Unathi Lutshaba, Executive Director of the SA Cultural Observatory (SACO), has just been honoured by the UN for her empowering work in SA’s creative and cultural industries – music, visual arts and film. Earlier this week, Unathi visited the UN’s headquarters in New York where she was honoured as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD).
Before filling her role as director at SACO based at The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Unathi became a lecturer in sociology and market research there. Then, she joined the observatory as a researcher, then research manager. For the past four years, Unathi has headed the role of executive director at SACO.
SACO examines the nature, trends and impact of the cultural and creative industries in South Africa. Unathi’s role includes the mapping of the cultural and creative industries (CCIs). Through her research and strategy, Unathi has forged the way to developing cultural and creative industries in SA.
Speaking at the MIPAD recognition event, Unathi says the following:
“The creative world is no longer about art for art’s sake, but rather an undervalued and under-supported industry with untapped potential for generating economic growth and social unity…”
In her address, Unathi notes that one of the biggest issues in the cultural and creative industries, is having the access to markets and funding.
With a passion for the development of young people, a drive for cultural and artistic transformation, and the skill to pass her knowledge on to young researchers in the industry, Unathi is one formidable woman. Let’s raise a glass!
Feature image: Unathi Lutshaba