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From theatre to dance, opera to cabaret, fine art to craft art, classical music to jazz, poetry readings to lectures, every art form is represented all over South Africa. The country is rich in cultural diversity making it a great destination for all art lovers. A large number of art galleries provide opportunities for well-known and lesser known artists to show-case their talents. The Department of Arts and Culture seeks to develop and preserve South African culture to ensure social cohesion and nation-building.
The National Heritage Council, a statutory body that aims to bring equity to heritage promotion and conservation, was officially constituted on 26 February 2004. The council creates an enabling environment for preserving, protecting and promoting South African heritage. Its other objectives are to protect, preserve and promote the content and heritage that reside in orature to make it accessible and dynamic; to integrate living heritage into the council and all other heritage authorities and institutions at national, provincial and local level; to promote and protect indigenous knowledge systems (IKS); and to intensify support for promoting the history and culture of all South Africans.
Community Art Centres
About 166 community art centres are in operation, varying from community-initiated to government-managed. The centres operate at different levels, ranging from general socio-cultural promotion, advanced programmes and vocational training. The centres also vary from craft centres, community halls and community theatres. Many art centres are functioning well and have made impressive contributions to local socio-economic development. The Department of Arts and Culture supports programmes in most needy centres that are community-initiated or non-governmental. The National Task Team of Community Art Centres has been established to develop a framework that will address urgent and pressing needs at community art centres.
Learn about the cultures, lives and experiences of the various people of South Africa by visiting cultural villages around the country. Cultural village show the traditional lifestyle of the people to visitors in a natural environment. Aspects like traditional dances and rituals in the rural areas as well as the urban and township milieu that gives South Africa some of its defining features.
All the traditions of the Basotho people have been preserved in the Basotho Cultural Village, which is situated about 20 km from the Golden Gate National Park and lies within the QwaQwa National Park.
At Kosi Bay in Maputaland on the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast, a community owned tourism camp has been established around the house where David Webster, an anthropologist who was assassinated by one of the apartheid government's death squads, did extensive field work in this area during the 1980s.
Further south in the same province, located in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, is a four-star luxury hotel complex called Shakaland. Not as informal and spontaneous as the Kosi project, this site contains a perfectly constructed Zulu kraal dating back to King Shaka's time. There are 40 huts making up the umuzi (village).