Controversy brews over Independence celebrations

Olopeng
Olopeng

Disgruntled local entertainers who are unhappy that government has opted to engage a South African based company to head the country’s 49th Independence celebrations have resorted to seek legal advice.

According to insiders, the announcement that an outside company would organise the celebrations came as a shock especially as government worked with local artists during past independence celebrations.

The celebrations will commence on September 27 and continue until September 30, 2015, across the country.

Arts & Culture has however established that local promoters, artists and DJs are aggrieved that they were overlooked for a celebration in their own backyard.


“We are celebrating the independence of Botswana, our Botswana, we do not understand why we should get the smaller share of the cake We had a meeting with the Minister and his delegation last week, we got the shock of our existence when we were told we were not capable to organise an event of their magnitude,” said an insider, who chose to remain anonymous.

Mogomotsi Gaolape, a representative from the promoters’ association confirmed that they have decided to seek legal advice. He insisted that while they do not have anything against the chosen South African company, they believe that first preference and priority should be given locals.

“The very essence of the celebrations is that we are celebrating a Motswana, and what better way to do so that engage and empower a Motswana,” he said. 

He also questioned the line-up

“They say they will have an electronic festival; Batswana are not even followers of that music genre. We also want to be recognised and taken seriously, where in the world has this happened?” he quizzed.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, confirmed the dispute between the two parties. He said when the decision to engage a foreign company was taken he was out of the country on other ministerial duties, but had since been given an update.

“I am a local guy, I support locals. As soon as I heard that a South African company had been engaged, I quizzed why we had to import a foreign company, I was told that our locals do not have the capacity,” he said.

Olopeng said he had not taken this matter lying down.

“I took the initiative to meet with the disgruntled group to explain to them the concept. Indeed like I was told none of them had the capacity.

“At the moment we have no locals with the capacity to handle an event of that magnitude. We hope that they will learn from the South African company, and perhaps be at the helm of the project next year. Contracts have already been signed there is little we can do now,” he said.

The standard festivities for independence, which will cost just under P26 million as opposed to last year, will start on September 27 at Boipuso Hall with an inter-faith service from 8.30am-10.30am. On September 29, 2015 there will be the popular Independence Eve event, which ends with an impressive display of fireworks.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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