- Conference imagines the possibilities from a united industry.
- Botswana’s creative economy is about 3% of GDP- Tonderai Tsara, Business Botswana.
The Showbiz Entertainment Africa Botswana (SEAfricaBW) conference slated for the 4th and 5th September this year will explore issues from the entertainment industry ecosystem including arts, dance, film, publishing, music, television, radio, visual arts and fashion at an event dedicated to the development of Botswana’s burgeoning creative economy.
“This year’s theme is mapping the industry, our time is now. The reality is there is talent in this country and it is a business. But why can’t we ever consolidate and monetize it? This is why we are having this conference, we want answers and to bring you closer to the possibilities of what an industry working together can become,” said Tshepo Ntshole from Sixpence Media, (SEAfricaBW) partner.
Giving an overview of the local industry panelist and President of BEPA, Zenzele Hirschfeld said with 18 years of industry experience the music industry is still at its infancy and at a stand still with no structures and governance. She added that there are competitive platforms but they can never amount to anything without the government implementing policies that grow the creative industries.
“We need a law that governs the sector. Creatives in this country don’t have medical aids, insurance, nothing to their name and I mean the greatest musicians of this country. We also have an association that we feel the government is not supporting. Why are politicians not advocating to have this as a professional industry? Maybe when a different voice from outside, through this conference comes, this will shape up for the better,” she said.
Chairperson elect of the media sector by Business Botswana,Tonderai Tsara said , “There is a deficit of good content and experiences in Botswana, which is the greatest challenge and opportunity. But thanks to the internet revolution we are in the state of great health but have to compete with international legitimate and pirated content for attention and need to figure out how to commercialize and monetize it.”
“We need an arts council and a film commission, rate cards and standards. Our economy’s GDP is roughly P170 billion, so the creative economy is somewhere between P3 and P5 billion, which is about 3% of GDP. Agriculture is 2% of GDP according to Statistics Botswana and look at how many programs we have of Agriculture in this country. We are a multi billion industry that is creating jobs and telling stories but we don’t have structures and standards for creatives,” he said advising that, “while we sit and agonize the change and growth we would like to see, we needed a commercial mindset not just amongst us, but also in government. When you don’t treat what we do as a source of livelihood this kills jobs, creativity and stagnates our growth, not just as an industry but as a nation.”
Last year, Tsara spoke at the National Broadcasting Conference where it was revealed that BTV has only P18 million a year to buy content and they spend P11 million of that to buy sports rights. This meant that the remaining P7 million was for locally sourced content.
SEAfrica was launched in 2014 in South Africa and was introduced as part of the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival. The event takes place annually during the month of September.