Fine Arts; Botswana’s Untapped Commercial Treasure


The assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Ofentse Mzwinila and executives of BIHL Trust hosted avid art collectors and Botswana’s captains of industry at an exhibition at the National Museum in Gaborone end of last week.
It was revealed that Botswana indigenous artworks continue to attract demand from overseas investors and therefore hold considerable potential for diversifying the local economy.
“The Arts and Culture Sector is capable of promoting Botswana as a desirable place for investment as well as an attractive and unique destination of choice,” Mzwinila said.
BIHL Group Chief Financial Officer Kudakwashe Mukushi said people travel the world to collect art pieces in prestigious galleries and heritage sites. This in turn attracts business to vendors, transport, communications, hospitality and more industries and Botswana has the talent and dynamism to attract this kind of creative investment into the economy. “The economic viability is evident and we stand to benefit greatly as a nation if we channel greater investment into our indigenous artistry.”
The artworks displayed for sale on the night were collections from the 2017 President’s Day Competitions National Art, Basket and Craft Exhibition. The Night at the Museum exhibition is an annual engagement that forms part of BIHL Trust’s sponsorship of the annual President’s Day celebrations. This year’s exhibition marks BIHL Trust’s second consecutive year of participation in the MYSC-championed campaign.
“Ultimately our support intends to drive greater exploration of opportunities for local businesses to grow the manufacturing and marketing of our indigenous assets. The fine arts and wider creative industries also provides opportunities to preserve our dynamic heritage and to share it with the world. We have a responsibility as a nation to work together to preserve our stories for coming generations to appreciate, to build on and to derive socio economic development from,” concluded Mukushi.
Since the inception of the President’s Day Celebrations in 2008 Mzwinila says they have witnessed a significant growth in the programme. Participation numbers have grown from 14 731 to 18 971.  This growth has necessitated collaboration with strategic partners outside of government.  BIHL Trust remains committed to supporting Botswana’s creative arts.
In 2015 the trust collaborated with local craftsmen to establish the #RhinosInTheCity nationwide rhino conservation campaign and Thapong Visual Arts Centre to erect the BIHL Roving Gallery. In 2016, in addition to sponsoring the President’s Day awards and hosting the Night at the Museum, the Trust sponsored the Heritage Trail along Gaborone’s Independence Avenue, illustrating key milestones achieved in Botswana’s 50 years as a Republic using photographs from the national archives.