ODC creates opportunity for local creatives

Stung by an earlier pivot for foreigners, the Okavango Diamond Company is inviting Batswana artists to promote “Okavango Blue,” the rare stone discovered at Orapa, in a campaign that see the artworks featured on the Okavango Blue website and social media channels


After the heavy criticism of the Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) last May for commissioning foreign creatives to promote Okavango Blue, the rare and the largest stone ever discovered in Orapa, the company says it will engage Batswana for its upcoming marketing activities.

The 100% government owned company is calling on all Batswana artists who work in pottery, weaving, jewellery, fashion, music, furniture (woodworks) and leather to develop a series of artistic commissions entitled “A Blue Like No Other.”

“ODC’s launch of the Okavango Blue in April was the announcement phase of our marketing campaign and was designed to generate maximum local and global awareness with the intention of creating mass appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This far reaching announcement was befitting for a Botswana diamond find so rare and iconic,” said spokesperson of ODC, Dennis Tlaang.

Tlaang said the intention is showcase the beauty and distinctiveness of the stone through the eyes of Batswana. He sees this as an opportunity to showcase and celebrate Okavango Blue by depicting different facets of our country, its unique character and voice.

As a project, “A Blue Like No Other” seeks to tell the story of the majesty and essence of Botswana as the gem of Africa. The campaign entails showcasing all the attributes of the stone while profiling and showcasing Botswana, its art and artists. This is being done through their work as inspired by the stone and incorporated into a unique story to share with the world.

For the artistic commission, creatives are requested to submit their own concept for a creative piece and the singular beauty of Botswana. Artists can choose to focus on any attributes of the diamond, for example, its striking deep fancy blue colour, its exceptional oval shape and faceting, or choose to draw inspiration from multiple aspects of the diamond’s history, rarity and place of origin. The resulting concept must be an artist’s original work and a portfolio or examples of previous work may be included in the pitch.

Tlaang says: “The artists selected will be profiled by the ODC through our communication channel. Additionally the artists and their work will be included in a public relations campaign which aims to get wide exposure for both the artists and “‘Okavango Blue.’”

Pitch documents should be submitted by 17 July 2019 and must include a detailed budget of the expenses (labour and materials) and a timing plan with dated milestones to ensure work is completed. The concept must also be executed and delivered by 16 August 2019. To facilitate the creation of the work, each selected artist will receive a mobilisation budget upfront (to be agreed) with the remaining balance to be paid once the final artwork has been submitted.

Selected artists will need to agree to participate in publicity efforts around their artwork and “Okavango Blue.” This includes sharing their concept and story with the media and on social media.