Durban City Hall. File picture

The eThekwini municipality on Wednesday celebrated Durban's inclusion as a UNESCO City of Literature.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said the body on its website, was created in 2004 to "promote co-operation with and among cities that had identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development". 

"The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level."

Durban was officially granted the prestigious designation in October, and the KwaZulu-Natal coastal city is the first African city to have received it.

Speaking at the event City mayor Zandile Gumede said the achievement was not just for Durban, but was an achievement for the country and continent as a whole.

“This prestigious title does not only affirm the City’s commitment to promoting arts, culture and literacy but places us firmly as a world-class city. It will promote our city as a great destination for literature and creative arts tourists and will encourage dialogue between cities.”

MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Sihle Zikalala, also at the event, said that creative arts had over the past three years created 500 000 jobs and injected R 90 billion into the national economy.

The Mercury