BOMU reflects on Masisi meeting

Fresh Lesokwane PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Fresh Lesokwane PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) this week met with President, Mokgweetsi Masisi and Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu to share experiences about challenges creatives face as a result of the suspension of public events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was also aimed at discussing possible interventions that the local creative industry can employ to ensure safe resumption of activities, following the lifting of the State of Emergency on September 30, 2021. Among the requests or proposals BOMU put forward to Masisi was the increase of local content on all local radio and television stations to a minimum of 70%.

According to a BOMU press release, Masisi agreed outright that the current 40% local content airplay on local media houses should be significantly increased as it does not inspire any confidence. The statement added that Masisi assigned Mthimkhulu to engage all key stakeholders including BOCRA to facilitate forthwith Cabinet review and amendment of the 40% resolution previously made. “BOMU expressed concern on the annual budget allocation of P9 million for procuring broadcast rights for Football and Music Awards.

We highlighted that the budget is rather low and detrimental to talent growth (including grassroot talent development, mentoring and talent export to other global markets) particularly in the creative industry. Masisi committed to have the budget request considered in coming financial years, highlighting that the current government focus is on getting all eligible members of the public vaccinated in order to ensure that the country reaches herd immunity to enable the full opening up of the economy,” the statement further revealed.


BOMU also highlighted the need to accelerate the inclusion of the creative Industry as a cluster in the National Strategy Office. “Alongside other creative industry entities, we reiterated the importance of the creative industry to the economy, highlighting that recognising its value like other sectors like mining and agriculture will leapfrog the industry. We further committed to resubmit a proposal compiled by all Arts Associations on this subject matter.” BOMU said as they welcome the reopening of the entertainment industry, they appealed to Masisi to support their request for MYSC to set up a nominal grant scheme to assist in promoting artist mobility as it is expensive to purchase equipment, accessories, sanitisers and fumigators required for promoters and artists to comply with COVID-19 protocols when staging events. “We appealed to Masisi to fully support the National Arts Council, emphasising that the newly set body requires his patronage in order to succeed. We outlined our gratitude for the establishment of the Council and expressed our full belief in it being a solution towards the full growth of the creative arts in Botswana,” BOMU highlighted.

According to BOMU, Masisi committed to the immediate closure of some of the issues raised, particularly on local content and airplay quota across media streams. He further pleaded with musicians and event promoters to not be complacent and exercise utmost caution when staging events in light of the continuing COVID 19 risks in the country and globally. He cautioned that failure to comply to the set COVID- 19 protocols would result in another suspension of events including festivals.

Masisi also committed to regular engagement with the creative industry highlighting that he is keen to have all aspects of the industry represented in future engagements. Masisi encouraged BOMU and local artists to prioritise collaborating with international artists, promoters and record labels as well as exporting of talent to reduce scrambling for the small local market.

His cited Nigeria as a successful global music industry and asked BOMU and other stakeholders to benchmark on how the country reached that milestone, further committing to support an execution plan of a similar model through MYSC, if the entities can emulate the Nigerian framework. BOMU was represented by its vice president (Finance) Letsweletse Moshabi, BOMU Awards Consultant Seabelo Modibe and BOMU members Odirile ‘Vee Mampeezy’ Sento, Magdalene ‘Charma Gal’ Lesolebe and Thato ‘Chef Gustos’ Modukanele.

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