01 August 2022

Celebrated under the theme: “Unlocking the wealth in our Heritage,”, the Heritage Careers Expo seeks to look at careers and opportunities within the arts: visual arts, multimedia, music, graphic design, jewellery design, conservation, hospitality, and interior design, and how these are beneficial to learners. It also aims to guide and encourage high school learners on how to navigate the world of arts.

In her welcoming remarks, UMP Vice-chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso spoke about how UMP as a comprehensive institution, understands that its academic project must combine both the creation and transfer of knowledge and skills and the development of students as independent and critical thinkers with a passion for knowledge and its applications.

“Our vision is to offer high quality educational and training opportunities that foster the holistic development of students through teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and engagement, in collaboration with strategic partners.”

She further said UMP values: Excellence, Integrity, Diversity, Collaboration, Adaptability, Relevance and Inspiration find expression in the arts and the expo.

“We reflect and serve diverse regional, national and global communities. We foster an environment in which diversity is appreciated, respected and celebrated. We are committed to accessibility, inclusivity and social justice,” she added that as an African University, they recognise, affirm, entrench the African experience and context in the academic project, leadership and management processes.

Embracing Africanness

Professor Mayekiso further explained that the university celebrates and upholds African values, African epistemologies and African world view philosophy. We value and embrace our African identity, our Africanness, and pride ourselves for educating students for work and for life.

“I would like to indicate our commitment and passion for the Arts and Heritage careers. We believe that the arts teach symbolics, expressive capacities that can reach across barriers of language, culture, background and experience. It is about applying creative thinking to projects, igniting students’ imagination and creativity through the arts.

UMP Careers in the arts were celebrated during the 2022 Heritage Expo.

“Heritage careers provide the opportunity for harnessing creativity, creative inquiry, creative problem-solving, resilience and adaptability. For example, we are offering three African languages: siSwati, isiNdebele and sePedi. We are offering for the first time in 2022, the BA Honours in siSwati.

The Vice-Chancellor further said common courses are aimed to provide students with a grounding not only in essential basic academic skills such as critical reading and writing, but also to enhance their awareness of their place in Africa, and its relation to the wider world, both past and present.

“A number of our academics are conducting research in the broad domain of culture and heritage such as in the journey and Doctoral thesis of Dr Precious Shabalala, on cultural heritage tourism: Ms Thulisile Bhuda’s children’s book in both English and IsiNdebele on the Ndebele murals.”

Arts careers promote South Africa

In his keynote address, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Mr Buti Manamela encouraged leaners to take up careers that promote South African culture and heritage.

“There are already young people flying the South African flag high internationally, people such as Black Coffee are not only using their talent to earn an income but they are also showcasing our country, and this is the reason we want you to take up these careers,” he said.

Mr Manamela further explained that when most young people go to university, they shy away from programmes in arts and heritage.

UMP Careers in the arts were celebrated during the 2022 Heritage Expo.

“When you go to career expos, you need to look for these careers. It’s important is that you shouldn’t be discouraged from taking up these careers. Most learners drop out because they chose programmes that don’t interest them.”

Mr Manamela further said that some people see careers in the arts as side hustles and not as something individuals can go to school and learn about. He explained that the purpose of the heritage career expo is to encourage students to pursue careers in arts, music, fashion, culture and heritage.

“We have to protect our heritage, indigenous knowledge and culture. Getting young people to pursue careers like these is to put our country on the map. Most students who go to higher learning institutions are discouraged from doing these kinds of careers. We are here to tell you not to be discouraged to follow your passion," he added.

"What we want to achieve is to excite you about something that is different, and see if you can choose and excel in the careers that are exciting, because you will then join in preserving the culture and heritage of our country. You can also turn your passion into a business. This career can make you an entrepreneur. 

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CATHSSETA Mr Marks Thibela closed the expo and shared how his organisation managed to raise funds to have the exposure as it is touching lives.

“These careers exposed subsidiaries today are contributing to the goals set in the National Development Plan. It is indeed showing that CATHSSETA are not only funding the initiatives but are also passionate. It is through these initiatives that the young ones are encouraged to take up these careers and entrepreneurship and bring in other youth,” he said.

Learners had the opportunity to hear presentations of people that are in culture and arts careers, such as Ntombi Ya Mutsonga and sculpture artist Noria Mabasa.

The Heritage Expo was also joined by several SETAs, as well as other key role players in the sector, including UMP management, and Deputy Minister in the Presidency: Ms Thembi Siweya.

@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures Supplied.