Arts body grooms young artists

SHARE   |   Sunday, 21 June 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
ABOPSA talent on stage ABOPSA talent on stage

Formed by the Ministry of Education, Skills and Development to take over performing arts from Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) in 2013, the Association of Botswana Schools and Performing Arts (ABOSPA) still strives to develop and market artist from primary school to tertiary. The Secretary General of ABOSPA Michael Mosipidi said it is their vision to  become the best world class association in developing and creating a brighter future for all performing arts aspirants. He said they value transparency, team work, quality, resourcefulness and trust just as part of their values. He said so far they advice the ministry on issues concerning performing arts, demand quality and also market products of performing arts in education around the world, and represent the rights of artists in education. He said that they focus in three main activities which are the theatre arts, music arts, dance arts where on their annual calendar they have major activities like ABOSPA annual drama, music and dance competitions and musical concerts,  festivals across the country, performing arts training camps and cross boarder skills development tours.
He said they an arts council in their national executive committee which is composed of national and regional coordinators in order to enhance the participation of Botswana schools in performing arts. He said they sometimes raise funds through the activities that they organise, and through annual membership fees or in form of donation and grants. He said that during music competitions they have categories where groups perform in vernacular, English, and marabi. In theatre they have competitions in Setswana play or English play, poetry and comedy while in dance they have a traditional dance group and contemporary dance. He said performing arts in schools is a very important tool which can be used to highlight issues affecting the youth. He gave an example of drama which he said though infused in primary school curriculum, it is not infused in secondary school curriculum, and that there is low level of the use of theatre technology. “Sporting activities are always given more priority than drama activities and drama in school has been treated more as a language development tool but not as a tool that is used for personal development and community mobilisation,” he added.
Mosipidi said there is serious shortage of theatre halls, and only few traditional dances are included which has compromised the growth of other dances. He said one of the weaknesses is that there is no office within the ministry that deals directly with performing arts activities and also performing arts are not yet viewed as a sustainable economic strategy. ABOSPA recently held drama, music and dance national festivals in Mahalapye where schools participated in drama, choral music and traditional dance. He said right now they are looking up to the zonal music concerts in August which will focus on marabi, poetry, speech, comedy, ball room contemporary dance, music, band and marimba.

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