Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture credit: Tshepo Kekana

Motsoeneng started a revolution recently when he announced that the public broadcaster will now play 90% local content across all its radio stations.
This week, he upped the ante and proclaimed that the SABC will also increase its local television content to 80%.
The bold move will stimulate the growth of intellectual capital of the local entertainment industry, and, by extension, create much-needed jobs and revenue for the country through an expanded tax base.
Creating demand for local content will help develop small production houses and record labels that have a high potential for commercial success as well as stimulate existing businesses.
In a country with a collective low self-esteem such as ours, this move was long overdue.
As South Africans we tend to believe that "international" content and goods are always better than what we produce, which is why it is common to find our more famous artists opening for some mediocre overseas groups at local concerts.
During apartheid years, international isolation forced us to create our own material across all economic sectors, including the entertainment industry.
When we were readmitted into the global community, our new-found access to "international" goods turned us into consumers, and our industries began dying one by one.
We cannot hope to lay the foundations of a future entertainment industry that is globally competitive and economically sustainable if we don't control our conspicuous consumption of all things foreign.
We must not allow our idolatry of foreign material to obscure issues of economic and political significance.
Listeners of local Indian radio station Lotus FM protested against Motsoeneng's 90% policy, arguing that the Indian music industry was underdeveloped.
The irony of the protest escaped the minds of the agitators who failed to appreciate the contradiction of their action. The local Indian music scene has not developed precisely because there were no outlets for local artists, as radio stations preferred material from India.
Europe has a 50% quota requirement for local content, according to the EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services which was implemented in 2009.
France went a step further and stipulated a 60% European-produced content and 40% French productions.
It decreed that 40% of music broadcast on private and public broadcasters must be French, and that local cinemas must reserve five weeks per quarter for French films.
Brazil regulates local content by heavily taxing foreign film and television programmes.
For public broadcasters the country demands that 80% of programmes must be local.
South Africa only adopted The South African Music Local Content Regulation in 1997, placing a requirement of at least 20% local music to be broadcast from 5am to 11pm. Local content quotas were increased in 2003 to 35% for commercial and 55% for public broadcasters.
The local entertainment industry is a market with great long-term potential, and the various stakeholders need to create the necessary demand for it to reach its true potential.
The local music industry has produced internationally-renowned stars such as Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Karen Zoid, Philip Tabane, Just Jinjer, Abdullah Ibrahim, The Springbok Nude Girls, Lira, Sipho Mabuse, Don Laka, The Parlotones, Selaelo Selota and countless others.
In 2010 the highest-grossing film was Leon Schuster's Schuks Tshabalala, which made R37-million at the box office.
In 2001 another Schuster blockbuster Mr Bones broke all local box office records by becoming the highest-grossing South African film of all time raking in R33-million. It's sequel Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past grossed R35-million.
DStv has also realised that local is lekker and has launched several channels showcasing African content, including Mzansi Magic, dedicated to South African productions.
According to the National Film and Video Foundation, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, the local film and television industry contributes around R3.5-billion a year to the country's economy.
In a recent submission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisations (Unesco) the World Radio and Television Council said, more than any other broadcasting programming, that of the public broadcaster must be national in content.
The organisation argues that as a public forum, public broadcasters must first promote the expression of ideas, opinions and values current in the society where they operate in.
The late Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi once said that a nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the souls of its people.
Motsoeneng has started a revolution that will benefit South Africa in the long run. It's an investment in the future of our arts and culture industries.
For us to realise the value of our own things, we have to start building confidence in the country's ability to develop and effectively compete on the global stage.
There is wisdom in Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu's assertion that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. We have to start at the bottom to correct what has gone wrong with our industries.
Even Hollywood socialite Marilyn Monroe recognised the importance of self love and pride: "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are," she said.

Source: sundayworld