Batswana Artists Should Become Businessmen

Instead of being pauperised by a hostile environment, there is a whole array of investment opportunities open to artists. KGOSI GASEBALWE SERETSE presents a capsule of them .

One thing about the music industry in Botswana is that most of the artists live from hand to mouth. Infact, some well-known music figures have been jeered at for using public transport. “Isn’t s/he supposed to be driving his own expensive car?,” people often ask about artists who ride in combis.

While it is true that some artists made good money in the past, today most of them hardly have anything to show for it. Even in neighbouring South Africa, we have read heart-rending stories of artists who once conquered the world dying dirt poor and buried as paupers. The big question is, what should artists do to survive the dog-eat-dog entertainment industry?

The answer lies in entrepreneurship. In developed countries, you find that some musicians make a lot of money from their brands more than they do from selling records or doing tours. Artists like Kanye West, Dr Dre, Russell Simons, Jay Z, and Puff Daddy have made millions of dollars from an array of entrepreneurial ventures such as clothing lines, beverages, real estate, sports teams and record labels. Needless to say, these artists have become filthy rich and are unlikely to die poor.

But it is an altogether different story here. It is sad to realise that even musicians who have had many corporate gigs die paupers. This points to a need for people to retrospect and change their mentality. Whenever you make money as an artist, instead of spending it recklessly on flashy cars, expensive liquor and spoiling girls, you should try by all means to invest in any of the following:

Clothing Line

Perhaps this is one of the easiest to start as demonstrated by at least three local artists, BK Proctor, Thobo Kerekang and Baboloki Dambe, also known as B-Block, who all have their own clothing labels, namely Collections By BK Proctor, Keno Suits and Go Hard BW respectively. Being an artist and owner of a clothing label can perhaps make sales easy because an artist has many platforms to advertise his merchandise. Interestingly, local entrepreneur Molefi Nkwete of Urban Soul Botswana has been able to establish a successful fashion line even though he is not an artist.

Real Estate
One of the saddest things about local artists is that few own property that they have built from the proceeds of their careers. But investing in real estate can help an artist to have something to fall back on when he or she is no longer making money from their core work. It is a fact that there is always a time when one’s career comes to an end and if one has invested in real estate, one can rent out one’s property and survive. You can never go wrong with real estate because even if you are not able to rent out your property, you can occupy it. How many times have we heard of artists ‘squatting’ because they have fallen on hard times? At least there are a couple of artists who