The COVID-19 global pandemic fuelled a massive industry disappointment in the creative sector in the year 2020. 2021 is relatively infant and already this new year is generating many expectations in the fallen and often neglected sector. But the reality is that many issues related to the creative industry will remain unchanged or will get worse. Looking at how the year started with the extension of the night curfew and suspension of alcohol sales it will likely be a very long time until there are massive public events, the core of the creative sector. Mmegi Staffer MOMPATI TLHANKANE talked to a number of creatives to find out if they have any hopes for a better 2021.
DJ KSB – Music producer and DJ
The industry experienced the worst from my point of view ever since the first lockdown where I lost my annual event and never got a form of relief from the government even though I tried to reach out. So I have realized that it is not going to be easy because recently we saw the government program from MYSC and NowTV dividing artists in these dry days. I as a pushing artist was shocked to have not been included to partake but I kept my humbleness. I realized Botswana will take long to recognize if you not in the cycle and system hence why we keep saying "Goja batho bale nosi lefa relela le bone". So I believe it will take long to get back to normal or a better stage. I'm wrapping up Phendula visuals now which will be on big music channels here in SA where I have realized I get most support & appreciation.
Thabang Garogwe – Jazz artist
The situation isn't looking any better as the Covid siege still continues to rub us the wrong way. The creative industry has been affected badly as it stands. The album sales of CDs dropped. Usually the shows help to promote our music sales and if there are no shows the sales suffer. We have since decided to explore the digital space and avail my music in all digital stores like Apple music and iTunes. I decided to get my music into the international platform as such its licensed by Sheer Publishing which allows me to earn royalties if my music plans outside Botswana boundaries.
Messiah Jackson – Pageantry and event manager
This situation is very sad, and with the hope that it will get better, but things get worse day by day. For me personally it is tough, my company primarily deals with event management and you can imagine my situation now. When it comes to Pageantry, other countries are back to normal and to them its business as usually. Most of pageants in Botswana are franchises from other countries but to them, plans on international pageants are going well and just recently, few days ago, we had the beautiful Miss Independence representing Botswana in Nigeria and it was wonderful. I think we should try to do like other countries, and continue with business at the same time following other Covid 19 prevention procedures.
Lucy Ranko – DJ and events manager
The situation will continue to get worse for many creatives due to continuous closer of entertainment areas like bars, restaurants, farms due to curfew and lockdowns that are looming as a result of the new Covid 19 variant. Most have decided to leave the industry and went back to their villages to do farming or come up
Emang Maranyane – Visual artist
I believe the chances of our creatives doing better this year are highly dependent on our leaders. Frankly, most of our creatives were putting in more work in 2020. For examples, take Sasa Klaas and Baxon, Cyc Jozy, Prince Tom and Ronald, Rexx, ATI, William Last KRM and Director Mo Proctor, B-Block (Go Hard) just to name but a few. We were buying and listening to our people's music, we were wearing our people's clothing lines, so Batswana had learnt to support their own people during the pandemic but we all know that shows would boost them a lot. May the good Lord remind our loving leaders to put creatives' best interests at heart as they make decisions this year, and in that way their efforts will be recognised.
Frank De Painter – Fine artist
As creatives we need to understand that every sector has been affected badly by the pandemic. When the situation is like this we all look to the government so that it can chip in and help us financially, but before we can invite government we need to come together as creatives sit down and draw up a proposal that will benefit every creative. The world is going digital, people spend time looking at their phones. We can try and take our businesses digitally, learn from other successful artists. We need to create supporting businesses like catering food, selling clothes and other basic need products.
Thabiso Ranthoyakgale – Filmmaker
As it stands it' is clear that going forward the film and television industry will be affected too. Factoring in the social distance measures, filming is a tricky situation but I believe the time is now that we as creatives come up with innovative solutions or storytelling. As for creatives and the situation getting better, it's difficult to foresee the film industry thriving or picking pace under these conditions. What can be done, I want to believe more funding should be channelled to filmmakers to tell stories that depicts the struggle of Batswana under this pandemic, every sector there is opportunity for stories to explore and most importantly the government and the creative sector needs to keep the film industry alive during this difficult time. Also I believe like journalists and other media people filmmakers should be given essential permits to produce content.