Arterial Network of South Africa, in association with diverse arts, culture and heritage organisations, launched a major South African advocacy campaign on 1 April to position the broad sector, across disciplines, as an important election issue in our country.

The campaign centres on a letter to all political parties in South Africa, asking them why people working in the arts, culture and heritage sector in South Africa should vote for them.

The organisations call on political parties to engage in a national conversation about the role of the creative sector in our country. It is also asking arts, culture and heritage organisations and individuals to endorse the project and calls on artists, designers, writers, performers, musicians, heritage workers, filmmakers and all practitioners and producers working in these and related fields to create work inspired by the question: Why should we vote for you?

Speaking on behalf of the campaign, the Secretary General of Arterial Network South Africa, Valmont Layne, says, “We believe cultural life and artistic creativity is a human right and not a luxury, and that all South Africans have this right. We hear a lot of lip-service to the need for social cohesion, imagination and homegrown innovation and we agree that our sector is best placed to inspire and contribute to that need. Yet the arts and our cultural lives are often marginalised. This is obvious in budget allocations, consultation processes and a general lack of respect for the our contribution and, more significantly, our potential contribution.”

Layne continues: “We are confident that through the work of creative practitioners, including writers, journalists, curators, painters, performers, sculptors, dancers, poets, musicians, filmmakers, designers and artists working in experimental forms, we are influential. We aim to manifest that influence through this campaign and put the spotlight on our sectors plight – and its power.”

In addition to requesting that political parties respond to the question Why should we vote for you? the letter addressed to them includes a number of related questions including:

  1. Does your party think arts, culture and heritage is a priority for South Africa?
  2. Does your party support our sector in South Africa and in which ways?
  3. What are your policies for arts, culture and heritage?
  4. What would you change about current arts, culture and heritage policy inSouth Africa?
  5. Is your party aware of the current proposed revision to South Africa’s White Paper on Arts Culture and Heritage, the process of submissions to it and its current status?
  6. What does your party think about the National Development Plan in terms of the arts, culture and heritage environment?
  7. Is your party aware of current public funding budgets and priorities for our sector in South Africa – in terms of published plans and realities?
  8. Does your party use our sector to market itself either during the election build-up or before / after that?
  9. How do you think creativity can contribute to community development, poverty alleviation and job creation in South Africa?
  10. What is your policy on arts, culture and heritage education for children and adults?

As part of the campaign, practitioners and leaders in the sector will participate in debates and activities during the election build-up and the campaign will post news, responses and related information via social media.


  • Academic and Non Fiction Authors’ Association of South Africa (ANFASA)
  • The Archival Platform
  • Egoli Heritage Foundation
  • The Heritage Portal
  • Institute for Arts Management and Development, Northwest University (ARTEMA)
  • ASSITEJ South Africa
  • My Dream for the Arts
  • South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation
  • South Africa/ PEN
  • Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA)
  • South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO)
  • UNIMA - Puppetry South Africa
  • Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA)
  • Writers’ Guild of South Africa

For information or interviews, please contact:
Lesley Perkes, Campaign Coordinator
Arterial Network of South Africa
C: +27 836542009
Twitter: @Vote_4_You #why

Arterial Network South Africa is a Chapter of Arterial Network - a dynamic network of individuals, organisations, donors, companies and institutions engaged in the African creative and cultural sector. The Chapter was established in 2010 when local committees were set up in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban and a National Steering Committee elected. The South African Chapter is made up of membership-based organisations active in the arts, culture and heritage sector in South Africa, as well as arts organisations, artists, creative practitioners, administrators and activists. Arterial Network South Africa is
administered by a Secretariat based in Cape Town.

For more information and to get involved visit:

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