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MP implores artistes to stay relevant

11 Jun 2024

Artistes have been called to introspect and devise modern ways to stay relevant and competitive in the industry.

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo said this in his keynote address at the Drama and Comedy 2024 National Arts Festival regional competitions in Kanye, where more than 25 groups took part.

He advised them to embrace innovation, explore new artistic forms, and leverage technology to reach wider audiences.

“Online platforms offer tremendous opportunities for showcasing your work, connecting with fans, and generating income. Additionally, look for international opportunities to expand your horizons and bring global perspectives to your craft,” he said.

Letsholo further encouraged artistes and Batswana in general to espouse and utilise the National Arts Council.

“This council is a vital resource dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in Botswana. By leveraging its programmes, resources, and networks, artistes can find greater opportunities for growth and development. The council is here to help you succeed, and I urge you to take full advantage of the support it offers,” he said.

He expressed his excitement about the opportunities the festival provided for young talents as it was a platform that allowed emerging artistes to showcase their skills, gain recognition, and develop their craft.

“By supporting our youth in the arts, we are investing in the future leaders and innovators of our society,” he said.

He added that Botswana had a rich cultural heritage, and events such as the festival helped to preserve and promote the nation’s unique identity, adding that through drama and comedy, traditions could be celebrated, stories be told in a bid to share the country’s heritage with the world. 

“It is through the arts that we can keep our culture alive and vibrant for future generations. As President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, has stated, ‘Our culture is our pride, our heritage, and our strength’,” he said.

Letsholo further said the competitions were perfectly aligned with Botswana’s Vision 2036, which aims to transform the nation into a knowledge-based society.“By nurturing creativity and innovation in the arts, we are contributing to a diversified economy, promoting cultural tourism, and enhancing the quality of life for all Batswana. The Vision 2036 pillar of human and social development is embodied in events like this, which foster talent, inclusivity, and cultural expression,” he said.

Letsholo indicated that government was committed to supporting the arts as reflected in the recent increase in the MYSC budget, which now stands at just over P1 billion pula.

“This significant investment underscores our dedication to empowering our youth and promoting cultural development. I am hopeful that this increased funding will enhance the support provided to our artists, allowing them to thrive and continue contributing to our nation’s cultural and economic growth,” he noted.

Letsholo shared that the National Reset Agenda called for the promotion of the value chain through various economic sectors.

He said this would not only boosts the local economy, but also create opportunities for collaboration and growth across multiple industries.

For his part, MYSC district coordinator, Moeti Godisamang reiterated that the aim of the competition was to provide a platform for performers to promote their work.

He stated that it was through such events that artistes could gain publicity and in turn be able to make a living out of it.

Godisamang further implored the public members to ensure support for artistes through engaging them in their events.

Under the Comedy category, Lelentle Makwaje from Gaborone garnered position one, while Oganeditse Sione from Tlokweng obtained position two, with Oefile Mokgware from Gabane emerging at position three out of the 14 comedians who took part in the competition. Backstage group from Selokolela snatched position one in the Drama Category, followed by Ikageng from Moshupa and Loxion Arts from Lobatse at position three. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thuso Kgakatsi

Location : MOSHUPA

Event : Interview

Date : 11 Jun 2024