The University of Botswana’s (UB) UBFACE project director Connie Rapoo has urged parents and guardians to support their children in their choice to pursue a career in the arts.
Rapoo said this during the university’s first Carnival festival opening ceremony held at the campus indoor sports centre on Wednesday evening. She further explained that young people thrive in making their own choices. The theme for the inaugural UBFACE First Carnival and theatre festival was “Ignite your Creativity”.
“Clearly, not all of them want to be doctors and lawyers, as some parents mistakenly, sometimes tragically, assume. Their interest might actually be in the arts. I understand your anxiety about securing future jobs in the arts at the current moment here in Botswana,” she said.
However, she encouraged them to recognise their potential as pioneers of the entertainment industry here at home. She said she understood parents and guardians fears where they ask themselves questions like what if it does not work?
“I encourage you to reflect on this one: what if it does work? If your children are not busy doing what they love, they are busy doing what they are not supposed to be doing. Let your children choose the path they love. That way, they can do what they like and get someone to pay them for it,” she added.
She further emphasised that the arts were the future. Rapoo said with the changing landscape in Botswana where more recognition is given to culture and the creative industries, and everyone getting caught up in the agenda for economic diversification, they were on the paths to seeing her claim unfolding.
“We are confident that this platform will enable us to form strong liaisons, specifically in the areas of job creation and the promotion of arts and culture. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude and commitment to our groundbreaking partnership with FNB Foundation,” she said.
“To young people with artistic dexterity: I invite you to invest in a creative, sustainable future with us. I invite you to use the Carnival initiative to explore your talents. I encourage you
For his part the Mayor of Gaborone Kagiso Thutlwe said for 34 years, UB has been the incubator for Botswana’s work force.
He said investing in the arts and creative sector could contribute to the creative and future wellbeing of Batswana in the following areas: job creation through the training of young arts entrepreneurs and creative professionals, income generation by exporting creative products and services, economic diversification by diversifying the economy away from dependence on sectors such as mining and agriculture, rural economic development through the support of cultural tourism projects spearheaded by community-based organisations, cultural heritage preservation through the promotion of Botswana-produced films, festivals, and television programmes and promoting peace and social cohesion: these being values that unite all the people of Botswana.
“Carnival celebrations are meant to set the scene for a creative, sustainable future; a future that is not only feasible but also traceable elsewhere. The UN’s Creative Economy Report shows how global trade in creative goods and services grew by 8.7% annually from 2000-2005, making it one of the most vibrant commercial sectors in the world. In 2005, the value of the export of creative goods reached $335.5 billion, according to figures reported by over 130 countries, while exports of creative services totaled $89 billion,” he explained.
He said those figures were an indication of the potential for a creative economy, including that of Botswana. He added that when all stakeholders, embrace the call for economic diversification specifically by investing in the cultural and creative sector, the figures could become a reality for our country.
The opening ceremony was filled with numerous entertainments like traditional, hip-hop, kwaito and other forms of dance, parade, flame throwing, Chinese performances, music and others from UBFACE performers.