Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana: Women in Media Roundtable

Speech delivered by the Deputy Minister of Communications Hon. Pinky Kekana, MP at the Women in Media Roundtable in Randburg

I stand on existing protocols,

Good morning everyone,

We gathered here today, a day after what would have been the 82nd Birthday of our liberation heroine Mama Winfred Madikizela Mandela, and as we approach the centenary birthday Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu we are haunted by the fact as South Africans we have not told our own stories. Especially the stories of these great women of the liberation struggle. It is not that their stories are not known, they are simply not told.

Part of the problem could very well be the composition of the broadcasting and film sector. Especially in so far as the question of women is concerned.

It has become an unethical norm for society to interact with women in the broadcasting sector, as presenters and actresses. As a result the narrative of men being heroes and strong heroic women being portrayed wives only is still very prevalent. Mama Winnie and Mama Sisulu were not just wives they were heroines.

In order to address travesties like these and many others we need to hear of women behind the camera. A young girl growing up in Bela-Bela must be able to associate television and film with producing, script writing etc not just presenting and acting

Those of us who are concerned with the transformation of society, accept that democracy does not end with the ballot, it is also about opening up spaces which were previously white and male to everyone society, in particular African females.

I have little doubt that the caliber of women in this room have on many occasions risen to the challenges imposed by a patriarchal society. In some ways there is residual evidence that women matter in broadcasting, your voices are heard, but the question is how do we move from being heard, to being owners of content, and drivers of change?

Programme Director, this one of many questions I want us to dissect today. If we are saying in the age of the fourth industrial revolution content is Queen ( not King) how do we position women to be owners of content and distributors of their own content. In other words more women in the media in particular broadcasting, must find expression not as consumers or faces but as participants in the value chain of the industry.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the broadcasting landscape as we know it has been radically disrupted by elements of the fourth industrial revolution. I think broadcasters and filmmakers more than anyone understand that the fourth industrial revolution is not some mythical figure which is coming, it is here now and it is becoming more and more ubiquitous as each day passes.

There are many great opportunities that come with the fourth industrial revolution for sector. One which comes to mind is the lowering of production costs, technology has made it easier for people to produce content of a relatively decent quality.

Technology has also increased the scale of markets that content producers can now access. The over the top services have democratized the broadcasting and film sector, the quality of one's creative work is no longer confined to the taste of one or two individuals at a particular broadcaster, producers can now upload their content onto streaming services and access the market of their choice directly.

It is for this reason amongst others, that our President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa has identified ICT reform as a critical component of South Africa's economic trajectory. Cheaper data costs in this sector will not only increase connectivity, cheaper data costs will also play an integral role in ensuring that local content is more accessible on new platforms right across the length and breadth of South Africa.

It is become obvious to me that distribution networks for the widest possible distribution of content especially that which is owned by female owned content independent production companies remains a challenge.

Furthermore access to content for ordinary South Africans due to disparities in cinema infrastructure remains a gap. And Although there are a number of initiatives both public and private that seek to ensure that audiences are catered for more needs to be done.

It is with this in mind that, I can say I am truly indebted to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. As South Africans we are often characterized people who are masters at crafting policies without sound implementation. Very few people know that the CSIR live in the realm of solutions. They are Thuma Mina orientated.

When the question arose how do we ensure that local content producers are able to digitize their content and prepare for the big demands of content that will come with digital terrestrial television, CSIR rose to stage with great aplomb.

It is my great pleasure to present to you a unique concept which will overtime work with your input and advice. Programme Director, we now have what is referred to as a Digital Media Mall. Used to its full potential it is a product that challenge other streaming services in the market.

This concept automates TV production, distribution, infrastructure and financial transaction relationships and ultimately creates an entirely new path for industry. And as we know with new industries come new jobs.

CSIR has developed an appropriate technology to unlock new commercial activity in a changing global media industry for the not only for us but also for the African continent.

Digital Media Mall is a 4th Industrial Revolution model for public-private partnerships to drive GDP and SMME growth in SA.

During the various panel discussions we will dissect this tools efficacy and how it works. We will also delve into critical discussions around funding for SMME's like yourselves and traverse the terrain of the fourth industrial revolution with its opportunities and challenges.

Programme director as I conclude I want to say the time for broadcaster owned and operated by women is long overdue. Lets make it happen.

The time for women to tell stories about heroines in a patriarchal society is long overdue, we simply need women who will say Thuma Mina.

Thank you very much!

Source: Government of South Africa