Transformation and job creation in the cultural and creative industries in South Africa

Jen Snowball, Alan Collins, Delon Tarentaal

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    The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) have been hailed as offering great potential to create jobs and to be socially inclusive. Since artistic success is defined by individual talent, or merit, the CCIs should be one sector that is especially open to, and appreciative of, social diversity in terms of race, class, cultural group and gender. However, recent studies in both the UK and the US have revealed that employment in the CCIs is heavily dominated by middle class people, and is not nearly as diverse in terms of other characteristics, which is what had been expected. Since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, transformation of firm ownership, previously dominated by white people, to include more black, coloured and Indian/Asian-origin South Africans, has been an important part of achieving greater economic equality and social cohesion, as well as being more representative of the cultures of the majority of the population. Using data from a survey of 2400 firms in the CCIs in South Africa, this paper examines the extent to which the CCIs in South Africa have transformed in terms of ownership and employment. Comparisons are also made across the six UNESCO (2009) “Cultural Domains” in terms of ownership, average monthly turnover and the number of full-time, part-time and contract employees. Results show some diversity in the industry, but that there are significant differences between the Domains. Statistical analysis demonstrates that CCI funding policy in South Africa is sensitive to advancing the transformation agenda in that more transformed firms were shown to be more likely to have received some form of government grant as part of their income.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)295-309
    Number of pages16
    JournalCultural Trends
    Issue number4
    Early online date27 Sept 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


    • cultural and creative industries
    • employment
    • ownership
    • cultural domains


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