Connect with us

Artists Relief Fund: The good and the bad!

The creative sector is one of the many sectors affected by Covid-19, with many of the artists crying after failing to put bread on the table during lockdown, their cries have not fallen on deaf ears.

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture development, Tumiso Rakgare deployed a strategy to assist the creative sector. There is however a condition: only those registered with Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) will receive P2500 for a period of three months. The Minister therefore urged artists to register with COSBOTS to benefit.

Although some artists are emotional about the issue, since some are not yet registered with COSBOTS, local song bird Amantle Brown said artists should stop complaining and should register with COSBOTS.

I registered with COSBOTS and I understand where the ministry is coming from, because it was a pretty hard decision to make. It was hard to decide on how best to disburse the funds. They just thought that since many people are registered with COSBOTS perhaps it is a family of artists, since that way it would be fair.

They wanted to include everyone, and I understand that there are people who feel like this is unfair, at the end of the day COSBOTS is the only body that is recognised because it is a standing body for artists at this point,” she said.

They are giving us P2500 from April, May and June. The money is not bad, at least I can make a shoot, at least I can buy food, do my make-up for my photo-shoots and videos. If we use the little we have so that we can live, it is better than nothing.

We can use it for now as we are waiting for things to get better. It is really better than nothing. I really urge artists to get registered under COSBOTS and be under something they can be recognised,” she said. In an interview with WeekendLife, local sensation Lizibo also stated that the gesture by the government was a commendable one.

Well personally, I welcome the MYSC relief plan because they explained that there was an extensive consultation with other stake holders such as Bomu and BOPA if I remember properly, so I would say it was well thought out, he said.

With regards to only COSBOTS registered musicians benefiting from the fund, Im glad the Minister indicated that they will make provision for professional musicians who are not registered yet.

This, in my thinking, is good because some may have challenges to register but currently active in the entertainment scene while others are still awaiting confirmation from COSBOTS. All in all I wish it will be a smooth operation to credit the fund to help soften the blow of Covid-19.

The pint sized songbird like many other artists stated that as an employer is grateful that her employees (her band) are also covered with the P2500. We as artist also find it commendable for the amount because most of us dont even get close to 2.5 royalties paid at COSBOTS, he said.

The founder of a local renowned praise cohort called We Must Praise Choir, Vusi Botshelo shared with WeekendLife that Minister Rakgare deliberated on whether or not youth covid-19 relief packages were fair to the intended youth beneficiaries as the music industry is tough and months can go by without that P2500.

It’s quite unfortunate that many youth may not necessarily benefit from this initiative because not everyone is a football player or an artist. Personally I am grateful that I will benefit as an artist, but I think of an ordinary young Motswana in Zwenshambe who survived on “small jobs” and does not fall in the few categories mentioned.

One of my other concerns is that government has great initiatives but gets failed by lower management. Often at times we find that only the elite or connected benefit from such programs. Hence I advice that MYSC will have to be as efficient as possible in ensuring that everyone within the mentioned category gets assisted.

Furthermore I am also concerned about COSBOTS being used as an assessment tool because a lot of artists are not registered with them, yet their music plays on radios and Televisions. I would recommend that the Ministry increases their scope to ensure that all deserving artists are assisted with or without COSBOTS.

Even though other artists will be benefiting from the government, some artist however feel that the Ministry can use CIPA as well.

Many of us including myself have our songs fully registered with CIPA and playing on radio stations yet we are not registered with COSBOTS. Does that discredit us as performing artists, honestly no! There are other supporting bodies to the music industry of which we are part of that on its own shows how credible we are in the music industry but are we going to ignore also the fact that not every association provides us with a letter of reference as an honor to show we have participated or took part in their platforms,

That means we do not have any proof track record yet we performed and participated, on top of that many times youll realise that most artist we are broke even shooting a live performance video, we cannot afford it,” said local gospel sensation Rati Molaakgosi. It is yet to be seen if these new cries will also reach the ears of the the Minister.

Continue Reading


ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

Continue Reading


Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

Continue Reading


Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

Continue Reading