Here is How Creatives are Making Sense of COVID-19

As the world adjusts to its biggest behavioural change since history was recorded, more and more artists are choosing creativity to call their lives into order while sharing their works with their online audiences under the lockdown, writes GOSEGO MOTSUMI.

As Batswana adapt to working from home, people in the creative industry have been forced to think outside the box for inspiration in the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Time Out interviewed creatives from across fields about their changing relationship with their audiences and how they are staying creative to make sure that their craft does not disappear.

Even though the lockdown is a chance for the leader of contemporary folk music band, Sereetsi & the Natives, to spend time with family and recharge his batteries, this is also an opportunity for him to create new music and strategize for the post-COVID-19 environment. Tomeletso Sereetsi is among local music artists who are using social media and streaming to keep making their music available to as many people as possible around the world because Live Streaming is the new going out.

“As they say, ‘adapt or die’, it is time to prime myself not to be left behind in the new business normal,” he said in an interview. “I’ll be hosting online concerts for as long as the lockdown lasts. People need new music to keep themselves off the doom and gloom of COVID-19.”

Styled “Serubing Sessions,” Sereetsi had his first Facebook concert for one and-a-half hours on his artist page recently, which he says was such a resounding success that the demand for the next session was immediately reverberating. As a part of the concerts, Sereetsi shares words of encouragement and the messages from health authorities to avoid infection and contain the spread of the deadly virus. Perhaps this was a great way to keep people entertained and stave off the cabin fever, but hopefully it will also provide a way for artists to continue to earn a living.

Said Sereetsi: “It is not rocket science that the lockdown means that artists cannot earn a living in the traditional way. The online concert is part of an effort to raise a buck and hopefully be able to also contribute to the national COVID-19 Relief Fund. I am planning the next Facebook Live concert for Thursday 23 April 2020 at 7:30 pm. Music enthusiasts can tune into the live concert by following my artist page so that they are alerted to the performances when they happen.”

The famous “Robete” hit maker believes it was high time artists explored the potential revenue avenues of the online world. While there will be a return to the old way, Sereetsi says the silver lining in the decidedly dark cloud of COVID-19 is that artists now realise the potential of the Internet and are compelled to resort to it to survive and even excel.

Elsewhere, as her contribution to the campaign for social distancing and staying home, a fashion artist and seamstress of note has launched a whole line of colourful clothes tagged “Behind the Seams with Tsholo Dikobe.” Having added her own name to the synergy, Tsholofelo Dikobe says she shares her creativity with her online audience and has crafted the fashion pieces as mood boosters because colour is a great psychological lift-up.

She notes that she chose creativity to call her life into order and make sense of the pandemic. “These mood boosters are a symbol of hope and will be a badge of victory for the COVID-19 pandemic,” she told Time Out in an interview. “The plan is to donate some of the clothes and keep some as a personal reminder of being hopeful and victorious during trying times even beyond the pandemic. It’s imperative that I repurpose my thoughts. So making mood boosters daily keeps me sane and away from the morbid thoughts about this pandemic.”

After his morning exercises at home, photographer and chef Kabo Olesitse writes down his own recipes and prepares meals that he shares with his online audiences. “I encourage them to cook as I have conversations around food and recipes with them,” Olesitse explains. “But I also take a break for online gaming where I meet and interact with a lot of people in the gaming world.”