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Change the world

12/10/2022

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Alumnus and Executive Director of the SA Cultural Observatory, based at the University, Unathi Lutshaba, has been honoured as one of the worlds’ Most Influential People of African Descent by the United Nations.

Included in Most Influential People of African Descent’s (Mipad's) global Top 100 Under 40 sector in the “activism and humanitarian” category, Unathi received the recognition at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Recognised as one of SA's biggest champions of the arts and for her positive contributions to humanity, Unathi said at the event that “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”. She further commented that some of the big challenges facing the creative industry in South Africa are funding and access to markets.

Unathi, who graduated from Mandela University in 2011 with a master’s degree in development studies, has, over the past few years, headed up a research team building evidence and influencing policy in the music, visual arts and film industry, for the good of creatives and the country’s economy.

This country’s cultural and creative industry accounts for 6% of all jobs and in 2020, it directly contributed R161bn, or 2.97%, of the country’s GDP.

The Mipad event ran over five days and included leadership training, panel discussions and a chance for meaningful collaboration with fellow recipients from around the world.