Cape Town – International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor has issued an apology to the arts community after she said that Africa needs more skilled people in sciences and technology than in arts.
Pandor said this during an interview she had in September last year with the Council on Foreign Relations – based in the United States – in which they discussed the state of democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In a short clip of the interview that resurfaced on social media, the minister stressed the need to increase the number of young people to be trained in “critical skills” in Africa.
“I don’t think we want more arts trainers; I’m sorry for the arts people.
“But I think, science is very important, technology and engineering because those are the skills that we desperately need as well in the finance and economic sectors. We need highly trained people and then information and communication technology,” Pandor said at the time.
Minister Naledi Pandor’s statement ignores the fact that it is the arts fratenity that continues to put South Africa on the world map. People like @Trevornoah, @RealBlackCoffee, @wouterkellerman and many more achieve this with no support from and reliance on @MYANC government. pic.twitter.com/eWnqmDT7w1
— Sabelo Mthembu (@sabelomthembu) May 2, 2023
The video left a bad taste in the arts space, and various organisations that represented arts and creative artists. They called for the minister to apologise and withdraw her remarks.
In a statement, Pandor’s spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the minister was misunderstood and it was not her intention to upset artists.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu