- Batswana artists have turned into beggars – Moxx Gaolape
- The ministry is allocated P500 000 annually towards performing services, arts and craft
Botswana is the only country where musicians turn into beggars. This is according to promoter Mogomotsi Moxx Gaolape who made the remark at the recent music video premiere of MMP Family.
“This goes back to our leaders, we have associations such as BEPA and BOMU, up to now we have no ministry that is housing us. We have no funding and it’s very difficult to run things from our pockets,” he said, adding that when COSBOTS was introduced they thought it would be the end of their troubles- “But has now put us into poverty. In other countries artists are making a living out of royalties,” he protested, imploring assistant minister Ofentse Mzwinila to look into the royalties collecting organization. “We don’t sell alcohol, we are forced to host our shows in clubs and restaurants or bars because there are no performing arenas. At 2am our shows are stopped,” Gaolape raised another concern.
This however prompted words of encouragement from Leader of Opposition and Bonington North MP Duma Boko who encouraged artists to feel free in expressing themselves and “ to speak from the depth of their soul”.
“It is the responsibility of those placed in government to provide these facilities. Remember that you employed these folks, why are they bossing you around since one of you says, Why le ba leseletsa; that’s the question that comes jeering at you because if you truly are their employers you should be calling the shots defining what they should or shouldn’t do,” he said, making an allusion to Vee Mampeezy’s hit by the same name.
“You must be a truth teller before you become a flag waver. If you stir enough souls you might just be taken seriously as you deserve. You determine your fate within the courage you speak the truth. And the ability to fire those who fall under the standard that you require. Keep track of those who did not heed your pleas and 2019 is the year to make a decision,” said Boko.
For his part Assistant Minister of Youth, Kefentse Mzwinila, said their ministry has made efforts to improve the situation, citing the formation of an Arts Council. “We have started the process of moving COSBOTS to our ministry because we want to use the revenues from COSBOTS to empower and fund the National Arts Council. It is finalized, what is left is the formal approval from relevant ministries,” he said, further explaining that they were still in talks regarding the extension of trading hours for shows.
Mzwinila also revealed that his ministry is allocated a total amount of P500 000 annually geared towards performing services, arts and crafts. “I urge you to all to make use of these opportunities. Government cannot fund the entire creative industry alone, the private sector needs to come on board. If you look at the creative industry we are being compared with, it is the creative industries who entice the private sector to sponsor them,” he said, challenging artists to come up with possible solutions and engage them.