In a bid to stage illuminating talks around women in the creative industry, the first edition of Women of Song workshop was held Tuesday at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).
The occasion, which is part of the Botswana Music Entertainment Week organised by the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) in partnership with Music Total Group, is meant to provide a platform where women in the creative industry can sit around the table, discuss to inspire and uplift one another. The country's creative industry, which has battled to emerge from infancy in many places, has all along been male dominated with limited opportunities for women. It has also been an industry in which women have not really been able to thrive with only a few women such as Charma Gal, Maxy Khoisan and renowned promoter, Zenzele Hirschfeld among a few have survived the harsh conditions. On its first edition, the workshop managed to pull multitudes of people, especially women. In attendance were artists such as Charma Gal, Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko, and many others.
The occasion discussed engaging topics that women come face to face with in their line of work. The discussions also looked at breaking barriers for creative women in the industry. During the discussion, Charma Gal complained about the media prying into their personal space as they cannot do anything without their families being dragged into what they have come here to do. “In this industry, we always deal with the media and we do understand their work but one thing they should know is to learn to separate some certain issues. For instance, take me as an example I am Charma Gal and I came here to Gaborone to push my music career but some people go to an extent of writing news about our children and our parents back home. And as a woman, these are the things that I would really like to be kept off the media and respect our private lives,” Charma Gal said.
Mpho Sebina also took to the stage to share her tribulations. The songstress revealed how she succumbed to depression during COVID-19 peak era. "During the pandemic, the creative industry was really affected badly and we did not get to generate any income for ourselves. Being unable to generate income was quite hard for most us and unfortunately it led me to depression," Mpho Sebina said. Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Beauty Manake who was also in attendance warned that the creative industry is not for the fainthearted. Manake said women should work twice as hard in order for them to survive the hardships and remain relevant in the industry. “I want you all ladies here to know that as we are here today advocating women in the creative industry that no one will be given anything on a silver platter just because you are a women instead women should learn to work hard, take chances of the opportunities that prevail before them and stop expecting to be given something just because they are women,” Manake said. The Women of Song is expected to make its second stint in the upcoming year in order to accord women in the creative industry the opportunity to share their testimonies and experiences on delicate issues, which would help turn their fortunes around.