The music industry operates in what we call the night-time economy. The dynamics of the night- time economy are far different. It exposes music practitioners to many risks which could lead to death such as car accidents, depression due to lack of rest, HIV/AIDS, alcohol and substance abuse, heavy smoking and poor family planning. This part two of the Botswana International Music Conference report discusses the risks that artists are exposed to on daily basis, Writes WeekendLife Editor DAVE BAAITSE.
The objective of the conference which was held in December was to look at the structure of the Botswana music industry at national and regional (SADC) level. Substance abuse and nightmare economy risks are viewed in the report as major obstructions that hinder the brand positioning of the music industry in Botswana.
The conference resolved that to deal with all this, there is a need to collaborate with Ministry of Health and Wellness especially the Alcohol Levy and Ministry of Transport to come up with detailed program of how they can assist the artists. The report suggests that collaboration with organisations such as Anti- Tobacco Network, Bossanet and MVA will go a long way in making sure that artists fully understand the risks that come with being in the music industry.
It also resolves that to mitigate against effects of the night- time economy, there is a need to create a funeral cover for artists similar to the one in South Africa which is coordinated by AESA which has since been helping with burial costs of artists. AESA organises concepts, has an SMS competitions and a Trust Account where people pledge and donate to it.
The trust fund is administered by various people from government, insurance regulator and two people from the music industry. Here in Botswana, the conference suggested, the fund can be administered by the Creative Industry body that is to be formed which must consist of people of high moral ground.
They further suggested that there is a need to close the gap between the media and the entertainment industry, through creating platforms such as workshops and breakfast meetings where all issues can be discussed and ironed out. Recently one of the pioneers of the entertainment industry, a socialite of note and owner of Sixty Three Entertainment, Bissau Gaobakwe met with Minister of Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, where a deal was agreed on to setup a rehabilitation centre that will also aid in combating war against drugs. This is a move that received mixed emotions across all the social media platforms but many viewed it as a positive development.
According to Gaobakwe the Rehabilitation Centre will open its doors on June this year in Gaborone. “We are declaring a national war against Alcohol and substance abuse #Drugs must fall!” he wrote on his timeline. Even though faced with challenges, the music industry in Botswana continues to grow.
The report indicates that the speed at which the music industry is growing is currently dictated by the digital age and ever growing demand of fresh new content on digital online platforms, television and ever changing landscape of the media since we are now in an era where content is king.
A report from Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), states that local content in Botswana currently stands at 40% although not a single radio station has met the set 40% quota. Quotas are set not only as a tool of promoting local musicians and composers’ works, but are also used as a way of making sure the bulk of the royalties collected by collecting societies remain home.
The resolution was that while BOCRA is working on new local quota tariffs there must be punishment and heavy fines to broadcasters who don’t meet the quota. It is important that local content be clarified as well as what makes a local song? This will help a great deal in explaining what local content is according to Botswana context.
In closing the report states that the cultural industries growth strategy must look at all aspects of the industry, that is, deficiencies, opportunities and legal framework and thereafter dissect the key areas of development and the economic impact in terms of employment creation and GDP impact if the projects are to be embarked upon. The contention is that, cultural development strategy must be aligned to the NDP 11, National Policy on Culture, UNESCO Treaties, WIPO Treaties and Copyright Act or any other laws or policies.
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.