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Of the ignorance and paranoia within the arts industry


Can this be attributed to the ignorance of the government of the day? The case of many Batswana who have done extremely well in the arts industry, displaying exceptional levels of talent and later dying as paupers has been a topic of the past. However this seems not to be a case with the neighbouring countries where talent alone is enough to enable one a decent life. Who is to blame, staffer DAVE BAAITSE writes.  

Once again the Botswana International Music Conference has been invited to participate at this year’s Durban Music Imbizo where some of them will be part of the panel discussions and other giving motivational talks and guidance within the arts industry. At the centre of the conference, which will be held on the 22nd August to 27th at Moses Mabhida, are issues to do with technological advancement in the arts industry.  International experts have also been invited.

While Botswana enjoys being invited to such high profile conferences with aims to play a meaningful role in developing the arts and exploring possibilities of working together and feasibilities of partnerships, it seems they are still lacking behind because the government is doing too little to keep the industry alive. The Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture which is responsible for the arts is only awarded 11 million pula per annum as a grant to sponsor the arts which is way too little as compared to over 100 million which is the case for South Africa.

However this mayhem has been blamed on the disorganisation of the arts industry in Botswana. Beginning of this year when Minister, Thapelo Olopeng met with arts industry practitioners he urged them to form one union which will represent the entire industry. He also called on them to form an arts council which shall serve as their regulator. With a total population of at least 2 million people, the local market is without doubt one of the smallest in the region and to survive, a firm strategy to integrate the market should be devised and put in place.

Observers have blamed the industry for what they term a poor royalty management system that has not been revamped over the years. During a press conference in Botswana last week, South African Splash music kingpin, Dan Tshanda also called Batswana out for failing to make a living out of their talents. He said in his native land an artist can only benefit from royalties without having to run around staging shows.

Asked as to what they intend to benefit from their invitation in Durban, one of the local music promoters, Seabelo Modibe who will be participating in the panel discussions said they are going there to benchmark. Most of the ideas will be implemented in their conference, which will be held end of this year. He said during their conference they will have a sideline meeting in which they will discuss the possibilities of reviving the SADC music industry and explore possibilities of hosting the first ever SADC Music Awards. He said they have invited both Channel O and Trace to come on board. The conference will be led by Brian Soko- a Grammy award winning Zimbabwean producer who is now based in the US and has worked with Beyonce and Wiz Khalifa to name but a few.

He said they will give a focus on how Durban transformed to become the centre of entertainment and playground in South Africa. From what they have learned, Modibe said, staging an event in South Africa is far much cheaper than it costs to stage one locally despite our currency being the strongest with low tax.

One onlooker is of the view that government did not consider other avenues in the industry as potential employers however they only focused on developing the artists with no industry. To date, the much praised President’s day competitions have developed more than fifty thousand artists since its inception but where do they go from there? This means the Botswana music industry continues to employ artists on temporary basis.

The country is celebrating 50 years of independence and to date there is not even a single venue that can host an international artist. The shows continue to be hosted at farms under trees. This presumably because as things stands Botswana has one of the most expensive stadiums to hire in South Africa which comes with a tag in the range of P 250, 000 00. Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture still continues to be given 11 million on annual basis as grants for artists. This is way too small to fund the arts, the Ministry should be given more money and regulatory powers to administer the arts because this remains their ammunition.

While many artists decry the delay in the formulation of the arts council, it remains to be seen if it will serve any purpose without money and regulatory powers. We have a small population, thus our focus should be ways of harnessing the international market just like how they did in Jamaica and other countries with smaller population but their music still making waves across the world.        

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6th December 2023

Even though Botswana has over the years been performing extremely poorly at the Miss World competition, the country has confirmed that it will be hosting the beauty festival in 2026. Initially, the country was to host Miss World next year, something it failed to confirm before deadline. Director at Miss Botswana, Benjamin Raletsatsi, says Botswana will be ready then to host all participants. Miss Botswana Top 25 finalists left the boot camp yesterday. Quite shocking though, Miss Botswana team is still failing basics as responding to media inquiries on time yet it is dangerously hoping to host an event of high status

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DJ Sway ‘saved’ the YAMAs

22nd November 2023

DJ Sway, the daring and ambitious on-air presenter of Yarona FM, played a crucial role in saving the radio station’s music awards, known as the YAMAs. The event was initially dry and disorganized, but DJ Sway, who co-hosted with Pearl Thusi, injected life into the show. However, things took a turn for the worse when Pearl Thusi abruptly left the stage, leaving DJ Sway to carry on alone. Despite the unexpected setback, DJ Sway rose to the occasion and captivated the audience, effectively putting an end to the drama caused by Pearl Thusi.

