The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare has confirmed that the Botswana National Arts Council will be established in three months.
The youthful Minister, also known as Chilliboy, announced this when officially opening the two-day Botswana International Music Conference (BIMC) hosted in Gaborone last week.
The National Arts Council was one of Rakgare’s promises when he assumed the Ministry’s top position back in November 2019.
“After countrywide engagements with music bodies, I am pleased to inform you that we are almost done with the structures and establishment of the Arts Council. In fact, I can announce that the arts council will be fully functional by July. The importance of the council is for it to address concerns of the creative industry as my office is often inundated with concerns and ideas from the creative industry,” he said.
The Minister further addressed and made fun of some prominent artists who had called for his sacking.
A group unsuccessfully ran a ‘Rakgare must resign’ campaign to get the former Yarona FM presenter sacked from his Ministerial position.
Some artists went further to hold a rally in Old Naledi in protest of the Minister whom they blamed for the closure of the entertainment industry.
“I will tell you this here and now, if I do not fulfill the promise of the arts council by July, I will personally join those who have been campaigning to have me step down from the Ministry. This time around we will not hold the rally in Old Naledi rather we will go to Mogoditshane (his constituency) so that I both step down as Minister and area MP,” he declared.
Rakgare further stressed he ‘is not blind’ to the devastating effects that Covid-19 regulations have had on the industry.
However, he advised entertainers to find alternative ways of making a living whilst the country grapples with the pandemic.
“We are all aware of the negative impact Covid-19 has had on our industry. Our industry in Botswana relies heavily on live music. It is upon all of us to find ways of doing things differently under the new normal. I want to see musicians make money with their talent,” maintained Rakgare.
The BIMC, which is the brainchild of veteran music promoter, Seabelo, took place last week and invited popular names such as DJ Tira, DJ Fresh, Vee, Tonderai Tsara, Yarona FM station manager Kelly Ramputswa, and newly appointed MYSC Policy specialist Gao Lemmenyane to speak at the conference.
Topics covered include: using copyright as collateral, the evolution of the recording industry to name but two.