musicals; ballet; choral music; jazz; opera and classical music concerts.

The data provided by the survey is intended to help stakeholders with interest in the arts to harmonise policy and funding strategies for the development of the arts in SA.




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