In an exclusive interview after the YAMAs, DJ Sway revealed the behind-the-scenes chaos that unfolded during the event. He acknowledged the script editors, Phalana and Hope, who worked tirelessly to reedit the script and adapt it to a one-host format. Despite the last-minute changes, DJ Sway remained composed and focused, thanks to the support of his colleagues, such as Owen Rampha, Katlego Rakola, Tshepang Motsisi (DJ Easy), and LB.

When asked about his initial reaction to the unexpected turn of events, DJ Sway admitted to feeling saddened by how things ended. However, he credited Pearl Thusi for giving him a much-needed confidence boost during his moment of doubt. She reminded him that he was destined for greatness and that he didn’t need big stars to succeed. With her words of encouragement, DJ Sway regained his composure and approached the rest of the show with the same professionalism and charisma he displays on the radio.

To overcome the challenges he faced, DJ Sway relied on his radio skills and calm personality. He engaged with the audience as if he were speaking to a single person, pointing out individuals in the crowd to create a more intimate connection. He also expressed gratitude for his backstage team, who provided support and ensured the smooth running of the show.

DJ Sway expressed satisfaction in being seen as the saving grace of the YAMAs. He believed that he fulfilled his role as a host and brought joy to the Yarona FM board, his family, and his fans. Despite his success, DJ Sway’s journey has not been without hardships. He has experienced the loss of his mother and sister, which has left a lasting impact on him. While he continues to grieve, he seeks solace in therapy sessions and relies on his father for emotional support.

DJ Sway’s dedication to his craft and ability to overcome adversity make him a remarkable figure in the radio industry. His vibrant personality and deep knowledge of music have made him a perfect fit for Yarona FM. Despite the challenges he has faced, DJ Sway remains determined to make a positive impact and bring joy to his listeners. With his talent and resilience, there is no doubt that DJ Sway will continue to thrive in his career and leave a lasting legacy in the world of radio.


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Chef Gustos walk of shame

22nd November 2023

Chef Gustos, the renowned hitmaker, recently experienced what can only be described as a walk of shame at the 8th edition of the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs). Despite being nominated a whopping seven times, he failed to secure a single win. Ouch!

The night was filled with surprises, drama, and controversy, but the biggest winner of the evening was Han C, who walked away with three awards, including Best Pop and Best Male Single for his hit song, “Sebinki.” Han C graciously announced that he would be donating P10,000 from his winnings to his fellow nominees, promoting a spirit of togetherness among artists. What a noble gesture!

Meanwhile, Chef Gustos found himself on the losing end of several categories, including People’s Choice Artist of the Year, which he had won in the past. He seemed unfazed by the loss, stating, “People know that ‘Away’ was big, but they won’t stop me.” It’s clear that Chef Gustos is determined to continue making music, regardless of the awards he receives.

However, he did express his frustration with the outcome, suggesting that the awards may be corrupt. He declined to comment further, citing the need to protect his brand and maintain good relationships with corporate clients. It’s understandable that he wants to avoid any potential damage to his future prospects.

In fact, Chef Gustos went so far as to request that Yarona FM not nominate him for future YAMAs. It seems he wants to distance himself from the disappointment and focus on his music without the pressure of awards. Perhaps this decision will allow him to create freely and without the burden of expectations.

While Chef Gustos may have experienced a walk of shame at the YAMAs, it’s important to remember that awards do not define an artist’s talent or success. His fans still appreciate his music, and he continues to have gigs with corporate clients. So, despite the disappointment, Chef Gustos remains optimistic about his future in the industry.

In the end, the YAMAs may have been a letdown for Chef Gustos, but he’s determined to keep moving forward. He won’t let a lack of awards dampen his spirits or hinder his creativity. And who knows, maybe next time he’ll come back stronger and prove that he’s deserving of recognition. After all, the true measure of an artist’s success lies in the hearts of their fans, not in shiny trophies.


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