And Franco too takes a hit
as censorship by the pestilence of Covid-19 marches on
KGOSI GASEBALWE SERETSE
Covid-19 is set to cripple Botswana entertainment at a time when the music scene was just recovering from the festive season. It is a well-known fact that the industry starts thriving again around the month of March after the draining festive season, which ends at the beginning of January in this country.
The much-loved Hampton Jazz Festival, which was slated for 28 March, became the first victim of the virus when it was postponed last Saturday. It is certain that the organisers of this show became jittery, given the alarming rate of the spread of the virus globally as the time of the show approached.
The Hamptons is one of the shows that feature international acts and attract revellers from Botswana and the wider southern African region. Just before its postponement, the organisers went on their official Facebook page to ask their fans for their opinions about the event in light of the coronavirus. Some suggested that the event should be postponed, clearly indicating that they feared for their health and the show was accordingly called off.
If there is one artist who was praying hard for the virus to go as quickly as it came, it was Frank ‘Franco’ Lesokwane, the kwasa-kwasa artist behind the hyped Soul Fill Up. As the name suggested, the show was expected to draw thousands of revellers to fill up the National Stadium. But it too fell a victim at noontide yesterday. This came at a time when the artist was more than ready to stage the show on 4 April after a lot of money was invested in organising it.
“If there is one artist who was praying hard for the virus to go as quickly as it came, it was Frank ‘Franco’ Lesokwane, the kwasa-kwasa artist behind the hyped Soul Fill Up”
“Please note that all preparations are proceeding as planned and as scheduled for the Soul Fill Up with Franco on 4 April 2020 at the National Stadium,” a press release from the organisers read boldly just hours before they declared the show cancelled.
In the month of July, there is an array of shows under the annual President’s Day competitions that draw from the visual and performing arts. Many budding artists have used these competitions as a platform to launch their careers that also face a threat from the coronavirus pandemic. In the past, many artists have also invested the proceeds from the competition to help boost their careers.
One is Botswana’s leading painters, Wilson Ngoni, is currently running an exhibition at Thapong that could also be impacted. Even so, art normally attract manageable crowds and so Ngoni’s “When an Artist Shines” could escape the censorship of the viral pestilence.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tumiso ‘ChillyBoy’ Rakgare, is to meet with local promoters to dissuade them from engaging international acts.