Lankester began the press briefing by saying that he was confident that his team would be able to handle any situation that came up including power outages which have been a problem in previous years. “I am confident that everyone will remain safe and secure during this time,” Lankester said.
Tom began her speech by saying how important it is to re-evaluate and consider our history because “the past we inherit but the future we create”. She went on to say that South Africans should be proud of what they had achieved and appreciate the importance of arts and culture in that achievement. The MEC dubbed the NAF a celebration of the diversity of South African arts and culture.
Tom claimed that the NAF had unearthed many outstanding talents that are now well known locally and internationally. Tom felt one only has to “pause, look back and see what it [the NAF] has produced”. In particular she felt the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award was particularly responsible for this.
Tom spoke on the extreme diversity of acts that will be present at the festival: “It’s not just a jazz fest. You can go watch anything. This festival is a buffet, there is so much on the menu.”
Tom also mentioned how critical the arts were to her department’s goal of development, especially in education. She compared listening to a keynote address on HIV/Aids that will put you to sleep to watching or participating in a good production on the same values. “Who can forget being in a play?” she added.
Tom ended by encouraging the visitors to the NAF to enjoy the festival and open their minds to the diversity and culture our country has to offer: “Be here with your pockets, your mind and your hearts.”