With the national entertainment industry now in a state of flux as a result of the COVID-19 disruption, local promoters met recently at Notwane Club to discuss how best the government can ease restrictions and allow the events sector to reopen for its audience.
As the environment is already volatile for musicians and promoters alike, top entertainers attended the meeting to disclose their frustrations.
Veteran music promoter, Massie Hule told the crowd that as promoters everything is expensive for them - from sound to venues.
He said promoters are willing to pay any expense that will contain the spread of the corona virus.
“Even if it means disinfecting venues we will pay for that, open so that we can work. We are hungry,” he stated.
Hule also said they are super friendly in the entertainment industry, so mostly they just keep quiet.
“We have to find a way to be listened to, we cannot spread the disease so the government should at least give us guidelines. Tell us what to do and we will make it work,” he revealed.
Another promoter, David Letshwiti of African Attire On Fleek Picnic said the painful thing is that everyone in the creative industry tried everything to engage the government.
“We tried to come up with initiatives. We even met the ministry, but they have a tendency of leaving us behind and they keep forgetting that in the entertainment industry, we never beg and we generate our own money,” he further said.
Letshwiti added that so many festivals have been affected and they had long asked the government how best to help.
“ERTP is so saddening as you read it further, we are just being showered with thanks but we have been affected the same way as the tourism industry, but their subsidy has been extended.
There is no plan for us. We should be treated like the entrepreneurs we are,” he highlighted.
He further argued
Popular musician DJ Latimmy suggested that everyone in the music industry has to be ready before going forward.
“We are here in this meeting but some of the big names are not here.
As we go forward, we should hold these kinds of meetings. We need unity between legendary promoters and upcoming ones. We also need unity between upcoming artists and renowned ones. Lastly, we need a better relationship between artists and promoters,” he said.
Latimmy said there are some promoters who work with specific artists only and vice versa.
“We are sharing from one plate, so before we face the government we should be a united force,” he reiterated.
Local renowned music promoter, Godwin “Exotic Exoxo” Sebina of Exoxo Entertainment said they may be not a united force but they are all hungry. He said they don’t have to be friends to do business.
“The government doesn’t know a difference between the alcohol and entertainment industry.
Events business is not all about alcohol from business seminars to kiddies’ festivals, our industry employs a lot of people who are currently starving,” he said.
Sebina added that the creative industry has been talking so it is time to find a solution. He said he is disappointed in Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association.
“We end up fighting as individuals and one voice can never be heard. BEPA has a broken communication channel.
The minister and COVID-19 task team may not care about the entertainment, but we have affected a lot of sectors just by being closed,” he said.