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Entertainers disappointed with 75 people limit

After the government lifted restrictions on arts and entertainment by allowing gatherings of less than 75 people, creative industry players have revealed that the decision was still unfavourable for them.

Music promoter, Exotic Sebina told Arts & Culture in an interview that the government has not opened nightclubs where they host festivals but they opened theatres.

He added that with Arts & Culture sector now open cash flow will rise but it is not up to the satisfying level. “We are still facing a monster of COVID-19 so we should be careful also in how we open,” he stated. 

Sebina further revealed that they were submitting a different approach to the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development to now focus on virtual and television shows.

“I believe with virtual innovative ideas, companies can sponsor for online presence, it’s a start. It means they are now considering to open slowly.

He said they also have to acknowledge the fact that COVID-19 is here to stay. However, with innovative ideas that prohibits mass gatherings, they could go somewhere.

“But for now we need to try to find ways to make what they opened work,” he highlighted.

Renowned promoter and President of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) Gilbert ‘PP wa Pimp’ Seagile said they were seeking to engage the COVID-19 Presidential task force on the new regulations.

His view was that while efforts were been made to re-open the Arts and Entertainment sector, more needed to be done.

“75 is a small number looking at the logistical costs associated with hosting a gig such as venue, security, artists and sound. The COVID-19 requirements have also increased costs because one

has to fumigate and buy other things in relation to the regulations. Note that on average, entrance fee for a gig is P50, so there won’t be any profit,” he said.

Seagile also said the current situation has left many promoters without any revenue and the new regulations will worsen the situation.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. But remember we have gone for months without any revenue and the new regulations while trying to open the sector, will leave promoters and artists in even worse financial state. There is need for us to meet the COVID-19 task team and see how best we could come up with solutions to create a balance between controlling the virus and mitigating its effect on the sector,” he added.

However, Seagile said blame couldn’t only be directed to government because industry players are also divided adding that there is need to engage more with government on serious and tangible propositions to deal with the issue.

For his part, musician Mingo Touch who has been in the industry for more than a decade said it was tough because if they were going to have 75 people,  then the amount of money one uses for venue, sound matters.

“It’s a difficult one because we have been sidelined on this one, but I am just hoping the situation calms down and things get back to normal. By just being open at least it’s something,” he said.


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