Gov’t sets aside P500K for BOMU Awards

  • Awards moved to September
  • Artists can also look forward to World Expo Dubai

GOSEGO MOTSUMI

The inaugural virtual Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) Awards, originally scheduled for 31 July 2021, are now slated for September 2021, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, told Parliament recently.

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Minister Rakgare disclosed that the government has pledged P500 000 for this year’s annual awards that will honour and celebrate Botswana musicians and creatives who recorded and commercialized new music between 1 January 2019 and April 2021.

“The majority of funds will go towards prizes for artists,” he said. “The ministry considers BOMU as a key stakeholder in engaging artists on all matters pertaining to the music industry. This is one of the ministry’s interventions to support the sector and avoid its total collapse.”

According to the minister, beginning in March 2022 and culminating on Botswana National Day on 30 September, creatives can also look forward to celebrating their country with the world. Several Botswana artists are expected to participate in a six-month long exposition on a rotational basis.

Besides performing at events hosted by Botswana, local artists will have other opportunities by organizers of the expo to perform alongside international artists for exposure and networking opportunities. An estimated 114 local artists will perform at the six-month long expo.

Botswana creatives will also get to participate in the upcoming World Expo 2020 Dubai, which was postponed last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Rakgare said the Dubai exposition will run for six months from the 1st October 2021 to 31st March 2022, hosting 190 countries with an estimated 25 million visitors.

This will create an international market for locally produced goods and services and simultaneously showcase Botswana’s artistic talent. “Marketing and sale of arts and crafts will be a major part of the World Expo 2020,” Rakgare said.

“The ministry has since collected arts and crafts from producers across the country, including basketry, leatherwork, beadwork, pottery, wire sculptures, woodcarvings and fashion design garments. The arts and crafts have been collected from 220 artists with a total value of P988 567. These will be sold at the exposition to generate income for the crafts producers.”