Investing in talent, skill and creative capabilities of our youth

Dancers from the Taare Troupe. Picture: Ian Landsberg.

Dancers from the Taare Troupe. Picture: Ian Landsberg.

Published Aug 28, 2023


Dr Stella Khumalo

South African talent has historically put our country on the map, through various art forms including home-grown music such as Amapiano and Kwaito. As our local talent gains global recognition and popularity, it is clear that the talents we possess as a nation is a priceless commodity that we should invest in.

The talent of our youth holds infinite potential and if we begin to nurture this talent and create platforms to cultivate our home-grown gifts, there are no limits to what we can achieve as a nation.

By investing in the talents, skills and creative capabilities of our youth, we can enhance our cultural and social landscape, as well as advance our nation’s economy.

Government realises that developing South African talent can transform the trajectory of our nation and has subsequently launched The Young Creatives Programme (TYCP), aiming to empower the next generation of artists.

TYCP is a flagship initiative of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture which will empower young creatives whose career ambitions are aligned with a passion for arts and culture. This is a youth-focused programme that will embolden South African youth by unlocking socio-economic opportunities, providing them with the platform to showcase their creative capabilities and the means to expand their skills.

In partnership with the National Youth Development Agency, we aim to develop young creatives from diverse backgrounds through training, workshops, mentorships and providing them with access to resources.

Through these programmes, including exhibitions and networking events, young creatives will have the opportunity to engage with creative industry experts to gain valuable insights from them.

As our creative youth develop their skills and gain knowledge, it will increase their employability, occupational skills and job readiness. TYCP will therefore serve as a stepping stone to success for writers, artists, designers, musicians, performers and creators embarking on their creative careers.

Not only does the programme develop our youth’s skills and talents, it also provides income for participants in the form of a stipend allowance, ranging from R3,500 to R4,000 per month.

In this way TYCP makes a meaningful economic contribution in the creative arts sector, especially in light of the alarming youth unemployment statistics in South Africa which reveal that more than 60% of our youth are unemployed. Young creatives often have gig work, but lack steady employment. We believe that by developing our youth’s talents and linking them with opportunities as they complete the programme, they will be able to earn a living and cultivate their own paths to sustainable livelihoods.

Government also encourages self-employment opportunities within the creative industry. Our youth can explore the vast options presented via new media technologies, including social media.

South African talent has trended on social media with songs such as ‘Jerusalema’ turning into global dance challenges. This indicates that our young creatives are trailblazers, known for setting new trends that can influence and unite people.

Our talents and our creativity not only entertain, they also serve to foster social cohesion, nation building and patriotism as we embrace our cultural diversity. Our diversity and rich heritage is reflective within our communities that tell unique stories through an array of indigenous languages and traditions.

Community art centres help relay our South African stories and TYCP will help revive the importance of these centres by placing 270 young people in these centres across the country, during the first year, helping develop both our communities and youth.

By giving our youth opportunities to be part of the projects within the community art centres, we help keep them away from social ills. Youth who have fallen out of the education system also have a chance to get involved through TYCP and make a positive impact by uplifting, educating and entertaining our communities.

We encourage our youth to get involved in TYCP and use this as a tool of community activism. By investing in our creative economy through the programme, we will advance our national, cultural and social economy.

Dr Stella Khumalo is acting Director General at the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL