Four controversial arts centres in Hamburg were handed to the local municipality this morning in an effort to make them operational and sustainable.
The Amathole District Municipality (ADM) through its ASPIRE agency undertook a process of building four properties namely the Emthonjeni Artist Retreat, Arts and Craft Centre, Environmental Centre and Music Academy at Hamburg in the Ngqushwa Local Municipality. The Arts and Craft Centre, Environmental Centre and Music Academy were built as part of CDB Upgrade project at a cost of R16.9 million and Emthonjeni Artist Retreat was built at a cost of R35.1 million. The total value of the properties at construction was some R52 million and they were built to contribute to the socio-economic development of Hamburg.
The ADM acknowledges that things did not go as planned in terms of the operation of these centres owing to a number of challenges they faced, and as such some of the properties like Emthonjeni Artist Retreat and the Environmental Centre are not operational at the moment, while the Arts Centre and Music Academy are partially used by the renowned Keiskamma Trust.
In liaison with a number of stakeholders and in an effort to realise the initial concept of contributing in the socio economic development aimed at improving the lives of Ngqushwa communities, the ADM will handover these properties to the local municipality as the first step towards ensuring the sustainable running of the centres.