The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng is scaling up his offerings for the arts sector to ensure that performers are well involved in the BOT50 celebrations. At the recent consultative meeting at the Limkokwing University, the minister urged the artists to take themselves and their craft seriously. Olopeng promised to do all necessary to make sure that the gap between local and international artists is closed because local artists have always been taken for granted and paid peanuts by local promoters. He encouraged artists to unite. “The divisions are a setback to this industry which can contribute immensely to the economy of this nation,” he said.
He acknowledged that he is very aware that promoters ask for grants from them only to find out that they do not pay the local acts the money that they quoted when asking for grants. He vowed to do all in his power to make sure that artists are protected until promoters begin to act professionally, something that the artists received with applause. He said one or two international artists won’t be a problem but what he knows and has witnessed is that local artists are also able to pull a crowd the way international artists can.
One Salim Mogotsi expressed his excitement over the comments made by the minister. He said in their profession it has always been a hassle because they are asked to come and dance for peanuts. “Only few professional dancers will be invited to come and perform, and trust me we are paid little and we have hope in the minister to see these things change,” he said. Botswana’s controversial artist Berry Heart raised her concerns that when they are being assisted political divisions should not be considered as it appears to be the case. The minister and his team spent half a day talking and listening to the artists. He said they will go back and come up with solutions for the issues raised.