Artists lament lack of inclusion for many other art forms represented in Botswana
“The problem with BoT50 is having improper officers in charge of national celebrations, people whose understanding of national and communal pride is highly suspect”- photographer, Shabba Kgotlaetsho
With only three months to Botswana’s 50th celebration, the highlight of what is meant to be the country’s biggest celebration has seen a host of music events that have drawn more controversy than celebration and fresh concern that many other art forms that enjoy wide spread recognition in Botswana have been left out. Promoters and entertainers alike , are crying fowl and questioning why the committee which is supposed to be helping to uplift the arts industry seems to be neglecting other facets that make up the industry.
Founder of Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) Thapelo Pabalinga, is one of those who feel BoT50 ought to support other local events that cover other areas of the arts. He says because of limited time, endorsing local events could be the only solution. “Bot50 has not approached us to be a part of the celebrations. In fact we are the ones who sent in our proposal that was turned down by Bot50. Our recognition as one of the top 10 festivals in Africa says a lot in as far as how far the event has come and how its impact is felt internationally,” he said
Photographer and film producer Shabba Kgotlaetsho shares the same sentiments as Pabalinga, though he maintains that there is still time to make amends. He said, the problem with BoT50 is more of a strategic problem than misappropriation.
“The problem with BoT50 is having improper officers in charge of national celebrations, people whose understanding of national and communal pride is highly suspect. National celebrations as these exceed even the arts. They should have done a holistic audit, of what direction to take, to successfully rally the nation. This did not happen and has greatly compromised this country’s pride, even shaming the national government,” he says. Kgotlaetsho goes on to add, “Our belief though is that there is still sufficient time to correct this mess.”
At the time of going to print, coordinator of BoT50 Charity Kgotlafela could not be reached for comment.