Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) hosted its 9th music awards at the weekend with new categories. But it was the dominance of artist of the moment ATI who scooped six awards from all the categories that he was nominated in that capped the night. Assistant Minister of Health Phillip Makgalemele – the patron of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) – emphasized the power that arts and music have in the local economy. He said music brings unity of people, offer peace and tranquility as well. “The music stars deserve to shine and appreciation of their craft needs to be shown because they help us relax and deal with different situations that we might face,” he said. Makgalemele said as government they are committed to the development of the arts, and that can be proven through the many initiatives that they have that supports the arts. He said the responsible minister – Thapelo Olopeng – is working around the clock with his team to make sure that the local music industry is taken seriously and is always looking at ways to make it better. Policy Specialist Dineo Phuti said it has not been an easy nine years but they are happy of all the support that they got over the years and they know that the organisation will only get better and improve the lives of those artists. She encouraged artists to make sure that they utilise all platforms that they are given to make sure that they become the best at whatever that they do. “It is up to you guys to make the environment even suitable for yourselves, the government can only take you half way but not all the way, so work needs to come from your side,” she said. BOMU President Pagson Ntsie said they have realised the need for collaboration, and that is why they brought teams from neighbouring countries to be part of the awards. He said they can only grow from those affiliations and know that many local artists deserve to go beyond borders with their talent. Local artist Charma Girl commended ATI “This is his moment to shine and I have no qualms about each and every award that he won. He deserves them all; he has worked so hard and that has shown in the music that he made,” she said.