The Association of Botswana Schools Performing Arts (ABOSPA) general secretary Michael Mosipidi said that they were not happy that government continues to neglect the performing arts.
Speaking during the International Day for Theatre for Children and Young People commemoration hosted by Children Association of Performing Arts Botswana (CHIPABO) in Gaborone recently, Mosipidi said he strongly believes given a chance performing arts could curb unemployment.
“I am not happy with people’s perception that sport is better than the arts. In Botswana performing arts and sports are categorised as similar things, even though sports are given priority. As ABOSPA, we feel that sports are given more recognition than arts, which is not good. Even parents discourage their children from showcasing their artistic talents, and encourage them to explore their sporting or athletic talents,” he said. He emphasised that the perception most people hold of performing arts delays its growth in the country. He added that research has proven that a person learns better if they are taught something that they are passionate about. He said many children have various talents in sports and arts and it could be better if children were given lessons in areas they are passionate about.
“If we don’t act now to create opportunities that are meant to unearth and nurture the talent of our young people, we should expect growing cases of social ills within the society. Creative and performing arts should be our number one strategy in economic diversification or creation of employment opportunities. Remember employment can be a key factor in the restoration of peace and tranquillity of our country,” he said.
He explained that ABOSPA believes that a well managed creative and performing arts industry can absorb the 28.7 percent of unemployed youth, which was recorded during the 2013 AIDS Survey.
He further said ABOSPA aspires to deepen mutual understanding and contribution for the consolidation of peace and friendship between people.
“We are of the opinion that, while we are supposed to cherish and remember those who have played a greater role by driving theatre to where it is today, we should also take this opportunity to review theatre development and come up with suggestions on how best we can pave a smarter way forward,” he said.
“We should basically put emphasis on some of the roles that have to be played by the core stakeholders to ensure a speedy growth towards quality in performance and management of the Performing Arts,” he added. He said theatre practitioners remained unsatisfied on the progress so far, urging artists to work together.
“I am bringing these concepts forward because I realised that in the past theatre practitioners and activists adopted a spirit of remaining solo, detached or individualistic in the good things that they intended to achieve. This attitude separated the passion, leadership, technical and performance skills that we have,” he said.