Mmegi Online :: Local authors cry foul
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Last Updated
Monday 24 April 2017, 03:05 am.
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Local authors cry foul

Local writers have expressed concern that government is not doing enough to promote the literary arts in the country.
By GASEBALWE SERETSE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Local authors cry foul








They cite the recent President's Day Holiday celebrations during which government splashed a lot of money on visual and performing arts activities in the country after President Ian Khama directed that 'two programmes of performing and visual arts be held to celebrate National Heritage Day and for the arts to be honoured for their contribution to cultural development'.  The celebrations ended at a glittering ceremony where Khama awarded the artists monetary prizes.

On the other hand, the only literary arts event that took place was the Bessie Head Heritage Trust, 2008 Literature Awards that were sponsored by Pentagon Publishers, a local publishing house, which were low-profile by comparison.

"The reason why government overlooks the literary arts is because of the limited definition of culture," says Lecheng-based author, Lauri Kubuetsile, who also happens to be the Vice Chairperson of the Writers Association of Botswana (WABO).

Kubuetsile says that she believes that if the word 'culture' were redefined, government would realise that the literary arts were an integral part of culture. She further calls on government to have separate awards for the writers.

However, Kubuetsile points out that government is not entirely to blame for the state of the literary arts saying that writers themselves contribute to the situation.

"If we do not

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organise ourselves, the situation will remain pathetic," she says.
Serowe based author , Tom Holzinger believes that 'literary works do not get respect from government'. Holzinger says that the country is ready to have an arts council whose primary duty should be to handle all the issues concerning the arts.He also called for a supervisory council, which should not controlled by government and whose mandate should be to make sure that it provides 'direct financial support so as to enrich lives of those individuals involved in the arts and culture'.

Holzinger says that there is need to establish a broadcasting corporation that should be able to promote the arts without any interference from the government. Holzinger, who is also a trustee of the Bessie Head Heritage Trust, says their awards have been sustained by the financial support that they get from Pentagon Publishers, which will be reviewed after five years.The only other awards that honour writers in Botswana are the Orange Botswerere Artist of the Year awards, which are sponsored by Orange Botswana and the Department of Culture and Youth.At the time of going to press, officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, the ministry responsible for the arts, were not available for comment.

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