Constructs, structures: is the industry too expensive to bother developing?
Friday, 07 September, 2012The final area of concern was inspired by a conversation I had with DJ Sid a few days ago, which is why Batswana doubt and lack faith when it comes to Tswana-breed products.
Let us look at pricing of a number of products from fashion:
- Christian Dior or Louis Vuitton hand bag when priced at P6000 is acceptable. Reason being its foreign and somewhat carries more clout seeing as it has been in existence longer. The brand has, not the product however.
- Phatma Mekgwe, Kaone Ramontshonyana or Sino Ragontse’s fashion products are met with skepticism and doubt upon the glance, as the designer dances around a prospective buyer, explaining themselves to them and why they should purchase that particular product. Cant the buyer see, is the buyer of that kind of high class, customized couture part of the culture kana le lenyatso fela? As if having to justify them is not bad enough, sometimes they have to reduce their pricing as a favour or to change to suit a retailers needs, just so that they can meet the expenses and pay their bills – never mind make a profit to enjoy their hard work or to buy new materials as means of finding growth.
Wouldn’t it be so cool if we could scrutinize our prospective consumers on how much they know about the value and production process of particular branded products and niche markets? You would be shocked that a possible contributing factor to the ignorance posed by many Batswana is that they do not empower themselves with knowledge, rather they ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ maneuver. A very small percentage of people in our local industry are avid fan. Fact.
- Favourite topic – Zahara, who seemed to have passed Lira in terms of cashing in with the same crowds was a frequent act, and she has now been replaced by MiCasa. Zahara’s debut appearance in Botswana the past festive season, tickets were charged at P1500.00, then 900.00 then 500.00… you know who I would pay 500 for: Banjo Mosele, Shanti Lo and Kabo Leburu. Now that is a show. Considering that if you dirve four hours south, you can pay P120 for a ticket to see Zahara, Thandiswa, Stimela and Freshly Ground at a cultural festival, held at a lovely venue such as Zoo Lake. I feel for local artists you know, there they are trying to build the industry, grow it, nurture and invest in it. To cater for fans and revelers alike and no one is giving them support – like actively giving support except for Oliver and Vincent (pretty decent experienced promoters and show organizers – I will trip on them another time.)
I do understand the convenience itself is what contributes to the pricing – outsiders need to travel and accommodation must be covered, but if you do that, they must get a lesser fee than artists. Are they more worthy or deserving, and how is that determined. Don’t you ever wonder?
I also understand this, the industry is expensive and ga go na madi – jaanong- a dirwe jang (theres no money, granted, but how can we make sure there is money?)
On the other hand, we can’t scrutinize followers because the artists need the fans to survive, never the other way round. So if they prefer Revolution or Mahoota versus Groove Cartell, then what can we do. It sucks but go tla tweng?
I just wonder what criteria are the fans or locals themselves using (aside from monkey-see, monkey-do, flavor dome and mma-moribos) to grade the value of an external artist versus a local one, in determining who is the better one?
Am I being dictatorial and defeating the purpose of right to freedom of choice, speech and expression? Perhaps. It is just so unnerving because the industry could be so much more – like DSTV :-P – lol… okay but seriously, open your hearts, minds and ears and eyes… or should I sing a song about it.
Think fact: 25 genres coming from local artists. Are you really listening? Are you reading? What are you doing?