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Substance abuse and nightmare economy risks


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.

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200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020
200,000

After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.

On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.

The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.

Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.

The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.

At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.

“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”

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AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.

The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.

The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.

However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.

Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.

Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.

“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.

“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”

Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.

Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.

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Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020
MISS EARTH

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.

Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)

Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.

“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”

For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”

“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.

Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.

“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.

When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.

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