The struggle for control of content money meant for creatives has created a cold war between Minister of State Presidency, Kabo Morwaeng, and Minister of Youth Sport Gender and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare. The allocation of P15 million to fund or empower musicians and entertainment promoters has intensified the alleged cold war and further brought attention to the challenges faced by the creative industry in Botswana. As plain as the nose on one’s face, the alleged tiff has been linked to the electioneering period – with talk that both ministers want to control the purse meant for creatives since they are crowd pullers.
The background to the tussle between the Ministry of State President and the Ministry of Youth dates back to the COVID-19 period. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the creative industry, leaving artists struggling to make ends meet. In Botswana, the Botswana Entertainers and Music Promoters Association (BEPA) proposed staging extravaganzas across the country to support artists during these challenging times. However, the implementation of this proposal later led to a power struggle between officers at the Ministry of State Presidency and Ministry of Youth Sport Gender and Culture, inadvertently roping in the heads, Ministers Morwaeng and Rakgare respectively. The millions of Pula involved in the funding of creatives shed light on the cold war that has emerged between these public officers and its implications for the creative industry.
THE POWER STRUGGLE
BEPA and the Botswana Music Union (BOMU) initially submitted their proposal to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Gender and Culture, expecting their support in funding a project that would see creatives staging festivals across the country. However, to their surprise, public officers at the Ministry of Youth took credit for the idea and executed it in a manner that seemed to benefit only a select few individuals. This move raised concerns among artists, who felt that the public officers were prioritizing personal interests over the welfare of the creative industry.
BEPA and BOMU then lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Youth over their “stolen idea”, but their concerns were ignored. Frustrated by the lack of response, they decided to approach the Ministry of State Presidency, where they raised their concerns and decided to file an enhanced proposal which was eventually approved for them to execute. This shift in control meant that civil servants at the Ministry of Youth would no longer have authority over the funds allocated for the creatives. Additionally, the decision put an end to the overtime pay that these civil servants had been enjoying during the execution of the extravaganzas.
THE COLD WAR
The transfer of funding and control to the Ministry of State Presidency then created a rift between some civil servants and the lead creatives. Allegations have surfaced, suggesting that certain individuals within the civil service are attempting to block these initiatives now that they are under the control of the artists themselves. Connectedly, this friction is being rubbed on Minister Morwaeng and Minister Rakgare hence the alleged resultant cold war that threatens to hinder the implementation of initiatives aimed at supporting the creative industry.
As for the Role of Minister Rakgare, creatives argue that the Minister is a victim of self-centeredness and rent-seeking behavior within his ministry, which he has failed to address. They believe that some civil servants are intentionally creating this cold war to disrupt the implementation of initiatives that would benefit artists. Their view is that Minister Rakgare’s inability to address these issues has led to a loss of trust and support from the creative community.
This clash between Morwaeng and Rakgare is not the first of its kind. Last year, Rakgare’s ministry was left incensed when BTV, through the Office of the President, removed their channel, NOW TV, from DSTV without proper consultations. NOW TV was established to promote and showcase local talent in the areas of youth empowerment, sport, and culture development, as well as to grow the Botswana film and television industry. The lack of consultation and the loss of both the channel and the unsuccessful bid for the 2027 AFCON have left Rakgare questioning his success as a Minister passionate about the sport and entertainment industry.
According to Gilbert Seagile, the President of the Botswana Entertainment and Promoters Association (BEPA), content from 21 festive events has been procured, and they are satisfied with the current model. However, Seagile emphasizes that they believe the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture should be the custodian of the creative industry.
The clash between Morwaeng and Rakgare highlights the need for a unified approach to supporting the creative industry in Botswana. A clear model and criteria for assistance, as well as effective communication and collaboration between ministries, will ensure that artists and promoters receive the support they need to thrive. As the political season approaches, it is crucial for politicians to prioritize the growth and development of the creative industry, as it has the potential to employ multitudes and contribute significantly to the country’s economy.
President Mokgweetsi Mokgweetsi Masisi pledged support for creatives at a town hall meeting in Palapye on the eve of 2019 elections. Almost at the same period BOMU and BEPA pledged support for President Masisi because their view is that he is pro-creatives. It is evident that the support for creatives is engendered in the Presidential agenda hence the two Ministries are forced to ensure implementation.
