Indigenous South African Arts provides for art as performed by indigenous people that lived in South Africa long before other people came to live here. In South Africa this in particular refers to the San and Nama people. However, many cultures that are now considered indigenous to our country, (although not in the same sense than the San and Nama were), brought their innate culture with them as they migrated towards the south from various places since the 16th century.
What is indigenous art?
Indigenous art is performed by indigenous people that lived in a place long before other people came to live there. In South Africa this in particular refers to the San and Nama people. However, many cultures that are now considered indigenous to our country, although not in the same sense that the San and Nama were, brought their innate culture with them as they migrated towards the south from various places since the 16th century. In this sense Indigenous art also refers to home-grown art. Home-grown art then expresses the innate qualities that have developed and characterizes the different people of our land.
Is an Indigenous African Arts Category necessary?
Following the success of the NEA Indigenous Arts Development Project with the support on the National Lottery Commission in 2015, it was decided to complete a new Indigenous South African Arts Section in Prospectus 2016.
Given the challenges of the urbanization of people and urban influences, as well as the apparent low level of interest in performances in indigenous languages amongst the youth, it is important to find ways to promote and preserve indigenous arts practices so that people should know where they come from, where they are and where they are going.
The purpose of including Indigenous African Arts as separate section is to encourage and stimulate participation in indigenous dance, music, theatre and storytelling activities, as well as to promote and preserve indigenous languages. Ultimately, participating in the Eisteddfod will contribute towards greater awareness of and pride in our multi-cultural diversity by keeping tradition alive for generations to come by supporting communities – both urban and rural – to rediscover, preserve and promote pride in their cultural heritage. In doing so, the National Eisteddfod of South Africa™ provides for
- Rediscovering our roots and creating interest and awareness of indigenous performing practices,
- creating a platform for indigenous performing arts activities in various communities that will also motivate learners and provide them with opportunities to showcase their potential;
- elevating the status of indigenous practices through the eisteddfod platform and acknowledgement of achievements
- improving performance standards by establishing adjudication standards for indigenous practices
- utilizing the magic of the performing arts to develop skills and self-esteem in learners,
- making it possible for young performers to discover themselves and to be aware of their latent talent.