In what is lauded by the ruling party and government as an initiative to create employment for the youth, American comedian, radio personality, television host and businessman Steve Harvey was in Botswana this week to help create jobs and opportunities.
There are doubting voices however that are not convinced that the idea is as noble or effective as presented by its sponsors.
The government outlined from the onset when Harvey set foot on our shores that he is here to explore opportunities for investment in the creative industry and promote the youth of Botswana to participate in business aligned to the industry.
“Getting rich and successful happens in your mind. If you change your attitude, you change your altitude,” is one of the motivational messages Harvey said to the youth at UB Indoor Sports Arena this week. Batswana feel that they have been bombarded with enough motivational messages but need something tangible to uplift their own lives.
President Masisi said Harvey was here to help transform Botswana into a mega multi-media country. However, the celebrity cannot even use his social media platforms to promote the country! Therefore, one wonders how the import can possibly create jobs for Batswana when he is unable to use what he already has to help Batswana. Harvey has a large following on social media but he has not posted much about his Botswana visit on his big social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The man said Botswana Television has potential but it is not being utilised. He added that the outfit needs a lot of content from Botswana in order to thrive. But in this, the “Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man” author was reiterating what many Batswana are already saying about Btv. Do we really
Harvey indicated during a press conference earlier that he would later bring the USA television experts to unpack the untapped Botswana media industry talent. The comedian owns a big media company called Steve Harvey Global that creates and distributes original, powerful entertainment, content and products that inspire the world.
The Emmy Award-winning entertainer, who is an inspiring motivator to his fans and mentor to the celebrities he has helped throughout their careers, failed to outline any plan to create opportunities.
Batswana came in numbers to see him but critics have dismissed him as another gimmick designed to lull citizens into believing action is being taken on unemployment, particularly amongst the youth.
The mission is to create jobs and Harvey while inspirational, cannot assume a role that primarily should be led by government. It is known that government has a host of initiatives that, all in their own somewhat disjointed ways, are intended to tackle unemployment. Initiatives across the ministries of finance, trade, agriculture and youth point to this but without tangible targets and a clear road map, few will be convinced.
Even the private sector often cited as a partner to government this effort, must be given a defined roadmap to participate in. Without this, future Harveys will be met with the same cynicism that was palpable this week.
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
- Jonas Salk