Mmegi Online :: UN urges gov’t to develop artists
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Tuesday 26 July 2016, 06:00 am.
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UN urges gov’t to develop artists

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council has suggested that Botswana government should invest in the creative arts industry. This would be in line with government’s recent commitment to diversify Botswana’s economy.
By Sharon Mathala Fri 18 Mar 2016, 16:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: UN urges gov’t to develop artists








A Special Rapporteur team, which made the recommendations, spent some time in the country recently. The team recommended that government should expand its support to non-traditional forms of cultural expressions and consider the establishment of a national arts council to promote and develop artists and creative industries.

The National Association of Botswana Artists (NABA), spokesperson, Raymond Malinga, recently told the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture (MYSC), Thapelo Olopeng, that establishing an arts council would help get everyone together.

Actor and promoter, Bofelo Segotso, also told the minister at the meeting with artists that nothing is going to materialise until the arts council is formed. He complained that entertainment is attached to alcohol.

“We want to sell the arts, but if promoters and musicians keep fighting, then it is slowing us down.”  Responding to the UN last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, said that the National Arts Council of Botswana bill is being drafted.

She said consultations were being done with stakeholders.  There are arts associations for the different art forms as well as a forum for chairpersons of the arts associations to promote consultations and implementation of arts/cultural programmes. There is also a committee that runs arts and culture competitions and organise Independence Day cultural celebrations. The government admitted to the UN that there is a shortage of purpose-built facilities for the arts such as theatres, performance arenas and amphitheatres. However Venson-Moitoi said the government continued to cater for communities through community halls in major villages that were available for artists.

“There are community halls in all major villages and halls in secondary schools, which are accessible for

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use by various stakeholders, including children, youth and artists for leisure, entertainment, talent identification and any other recreational activities.

“The country has three major stadiums, seven sports complexes, and each school has sports facilities which are also accessible for community activities. Due to the economic recession, sports facilities that were to be built in places such as Ramotswa, Gantsi and Kanye were deferred. People who are interested to use the aforementioned facilities make bookings with the authorities managing them,” she said. Olopeng, who in the past few weeks met and discussed issues with artists and the creative industry players, this week told parliament that his ministry’s focus has been to consolidate the growth and appreciation of local arts and craft whilst promoting economic gain from these activities.

“Government has, through a presidential directive, introduced a programme to support local arts and craft by providing an annual allocation of P10 million which is administered by my ministry,” he said. Olopeng told parliament that the sale of arts and crafts raised up to P2.3m as compared to P1.4 m in the last financial year.

“These programmes provide opportunity for artists to earn income and make a living from their craft,” parliament was told.

Olopeng further told Parliament this week that through the President’s Day celebrations, which are held across the country, the prize money increased last year, adding that they also received more participants than any other year.

Last year, 14,739 individuals participated in the programme compared to 12,118 in 2014. The total prize money increased from P 2.5 million in 2014 to P 2.8 million last year due to the introduction of new categories.

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