Creative culture of South Africa
Did you know?
Cape Town’s annual Design Indaba Expo in February showcases creative South Africa at its finest.
Since the democratic elections of 1994, the many ethnic groups that make up South Africa’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ have been expressing themselves freely – and creatively.
South Africans receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature; stepping up onto a Los Angeles stage to pick up an Oscar for achievement in the film industry; a Grammy for marvellous music – the world is applauding our newly revealed creative culture.
The local publishing industry has set new standards with home-grown work. South African news and feature photographers are highly regarded as assignment specialists and are often found working for top international media. Our special brand of comedy is finding important off-shore audiences and our artists exhibit abroad regularly.
We produce – and consume – television soap operas voraciously. Our chefs have a world of cultural dishes to choose from – and often end up in fusion mode. The studios of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg are humming with multi-media projects in progress. The information age has transformed this African country into a continental hi-tech leader.
But the real magic comes in the hybrid vigour of South Africa’s creative culture. The spark of genius is struck when the digital wizards work with the raw content that you see everywhere you go in South Africa: a Venda pot, a bolt of beautiful Xhosa cloth, a set of Zulu beads, a wire windmill from the Karoo, sinuous Hindu dance, a collection of ancient San (Bushmen) folk tales told at the fireside by the elders, a tattered diary from the South African War – and the exciting new forms of township art emerging from the vast squatter camps around the urban areas.
The history of South Africa is being re-investigated and, as a result, rewritten to include everyone. Creative projects abound, in urban and rural areas alike. An individual with a good idea harnesses the artistry of 100 mothers and suddenly an export business is born. And hope comes to a community…
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
National Arts Festival
Tel: +27 (0)46 603 1103
Best time to visit
Any time of the year is good for experiencing South African creativity: enjoy, for example, summer concerts in botanical gardens, and winter performances indoors.
Follow the South Africa media: newspapers, relevant magazines, cultural websites and the like - your creative road map will soon become clear.
What will it cost
The various prices of admission are, by offshore standards, very low.
Length of stay
Depending on your passions and the time you have available, South African creative culture could keep you here indefinitely.
What to pack
Pack for all seasons and bring all the camera memory cards and energy you can muster. You're in for a long and exciting ride!
What to eat
Eating in South Africa is part of your cultural safari. Be adventurous and informed. The food is good and most dishes come with an even better back-story or legend.
South Africa has a lot of creative cultural festivals, from music performances to food festivals to the hallmark National Arts Festival in Grahamstown each July.
South Africa has a burgeoning craft industry; more formalised art is available in many city galleries; you can even visit the artists in their home studios in many country settings. Make it all part of your journey.