The Monday of March 18, 2024, was a day of anticipation for creatives in South Africa. It was the day of unveiling the creatives who made a nomination list for the Cultural and Creative Industry Awards (CCIA). Who wouldn’t want to be on that list and stand a chance to win R100,000? If you haven’t heard of these awards before, that’s because they are as fresh and exciting as a spring morning.

I wanted to be among the eager attendees, so I made an effort to arrive early at the SABC studios where the nominations would be revealed by Minister of Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa. When I arrived it was around 11:00 am for the 12:00 press conference. Only a few journalists were there. We waited patiently in the unventilated auditorium.

We only found out a few minutes before 12:00 pm that the minister Kodwa was stuck in KZN King Shaka, where his flight was delayed, so the press conference had to take place at 14:00 pm. We had to wait once more, and this time I was getting a bit impatient, I nearly left.

There was a glimmer of hope when Kodwa arrived earlier than 14:00 pm, but then the press only started around 14:13 pm due to some technicalities that his team were struggling to fix. I had to sit there and watch them struggling with setting up mics.Finally, the much-anticipated unveiling of the inaugural Cultural and Creative Industry Awards at the SABC took place.

The MC gracefully introduced each speaker, building up the excitement. Then, it was Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture Kodwa’s turn to deliver his speech.

“The CCI Awards are an integrated all-encompassing platform for the arts, culture and heritage sector. We envision this to be the most desired cultural recognition in the South African creative industry in the years to come. I am excited that this takes place at the time when as a country we are celebrating 30 years of democracy. This is one of the milestones of the emancipation of our people,” Kodwa said.

The public call for creatives to nominate or nominate themselves went out on the 8th of February, and closed on the 1st of March. While it was a short notice call, surprisingly the awards received an astounding 900 entries. I am not sure about the quality of most of the entries, but from what we can glean from the Minister’s speech, it was a tight competition.

“ We recognise and acknowledge these awards to be the currency of the creatives in the country. We believe that the industry will identify the awards to be the ultimate platform providing authenticity to highly talented creatives,” he said.

I am happy with the nominee review committee, which includes some of the big wigs in the creativity space. Let’s look at them: Professor Pitika Ntuli, Mpho Molepo, Dr Thebe Ikalafeng and Desire Markgraaf, were tasked with sifting through close to 1000 names for the selection of the country’s most gifted.

“ I salute the independent panel of judges who have been appointed to do the most important work of sifting through the many applications received and acknowledge the amount of work that went into the final decisions that led to today’s announcement,” Kodwa said.

Upon taking office just a year ago, Kodwa committed to bridge the gap between the recognition of sports, and the creative industries. This was to be done as there was already an awards ceremony dedicated to celebrating athletes and sports stars, but a similar recognition programme for the country’s brightest stars in the creative industry did not exist in previous years.

Media partner SABC was challenged to shine the same bright spotlight on the creative industry as they do on sports. This was based on observations of how news, sports and weather reports were a daily occurrence, however, only a handful of slots were reserved for cultural and creative programmes.

Collectively, the judges finalised the list of nominees to be honoured at the ceremony. In addition to the awards, the winners will each walk away with R100 000.

  • Nominees for Outstanding Fiction Book include Buntu Siwisa, Vernon Head and Morabo Morojele.Nominees for Nonfiction Book are Milton Shain, Mandla Radebe, Kumi Naidoo, Sandra Swart, and Sipho Sithole.
  • Nominees for Outstanding publisher – Nal’ibali Trust, Itumelang Qhali, Terence Ball, Book Dash, Dee Wee Publication.
  • Competing for the Outstanding Museums Award is the Hector Pieterson Museum, Olievenhuis Art Gallery, and the Kader Heritage Lodge.
  • Zizipho Poswa, Badumile Dlamini and Rebecca Mathibe stand a chance to take the Outstanding Crafter Award home.
  • There are various other awards, which means the judges will have their work cut out for them especially in the Fashion and Textile Designer category. The nominees for this one are Rich Mnisi, Laduma Ngcokolo (Maxhosa) and Mzukisi Mbane (Imprint).
  • Three additional categories, namely the Best Newcomer, the Best Online Content Creator as well as the People’s choice Awards, are to be announced at a later date. The ceremony is set to take place on 30 March at the Sandton Convention Centre.

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