Johannesburg – Veteran singer, songwriter, author, and actress Marah Louw on Sunday reiterated her demand for a public apology in all South African languages from International Relations Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor, who she accused of denigrating artists.
The 70-year-old former Idols judge made the demand in an interview on Gugu Mhlungu’s Weekend Breakfast show on 702 radio.
A former Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Pandor touched a raw nerve with artists when she suggested that Africa needs more highly trained people in science, technology, engineering, finance and economic sector.
“I don’t think… you know… we want more arts trainers… sorry to the arts people,” Dr. Pandor said.
Her comments were part of last year’s interview with the Council on Foreign Relations based in the U.S.A., a clip of which surfaced recently.
In the interview, Dr. Pandor spoke about the “critical skills” needed on the continent.
The minister has since apologised for her comments, but Louw is demanding that Dr. Pandor appear on TV and radio and personally apologise in all SA languages and not “just in English”.
SA has recently included sign language as an official language.
Last week, Dr. Pandor’s spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the minister was misunderstood and it was not her intention to upset artists.
“Dr. Naledi Pandor has noted the statement issued by the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of SA, calling on her to apologise for appearing to undermine the arts in an interview”.
Ngqengelele explained that the interview, on 14 September 2022, with the Council on Foreign Relations, based in the US, focused on skills that are needed on the African continent, and the minister stressed the need to increase the number of young people in what is often referred to as “critical skills”.
However, the author of “It’s Me Marah” insisted the comments rubbished the contribution of the arts in the struggle against apartheid and were an affront to artists, especially the older ones whose participation was well documented.