17 January 2016

Botswana: Ntema Appreciates Germany Experience

Maun — A local author, poet and businessman Onalethuso Ntema aka Mambo is indebted for his participation in The Market of the Peoples which was held in Hamburg, Germany, last year November.

In an interview, Ntema, who was representing his business African Arts & Crafts, says The Market of the Peoples is a showcase for artists and craftspeople from all over the world.

Ntema, who was representing Botswana and Southern Africa, said his German experience was delightful and appreciated the historic cultural experience and Markt für Völker (The Market of the Peoples) event.

"I am happy for the art I have seen, expressed and shared with the people in Hamburg, Germany, and the African children I saw in masses in some places," he said.

He said his business, African Arts & Crafts was well represented although his luggage was delayed at Frankfurt for an entire week.

Participants who were from Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Asia showcased their diverse specialties.

Ntema said The Market of the Peoples is the largest and most colourful of the three annual markets in the museum.

"Since 2008, each Market of the Peoples has had its own focus.

This focus determines the selection of exhibitors and the organisation of the cultural programme. In 2008, the topic was India, in 2009 it was the Indians of North America, in 2010 the topic was Latin America, in 2011 the topic was the Orient while in 2015, it was 'Africa's Cultural Diversity," he said.

Ntema observed that the market was a platform for many different traditional crafts that were being threatened or disappearing as a result of modernisation and a forum for new trends in the field of these crafts.

Furthermore, Ntema said the Museum für Völkerkunde provided an opportunity for visitors to experience exciting changes directly since the world of handmade crafts is changing constantly.

"In the Market of the Peoples, manufacturing techniques are put on display in live performances, through film and other media," he said.

The market, he said, was a way that the museum directly supported different craftspeople since exhibitors were selected according to the quality of their goods.

He said The Market of the Peoples was a diverse cultural programme with musicians, singers and folklore groups' performances; make-up, crafts, painting and story-telling workshops.

However, Ntema said securing funds to honour the trip was not a smooth road. "It had been a hectic six month for the requests of funding and fundraising initiatives since receiving the letter of invitation from the Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Ethnology) to attend the Markt der Völker (Market of Peoples) event slated for November 11-15, 2015 in Hamburg, Germany."

He said he required funds for travel, visa fees, accommodation and related logistics amounted to about P84 000.

Ntema said government institutions, organisations in art and culture, tourism and business community in Maun and Kasane were approached, but took long to respond due to bureaucracy.

"After six months of tireless funds mobilisation strategies, I finally received a quarter of the budget from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture on the 6th October 2015," he said.

Furthermore, Ntema said Botswana Tourism Organisation pledged to pay courier fees for the books and artworks from Kasane to Hamburg while some contributions were from Maun and Kasane residents and businesses.

He said the total monies and in-kind pledges collected amounted to P40 541.20, which was 48 per cent less of the estimated P84 286.72. "The funds were limited but was able to prioritise and honoured the invitation," he said.

Ntema said the event represented Africa's cultural diversity with more than 87 exhibitors from across the globe, and over 2 000 visitors daily for the duration of the festival.

Ntema feels a lot has to be explored locally to make art more beneficial to the artists instead of art perceived as a recreational service.

He therefore said the government and the general arts industry should strive to make art more rewarding instead of short term initiatives such as competition art platforms.

"Little is done to empower the arts tourism due to lack of strategic legislative means and approaches despite Botswana's cultural richness and artistic diversity," he said.

Ntema said art was a social business therefore necessary to create a pathway for alternative tourism through art.

Source : BOPA

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