Apartheid statues and art classes: 10 issues from Ringo's first parly speech

16 July 2019 - 19:39 By Andisiwe Makinana
EFF MP Ringo Madlingozi. File picture
EFF MP Ringo Madlingozi. File picture
Image: Ringo Madlingozi via Instagram

Musician Ringo Madlingozi is used to getting behind the microphone, but on Tuesday he did so in a completely different way by addressing parliament for the first time.

Madlingozi, who was sworn in as an EFF member of parliament after May's general election, participated in the arts and culture budget vote on Tuesday. In his maiden speech he criticised the ANC government for what he called "a failure to realise the full revolutionary potential" of the department, and of the arts and culture sector in general.

Here are 10 of his most prominent comments from his address:

  • Madlingozi defined art as a reflection of culture and society, saying the dominance of "white supremacy" was reflected in SA's arts and in the arts industry. That is why TV stations and radios must air content that is at least 75% African. With African actors, producers, directors, and story lines. He said our children must not be made to feel inferior or insecure about their identities, and they must see people who look and speak like them on TV and in movies;
  • Government must assist black actors, artists, producers and directors. Government procurement, legislation and use of state entities are an easy and practical way of doing this, and the SABC must play a central role;
  • A state-owned music distribution and production company needs to be established, which local artists can use to produce and distribute their music, while still being able to maintain the rights to their creative products;
  • Government must only hire local artists for state events, and must prioritise new and upcoming artists;
  • Local art galleries must be required to promote and sell a minimum of 90% local art. Local artists must be commissioned to paint and beautify government buildings and facilities including schools, hospitals and transport hubs;
  • At grass-roots level, each ward must have an arts and culture centre. Each ward must have a mini-theatre. Each school must have dedicated arts and culture teachers;
  • The Pan-South African Language Board must work with the basic and higher education departments so that children are taught all subjects in their mother tongue, and so academic papers are published in African languages;
  • When it comes to museums, the department cannot continue to allocate funding to the Boere Museum and other colonial monuments, while neglecting museums and monuments dedicated to African heroes and culture. "If the boere really want more money they can always go to Afriforum," he said;
  • All statues of colonial and apartheid leaders must be torn down and discarded to the dustbin of history. The department cannot continue to take part in the glorification of colonialism through the maintenance of colonial statues; and
  • The department must also make it a matter of priority that Cape Town International Airport be renamed Winnie Mandela International Airport, and that East London Airport be renamed Steve Biko Airport.

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