Gaborone — Government is committed to supporting the development of arts despite many competing needs.
Officiating at the 9th annual Botswana Music Union (BOMU) awards ceremony, Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Dikgang Makgalemele said even in these difficult economic times, the arts must contribute to employment creation and growth of the economy.
"Artists must therefore work hard to increase their revenue streams by registering their work with the Copyright Society of Botswana so that their royalties can be collected both locally and in the global market," he said.
He said he was aware of the challenges that the music industry was faced with such as piracy and a lack of robust regulatory framework for the arts.
"I have been however assured that the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng is working round the clock to improve the legislative environment for the arts.
He will obviously have our support as legislators," he continued.
Makgalemele said government, BOMU, Botswana Police Services, Companies and Intellectual Property Authority and other stakeholders must join hands and work towards combating piracy.
He further said BOMU had demonstrated maturity and growth as an organisation and a brand over the last couple of years.
"Keep up the good work and continue advocating for the improvement of the music industry, the arts and welfare of artists," he said.
He noted that it was important for Botswana to develop the industry and its clusters holistically, ensuring that every cluster was robust and resilient enough to deliver a world class product.
"Let us see those synergies between music promoters, managers, producers, artists, recording studios, radio and television stations, regulators and marketing companies developing their products to support the music industry and its growth," he said.
He went on to say that these clusters by themselves had the potential once developed to create more employment for people, especially the youth.
He called on the music industry to engage in health and wellness initiatives by combining music performances with health programmes.
"Let us have those blood donation drives, health screenings and testing during festivals that you organise.
As role models you have the responsibility to not only lead healthy lifestyles, but you also need to portray what you preach through your music," he said.
Makgalemele said the BOMU music awards were an important event in the Botswana awards calendar and the local arts scene in general.
"Music is an art form that spans a range of human activities, from entertainment to religious and social rites, political activism and lobbying, education and commercial interests.
It transcends the boundaries of language, nationality and ethnicity acting as a vehicle for social memory.
Music is both an instrument of change and a symbol of tradition," he said.
He went on to say that today as we encounter modern challenges, it is only fitting that music becomes the rallying motivation, calling us into action, be it against poverty, unemployment, disease control or to promote peace and tranquility.
On the night, Hip-Hop artist A.T.I was the biggest winner as he scooped six awards.
The young talented lad walked away with Best Hip Hop/Motswako Artist, Best Single, Best Collaboration, Best Male Artist, Best Song of the Year and Best Single Track.
Charma Gal along with Skavenja and Matsosangwao each got two awards. The Mmokolodi singer won Best Female Artist and Best Mosakaso. Skavenja took home Best Afro Pop and Best Packaged Album while Matsosangwao won Best DVD and Best Traditional Music. BOPA
Source : BOPA