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Poets contemplante union formation

27 Feb 2024

We need to work in unison in order to have one voice that help promote, preserve and pass on our indigenous Setswana poetry. 

National Arts Council of Botswana, creative and cultural development manager, Tshireletso Modikwa said this in his remarks during the training and capacity building workshop in Setswana Poetry, which was organised by Sekhutlwana Sa Bannye radio programme in partnership with the former in Kanye recently. 

He urged those in the industry to make concerted efforts in order to maintain consistency and growth, especially with regards to establishing creative artistry amongst the youth. 

For that, he appealed to them to ensure that they worked towards the formation of a union that could advocate for them, adding that, that way, through the recognised platform, they would have their concerns heard. 

Modikwa shared that challenges such as exploitation and working in silos were some of the main challenges causing major setbacks in the industry and had made it difficult to promote poetry from the grassroots level. 

He lamented that although there were challenges surrounding the cadre, it was possible for poets to live a decent life from the proceeds they got from their performances. 

He said all that was needed was to promote the Setswana poetry. 

Modikwa appreciated that government remained committed towards reviving and uplifting the creative industry as a whole, noting that poetry had the potential opportunistic avenues if taken seriously, especially in these challenging times of high unemployment rate. 

He added that as a way of preserving poetry, poets should consider promoting it at grassroots level, as initiatives such as these which were striving to empower the youth, were crucial for the existence and preservation of poetry. 

He, therefore, commended Sekhutlwana Sa Bannye for their efforts in reaching out to the children, coach and encourage them to take part in poetry. 

Modikwa further encouraged the group to work hard at promoting the cadre, adding that they should engage with others in the industry. 

He indicated that his office and many others were open to support them, adding that government had recently introduced the Chema Chema Fund, which they could utilise to empower themselves and grow the industry. 

While sharing the objectives of the workshop, the presenter of Sekhutlwana Sa Bannye, Mr Edwin Moroka shared that poetry was essential for preserving the essence of the Setswana language and culture. 

He indicated that as the world developed, it was necessary to ensure survival of native languages through sensitising the children by utilising older poets. 

Poetry offers a powerful space to convey messages of advice, encourage leaders and also potray messages of love and kindness, hence the reason it should be preserved. 

He shared that there were other organisations besides government that were there to assist those in the industry with funds and advice. 

Moroka, therefore, encouraged the youth to take advantage of such platforms, which provided grants and loans for book publishing, especially those specialising in Setswana, in order to preserve the culture. He indicated that most poets had not documented their craft, making it susceptible to plagiarism, stressing the need to document and protect their craft. 

He indicated that poetry was categorised under the intangible cultural heritage, emphasising the importance of safeguarding their work. 

Different poets decried challenges such as exploitation, little support from government and lack of funding as a major concern, which discouraged them from performing to their full potential.

They were of the view that if they had an entity that could advocate on their behalf, they would be able to have avenues such as the cultural villages and be able to uphold the industry. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thuso Kgakatsi

Location : KANYE

Event : kgotla meeting

Date : 27 Feb 2024