This week a poetry entity dubbed Black African Poets alongside other community project groups received a staggering P1.7 million from BTC Foundation. From the sponsorship amount the poetry entity received P769,186, which is a fortune for the poetry industry as it hardly ever gets funding.
With the funds Black African Poets is expected to host an annual BTC Foundation Poetry Festival. Monthly Poetry Nights will augment the Poetry festival throughout the country.
“We are very delighted and fortunate to be awarded this opportunity. Applying for funding is not an easy task as our visions and objectives are rarely in line with organisations we seek funding from. We vow to adhere to the terms and conditions of the MoU signed today,” a delighted deputy chairperson of Black African Poets Rasina Rasina said during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
He further stated that the poetry festival would have a winner that will be awarded a recording deal to package their poetry, marketing funds, distribution deal and management from a company that they are already in talks with.
“The whole idea is to promote local poetry thoroughly. The poetry project is open to people of all tribes in Botswana as it is not limited. We will work closely with BTC Foundation to develop and grow poets in different communities across the country,” Rasina added.
The dates of when this project will kick-start are yet to be announced. Prior being presented with the cheque, Black African Poets signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BTC Foundation. Botswana has previously produced generations of poets such as Moroka Moreri, TJ Dema, Tshireletso Motlogelwa, Mandisa Mabutho, Mmakgosi Tau, Gomolemo Motsamai and Edwin Moroka to mention but a few. It is only a few in the country that have managed to survive through poetry as their profession and sell the craft to international markets.
Through Black African Poets and BTC Foundation’s collaboration one will hope that this initiative will open a lot of doors for poets across the country and develop the art into a sustainable career.
“We as the Foundation want to change lives and we cannot do that without the support of and collaboration with like-minded organisations and partners. I therefore, want to take this opportunity to thank our partners for coming on board and joining us on this journey as we strive to positively impact our communities,” BTC Foundation chairperson Kgosi Michael Letsogile Mothobi said during the official signing of the MoU between the BTC Foundation and its partners.
The other partners that signed the MoU with BTC Foundation are Moshana Development Trust, Y Care Charitable Trust and University of Botswana.
The BTC Foundation, which was founded in 2014, is responsible for the delivery and management of BTC’s Corporate Social Investment agenda, through investments in impactful and sustainable initiatives that benefit communities across Botswana.