Nathi Mthethwa defends himself against 'Minister of Funerals and Congratulations' tag

Nathi Mthethwa defends himself against 'Minister of Funerals and Congratulations' tag

The Sports, Arts, and Culture Minister says he does more than just congratulate entertainers and send out condolences. 

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and DJ Black Coffee
Nathi Mthethwa congratulated DJ Black Coffee on his Grammy win/ Twitter (@nathimthethwasa)

Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture Nathi Mthethwa is setting the record straight after years of being nicknamed the 'Minister of Funerals and Celebrations/Congratulations'. 

South Africans have often accused the minister of only popping up when a celebrity dies or receives an international honour. 

Mthethwa was one of the first people to congratulate DJ Black Coffee on his big win at the Grammys earlier this month. 

The DJ won 'Best Dance/Electronic Album' for his album 'Subconsciously' at the event, which was hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah

Mthethwa joined scores of screaming fans at OR Tambo International airport last week to welcome the 'LaLaLa' hitmaker home after doing SA proud. 

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Social media users were quick to slam Nathi's appearance at the airport. 

"What does Minister Nathi Mthethwa do besides speaking at funerals of dead sports stars and welcoming award-winning musicians?" one Twitter user asked.

A second person wrote: "That is all you know, welcoming winners and making eulogies for the dead. You are a disappointment Nathi Mthethwa."

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But Mthethwa says there is nothing wrong with him congratulating artists who are flying SA's flag high or sending his condolences when someone passes away.

The minister adds that he is more than just a 'Minister of Funerals and Congratulations'. He says "it is out of ignorance, generally, of what government does". 

"It's people do not understand that artists, we deal with them, at a very local level through community art centres, and that's where we start. Our approach to the creative sector is scientific; it's evidence-based. We follow the SA Cultural Observatory - which is a research arm," he said at a briefing

Mthethwa says his department gives artists a lot of support through various initiatives. 

“We have what we call 'seasons programme' which takes South African artists all over the world. The fact that people don't acknowledge that when it happens doesn't mean that the minister of sports, arts, and culture [only] goes to celebrations, as you say, and funerals,” he said. 

Mthethwa says a creative economy is a golden economy.

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