Observers say it is crucial for the two Ministries to set aside their differences and work together to support the creative industry, as their actions have a direct impact on the livelihoods of artists. Only through collaboration and a shared vision can the creative industry in Botswana thrive and overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a significant stride towards inclusivity, Botswana’s National Assembly has ratified the groundbreaking Persons with Disability Act. This legislation is a cornerstone in protecting the rights and promoting the economic well-being of individuals with disabilities
At the heart of this act is the creation of two pivotal bodies: the National Disability Coordinating Office and the National Disability Council. These institutions are set to revolutionize the integration of disability affairs into the national fabric, as outlined by the Minister for State President, Kabo Morwaeng. Morwaeng highlighted the alignment of this act with the global Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), underlining Botswana’s commitment to international standards in disability rights.
During his address to Parliament, Morwaeng disclosed Botswana’s inaugural CRPD report submission to the UN, underscoring the nation’s dedication to global dialogue on disability rights. Furthermore, he unveiled plans for a comprehensive assessment to understand the socio-economic realities of disabled individuals and their families. This initiative, complemented by the strengthening of existing programs, aims to empower this community, ensuring their integration and prosperity in society
Morwaeng’s call to action was clear. He urged a collective shift in developmental agendas to accommodate and prioritize disability issues, advocating for an inclusive societal framework.
An ambitious budget of P35,631,600 has been allocated to bridge gaps in Disability Economic Empowerment, alongside critical studies and the establishment of the National Emergency Operations Centre. Concluding his presentation, Morwaeng appealed to fellow governmental departments to allocate funds diligently to fulfill CRPD and Persons with Disabilities obligations, marking a new chapter in Botswana’s legislative history towards inclusive development.
Kabo Matlho, a luminary whose fame once graced the grand finale of My Star, is poised to enchant the music realm once more with an upcoming solo venture—an RnB and Hip-Hop Extended Play (EP)—heralding his grand resurgence after a hiatus that spoke volumes.
During a telephonic confab with our editors, the virtuoso, navigating the world from the confines of his wheelchair, confided that while the exact launch date of the EP remains shrouded in mystery, he is fervently working towards a mid-2024 reveal. Matlho shared the trials of his odyssey, especially the cold shoulder he received from the industry ambushes, crediting the harsh exclusion to his physical predicament.
“The scene calls me once more, for the absence has been both a sabbatical and a shadow. The road for an artist, enveloped in the embrace of wheels, is strewn with fewer welcomes and scarce stages. Yet, herein I forge my return, with the precise hour of my EP’s birth still nestled in the coming chapters, assuredly within this year’s embrace,” Matlho unveiled with a determination that shone bright.
Probed on his choice for a solo EP, the melody weaver expressed a desire to not only rekindle his essence but to stand solitary under the spotlight, nurturing his brand to vigor before possibly blending it with the talents of others—once his career phoenix rises anew from its ashes.
Elaborating on his Extended Play, Matlho shared visions of its essence, where the soul of RnB intertwines with the spirited rhythm of Hip-Hop, crafting an audial tapestry that not only returns to his roots but also ventures into previously uncharted territories of his musical domain. With resilience, Matlho faces the crossroads of his artistry, embracing the whisperings of Hip-Hop that tease the boundaries of his comfort, embarking on this path with a heart both apprehensive and ablaze.
The Botswana DanceSport Association (BODANSA) has been graced with a financial boon of P45,000 courtesy of Turnstar Holdings. This generous endowment is earmarked for the illustrious Botswana International Dance Sport Grand Prix Championships, which are scheduled to animate Gaborone from Friday to Saturday.
At a media engagement held early today, BODANSA’s Marketing Maestro, Tiro Ntwayagae, shared that Turnstar Holdings Limited has bestowed a gift of P45,000 towards the grand spectacle.
“We are thrilled to announce that this backing will enable us to orchestrate a cultural soirée at the Game City Marque locale, a night brimming with cultural fervor set for March 1, 2024, from 6pm to the stroke of midnight.
This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensembles—spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and more—in a competition folded into the Traditional Dance Groups Category. The ensemble that dances into the judges’ hearts will clinch a grand prize of P10,000,” elaborated Ntwayagae.
He further illuminated that the cultural eve would not only celebrate traditional melodies but also the fresh beats of contemporary dance variants including Hip Hop, Sbujwa, Amapiano, among others, in a dazzling display of modern dance mastery.
Moreover, these championships carry the prestigious recognition by the World DanceSport Federation as a qualifying round for the Breakdance category for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “This is a monumental opportunity for athletes to leap towards their Olympic dreams during one of the penultimate qualifiers,” underscored Ntwayagae.
Looking ahead to March 2, 2024, the festivities will propel into the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena for the championship’s climactic showdowns encompassing Breakdance, Latin, and Ballroom Dancing.