How entertainment industry stormed to life post restrictions

The people's festival featuring South African artist, Makhadzi at Molapo Pizza marked the return of music festivals PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The people's festival featuring South African artist, Makhadzi at Molapo Pizza marked the return of music festivals PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Botswana, like many other countries across the globe, was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that exposed the vulnerabilities and changed people’s lives forever. However, post the lockdowns, there was also a sudden thirst for entertainment and leisure. Mmegi Correspondents GOITSEMODIMO KAELO & NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE look at how the entertainment industry stormed to life after 18 months blackout

The year 2020 saw one of the biggest global shutdowns of the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry was among the hardest hit sectors the world over. In Botswana, the industry shutdown lasted for over 19 months, throwing industry players into panic. They all thought it might never recover, especially that locally, events attendance was already waning before the closure.

It was a very difficult period for many people, especially musicians and entertainment promoters whose livelihoods depend squarely on these events.

Like never before, we have seen many deaths hitting families due to COVID-19. Laughter turned into tears and happiness into sorrow. With the entertainment industry shut, depression and abuse escalated.


Surprisingly, after some time locked down, people started to find ways to socialise and have fun. With music festivals, picnics and other social events still banned, people derived means to beat the low and socialise and continue with nightlife.

Some made ‘chillas’ as they were famously referred to at their homes while others hosted party sessions in secluded areas. All these were blamed for spiking COVID-19 cases and deaths, but it showed people couldn’t wait for the restrictions to be lifted.

The people's festival featuring South African artist, Makhadzi at Molapo Pizza marked the return of music festivals PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The people's festival featuring South African artist, Makhadzi at Molapo Pizza marked the return of music festivals PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE



However, after the local State of Emergency (SoE) that ended on September 30, many restrictions including the ban of alcohol sales and closing of different recreational joints such as bars, night clubs, theatres and music festivals was lifted. The lifting of bans got people excited. At least, after the stresses and anxieties caused by the pandemic and lockdowns, they finally had something to look up to. As it is a norm, music brings people together. Since they have been locked up in their homes for more than a year and months, many night crawlers were evidently excited for the opening of the entertainment industry. Immediately when events opened up, the thirst for festivals and socialising in outgoing people’s lives was evident. We saw people spending a lot of cash on their nightlife. The revival of nightlife ecosystem generated rich social, cultural and economic benefits.

Since the recreational gates opened, many people have shown tremendous thirst for nightlife. One of the first local shows headlined by celebrated South Africa’s songstress Makhadzi dubbed The People’s Festival at Molapo Piazza, proved that indeed people are hungry for entertainment.

The show was packed to capacity, something that got the event promoter Gilbert ‘PP Wa Pimp’ Seagile to take the opportunity and create a series of such events. He took the show to the Obed Itani Chilume Sports Complex where it was equally fully packed if not more. Then followed the Amaroto festival, which was held in November at the Escapade by James, Boatle. There was also the Amapiano festival held at the Royal Aria Stadium in Tlokweng, which also attracted multitudes.

There were many more events that attracted large audiences including Leteise on Fleek and African Attire on Fleek, both which celebrate African fabrics and aspires the youth to design the best outfits. There were also a few social picnics that attracted large crowds such as Sunday Ultimate. Although one may argue that these events come at a time when everyone wants to have fun and celebrate after a long year, but week in week out, music festivals have been attracting sizeable crowds.

Yes, the pandemic has affected all the industries, but on a positive note, for the entertainment industry, it has resuscitated the hunger for more. People attend events in large numbers and the trend could continue going into the future as many had had enough of being locked inside.

Editor's Comment
More resources needed to fight crime

The Fight Crime Gaborone Facebook page is always filled with sad complaints of hard working Batswana who were robbed at knife point at some traffic lights or at their home gates when trying to get inside.These thugs have no mercy; they do not just threaten victims, they are always ready to use knives, and sadly, they damage car windows. While this happens at different traffic lights, there are those where such incidents happen more frequently...

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