The fallout between BOT50 and Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) reached new heights this week with the association demanding an apology. This is the statement that rattled them. BOT50 Coordinator Charity Kgotlafela’s statement: “We are aware of promoters and we have received concerns from promoters as much as we have received concerns tsa di artists themselves complaining that the promoters ga ba ba duele mme ba neetswe madi. On the other hand promoters ka ha ba batla gore the activities tsa di build up tsa BOT5O re bo re duela le bone, and we are saying let them go and organise themselves first like the minister was saying and because of this challenge ya di artists gore a bo ba sa duelwe sentle we need to strike the balance”. BEPA President Zenzele Hirschfield fires back: “Who developed this industry, who built this industry?”
In appropriating credit, BEPA heavyweights addressed a press conference this week and demanded an apology from Kgotlafela for tarnishing them and their business. Hirschfield said it saddens them that it can be said that they do not pay local artists, saying that is something that she will not forget. She said veterans in the industry have worked hard to make sure that local artists take part and are taken care of. She added that they are so disappointed to see a government body bringing surprising events on pick days when they as promoters have planned their events a year in advance. She said there is no how they can compete with the government budget since they take money from their own pockets to make shows. Hirschfield said they are very unhappy because the same people that preach professionalism everyday fail on corporate governance. “We would like BOT50 to be transparent in their dealings and to be consistent in their decision making and stop with immediate effect to divide this industry,” she said.
Massie Hule said their problem dates as far back as four years, but it was last year that their troubles started with BOT50. He said having been part of BOT50 initially almost every stakeholder in the arts sector was part of the committee, but things went wrong last year with the Electronic Music Festival because it did not benefit Batswana anyhow since the company doing it was from Cape Town. He said the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng always talks about divisions and a lot of associations but that surprises them because they do not have any divisions among themselves. “We are a family. Artists and promoters are a family. When we have issues we settle them amongst ourselves,” he said. Bofelo Segotso said artists are very fragile and they don’t want to destroy them as promoters even though they also have cases where artists sometimes get paid and not honour the show. He said that it is a shame that some artists (referred to as three notorious artists) who are part of the BOT50 crew are sleeping with the enemy. He warned that there is going to be a big mess after this year, and someone will have to clean that up, wondering who that will be. BEPA said they will not boycott the celebrations but will seek legal advice on the matter.