The Botswana International Music Conference (BIMC) which was hosted in Gaborone, Botswana, last year December, have resulted in a report, detailing the inputs and outcomes of all subject matters discussed at the conference. The recently released report highlights the immediate and future gains and opportunities as well as strategies that can grow the music industry; WeekendLife Editor DAVE BAAITSE discusses some of the recommendations.
The report has confirmed that the music industry in Botswana is faced with many challenges from; a small domestic market, lack of proper facilities for hosting major international and local events, lack of international and regional exposure of music practitioners and poor regulatory framework. The report further 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 as “we are now in an era where content is king”.
The objective of the conference was to look at the structure of the Botswana music industry at national and regional (SADC) level. It looked at opportunities that exist in the Botswana industry and key projects that the country could embark on in the short term to attain quick gains and those that need a long term and would be achieved over the next five years with an effort to create employment and alleviate poverty amongst the nation.
“Due to limited available literature and statistics about the music industry or the entire creative industry, it’s important that the industry works closely with Statistics Botswana to explore ways in which a study could be conducted without compromising the industry value using proper tracer systems and data. Working closely with Statistics Botswana will help in Companies and Intellectual Property Agency (CIPA), Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture (MYSC) (Now Ministry of Youth, Sports and Cultural Development) and other arts organs in terms of how to capture data that can be used to grow the industry,” BIMC recommended.
The BIMC further indicates that MYSC, HRDC and Ministry of Education and Skills Development, must create a fund for research and development of literature on the music industry. This, according to the BIMC, will become valuable in coming years because as it stands, all information about the music industry is based on the South African and American music industry.
The report resolves that both ministries and all organs such as Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) and Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) must come up with ways of training, and building capacity in the music industry. “Capacity building must not be left to MYSC only.
HRDC needs to be in the forefront to make sure there is no mismatch in terms of the current industry demands and patterns and what currently the creative industry is being trained on from Primary School to professional level. BQA must constantly find easier but effective ways of accrediting practitioners in various fields as this can assist in professionalizing the industry,” the report reads in part.
The conference also resolved that infrastructure development in the music industry is of paramount importance. Their contention is that MYSC might look at building state theatres or partnering with Ministry of Local Government by refurbishing 10 community halls countywide into conference and convention centres that can be later used for hosting concepts and conferences. This, BIMC reasons, will create massive employment during construction phase and after completion.
It also resolved that there are available opportunities in terms of cultural export program. “There is a huge demand for Setswana music across the SADC region especially traditional music. Botswana government and stakeholders need a clear plan of how they can tap into the international market. It is not sufficient to just be in Botswana because this ends up saturating the local market and collapsing performance fee prices for artists. Also, having Botswana artists in international events helps to market the country and boosts the tourism sector and Brand Botswana,” BIMC reported.
The report further says that there is also a need to review old laws. “Botswana Cinematography Act and as well as Copyright Act need to be viewed as many works in Botswana in the next seven years will be going into public domain especially the likes of Ratsie Setlhako and Sam Raditsebe. So the country must have mitigating structures in case these works go into the public domain,” the report reads.
Further, the conference noted that the cultural industries growth strategy must look at all aspects of the industry; both 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. Their main contention is that, the cultural development strategy must be aligned to the National Development (NDP) 11, National Policy on Culture, UNESCO Treaties, WIPO Treaties and Copyright Act or any other laws or policies.
BIMC’s advice to MYSC and all stakeholders who intend to carry economic impact studies is that such studies must also be accompanied with a growth strategy of the sector because “it does not make sense to come up with a figure to say the economic impact is so much, if the figure is low, then what happens and if its high then what happens as well! The study should also be clear as to what is the creative industry according to Botswana context.”
In closing, the report suggests that there will also be a need to implement the resolutions and strategies derived from the music conference to make sure the music industry strives. The conference was attended by both local and international speakers, musicians, music promoters, musicians, composers and upcoming musicians.
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.”
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.
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.