The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO)
The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO)

Gqeberha– The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) today announced an exciting international line-up of speakers for the upcoming 4th SACO International Conference comprising of leading brains in the cultural and creative economy in the African continent, Europe, Australia and the Americas.

Headlining the speaker line-up is the world-renowned critical theorist and social scientist, the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, Professor Homi K. Bhabha who will deliver the key-note speech. Author of numerous works exploring colonial and postcolonial theory, cultural change and power, and cosmopolitanism, among other themes, Bhabha is one of the most important world  figures in contemporary postcolonial studies who has developed a number of the field’s neologisms and key concepts, such as hybridity, mimicry, difference, and ambivalence. He will speak on the topic of ‘Culture wars: Trends driving the state of global culture and the need to rethink citizenship and affiliation’.

Hosted under the theme “Creative economy reset: Structuring the creative and cultural industries for a sustainable and inclusive future”, the conference aims to discuss issues affecting the cultural and creative sector in the face of the huge negative impact of the Covid-19 and the current world economic crisis.

To ensure the conference addresses a diverse range of critical topics, Bhabha will be joined by international and local luminary thinkers in the subject of cultural and creative economy and cultural practitioners that include an author and University of South Australia’s Professor of Creative Economy, Justin O’connor (a leading thinker and international expert of cultural economy theory with interests in such areas as contemporary urban cultures; cultural and creative industries; cultural policy; arts and culture reset); University of Manchester Professor for Arts and Cultural Management, and an economist, Prof. Leandro Valiati (leading thinker and economist whose areas of interest include creative industries and economy of culture, art history and cultural practices); Minister for Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa who leads the SA Government in the development and the implementation of arts and culture policy in South Africa; Chief of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s Creative Economy Programme Dr. Marisa Henderson; South African guitarist, composer, producer, author and educator, Mr. Billy Monama; Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Prof. Stuart Cunningham; FLSH Dhar Elmehraz of the University of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah in Morocco, Mr Youssef Soubai, (descriptor); Mr. Eric Karengera from Rwanda’s production and curation music network, AFROGROOV;  representatives from Kenya based and Africa’s first dedicated finance, business support and knowledge facility for creative industries, HEVA Fund. Ms. Wakiuru Njuguna and Mr. George Gachara; and Manager for programme and partnerships manager for British Council Zimbabwe, Ms. Farai Ncube

These are just but a few names of contributors that will participate at the conference in conversations that seek to assist the South African creative sector to debate and find solutions to various challenges that face the industry.

In addition to deliberations, UNCTAD will do the Africa launch of the Creative Economy Outlook and Report 2022 at the conference. This new report offers insights into the survey carried out by UNCTAD with member States on the creative economy highlighting institutional arrangements and national plans and strategies for 33 countries. The findings show how the creative economy has become a sector of growing social, political, and economic importance.

The conference which will be hosted in a hybrid format is scheduled to take place in Pretoria, Gauteng, on 9 and 10 November 2022 at the CSIR International Convention Centre.

Organised in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, the conference is intended to bring together local and international thinkers, academics, key industry stakeholders, including funders (current and potential), cultural practitioners and artists to share experiences and insights about what and how the industry can rebuild, consolidate and innovate in order to grow and support sustainable livelihoods for the cultural practitioners and the South African creative sector.

SACO Executive Director, Ms Unathi Lutshaba urged the SA creative sector stakeholders to think innovatively about how to grow the sector for long term sustainability. “The challenges that face the industry require that we all think deeply and innovatively about the type of solutions that will put the industry on a long-term sustainable path for growth and development. This is exactly why we felt it necessary to pull all the stops to put together a conference that brings together leading international and local industry brains under one roof,” said, SACO Executive Director, Ms Unathi Lutshaba.

The South African Cultural Observatory and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture encourage all industry stakeholders to participate at the conference with a view to having critical and much needed conversations on the best way to reset the creative economy. Interested stakeholders are invited and encouraged to register to participate in the conference using the link:


Issued by:     Marketing and Communications Manager

Mboneni Mulaudzi

Contact: 0828892971/0415044935

Email: [email protected]