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Of the ignorance and paranoia within the arts industry

GRAMMY WNINER: Brian Soko

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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Vee Mampeezy wants to marry again!

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In May 2014, controversial pint sized musician, Odirile Sento married his longtime girlfriend, Kagiso Sento in a glamorous wedding, not knowing that eight years later, the two will be fighting until the very end of their holy union.

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TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch

14th October 2022

On Saturday 29 October 2022 (11:00- 15:00) Bash Connektor will be presenting their 1st TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch which will be hosted by Basadi’Bash’Masimolole. Tatso. A Setswana word. Taste  .Tatso / ta-tso/. verb.

The Brunch will be held at Myhomecafe by Mogobane Dam and tickets are selling at P650 per person. Only 50 tickets available and sold through pre-booking. The value of the offering will be a brunch meal + bottomless mimosas + connekting conversations that matter with leading women in corporate and entrepreneurship. This is an inspirational / empowerment connekting session for Women.

Bash Connektor is a Marketing Company with a twist founded in March 2022 by Basadi Bash Masimolole who has 15 years plus Marketing Experience. The INTENT of Bash Connektor is to Link People, Experiences, and Brands. The K instead of C is INTENTIONAL. We are all about contributing towards AMPLIFYING brand and country messages through curating experiential offerings and connekting conversations that matter, said Basadi Masimolole.

With a sponsor or funding, Basadi Masimolole’s ultimate goal is to have visual podcasts and empowerment connektor sessions at villages as part of cultural tourism and contributing towards the Botswana Government’s Rural Areas Development Program (RADP).

Individuals interested in purchasing the limited number tickets or Brands interested in participating on the TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch through sponsorships/ brand placement opportunities can reach Basadi’Bash’Masimolole on +267 7140 6660 / masimololebasadi@gmail.com / Bash Connektor Facebook page.

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