As an intervention to support the redundant creative sector and avoid its total collapse, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) is set to implement a new project at an estimated cost of P1, 2 million.
He said this program is focused on the visual arts categories of Lekgapho Documentation; Pop up Fashion Show, Legends Documentation, Regional Art Exhibitions and Public Art Project (Murals and Monumental Sculptures).
“The Ministry uses the project to acquire arts and crafts for the National Permanent Art Collection whose purpose is for education, research and posterity,” he revealed. However, Rakgare was quick to indicate that the project just like others has also been deferred due to the COVID-19 surge.
Rakgare said the creative sector, particularly the arts, has been inactive since April 2020, Therefore this has resulted in the various sector players being adversely affected by loss of income as they could not ply their trade. “By its nature, the sector undertakes activities that attract mass gatherings and in most instances result in physical contact. Unfortunately, such activities conflict with the COVID-19 Regulations which place restrictions especially on movement and gatherings. In this regard, artists have not been able to work,” he highlighted.
Through last year’s ‘Stimulating the Creative Industry 2020’, Rakgare said they employed a strategy to produce content for television, and entertainment of Batswana during movement restrictions, while at the same time rewarding artists for their work. “Recording of content was done in the place of the President’s Day Competitions and the Independence Day Celebrations. The programme involved 867 artists who earned P627, 500.00 in performance fees. A similar programme was run during the festive season, as entertainment activities could not be held. Content was recorded for television, involving 806 artists who earned P2, 619,000.00 in performance fees. In each case, a different set of artists was engaged, to ensure that the meagre resources reach as many artists as possible,” he revealed.
Rakgare added that at the end of the financial year 2020/21, a total of P20, 3 million had been spent in remuneration of 12,978 artists. He said the Ministry planned and implemented a program dubbed the Cross Country Recordings Extravaganza 2021, covering both the visual and performing arts to be executed over two (2) phases. “The objective of the project is to record artists covering all the genres of the performing and visual arts across the country and remunerating them for their performances and products. The performing arts content is then broadcast on Botswana Television and Now! Channel, while artworks are exhibited or preserved for posterity,” he further disclosed.
Rakgare said Phase I of the project was carried out from June 19 to July 4, 2021 in all the districts and sub districts across the country. Through it a total of 1,844 artists and service providers covering video production, sound hire and coordinators were engaged and benefited from fees amounting to P14, 1 million. “Phase II was scheduled for July/August 2021 but has been put on hold until further notice due to the escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases. A total of 3,930 artists are targeted to take part at an estimated cost of P8, 4 million. This program will resume as soon as conditions improve and the situation permits. He said it is their wish as Government to open the creative industries sector for business as soon as it is safe to do so.