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Young Jamaican performers may soon get a chance to visit South Africa to showcase their talent and to learn more about African tradition in the areas of song and dance.
Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Lulama Xingwana, issued the invitation at a cultural reception held yesterday evening (December 13) on the lawns of Jamaica House in Kingston.
Obviously impressed with the high quality performances from the Spanish Town Dance Theatre Company, the Innswood Drummers, the Port Morant Kumina Group, among others, Minister Xingwana said: “starting with our young kids, who are dancing and singing here, I am sure we would like to invite some of them to come to South Africa to sing and dance for our people but also to learn some of our traditional songs and dance.”
The South African Minister also expressed a desire for local instructors to teach the arts, including music, in schools in South Africa.
Minister Xingwana arrived in the island on Saturday (December 12) for a two-day visit, at the invitation of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, who visited South Africa in September to participate in the World Summit of Arts and Culture and to hold bilateral meetings.
She expressed appreciation for the solidarity shown by Jamaica to the people of South Africa during their struggles against apartheid and said that the bond between the two countries had been further strengthened as a result of her visit to the island.
“We are here to say that as we move into the difficult future, where we have new challenges of poverty, of under-development, of unemployment… we are here to work together side by side, holding one another by the hand,” she said, adding that Jamaica’s relationship with South Africa will not only be Government to Government but it will also be “a people to people relationship.”
In her remarks, Minister Grange reiterated that a strong bond exists between the people of South Africa and Jamaica.
She recalled that in 1957, Jamaica, while still a colony, became one of the first nations to declare a trade embargo against apartheid South Africa and started a long campaign to bring down the regime.
“Today, we affirm that our friendship is as strong as ever as we work to find ways of deepening our co-operation for the benefit of Jamaica and South Africa,” she said.
She welcomed the opportunity to work with the South African Minister, and noted that the two countries could achieve much in the areas of the arts, culture, sports, television, film and creative industries. “I welcome the opportunity, Minister, to work with you,” she added.
The event also featured performances from Abijah, Richie Stephens, Marcia Griffiths and Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Ensemble, and a “Shades of Africa” fashion show featuring Saint International models.

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