The notion that music can be a path out of poverty is a tried and tested one, many world renowned artists have that ‘from rags to riches story’ that not only inspire but are a living testimony that music can be used to overcome life’s misfortunes.
A Gaborone West unemployed young motswana has taken it upon himself to help himself and other young unemployed Batswana by starting Botswana Youth Music Hub.
Botswana Youth Music Hub according to Tony Petros- its founder, is a project that is geared at taking unemployed young people off the streets by offering them free music recording deals and gig connections. With just a few knots to tie, Petros says the program will be fully registered and functional and will be rolled out to major towns and villages nationwide.
So far according to Petros the hub has taken 20 local previously unrecorded young artists and compiled a 12 track music album with them which will be released soon. This artists he says are from different musical genres and had either collaborated with each other or perfomed solo in the album. Some of the names to watch out from the musical production according to Petros includes Agilante, a soul R n B and house artist, BLK Motako, a hip hop artist, WeHe a contemporary Gospel and the multi-talented Terence Kgwarae who made his maiden appearance in the music industry through local music talent program My Star but later disappeared from the scene. Terence is a vocalist and a rapper.
Through the Music hub, the artists will then be assisted to survive in the already competitive local music scene, this will be through securing bookings, effective albums sales, marketing and portfolio development. In return they will be expected to pay a certain amount from their earnings to keep the organisation afloat. Membership to the music hub is according to Petros open to all young people aged between 18 and 35 years, who seriously want to break into the music industry and could not make it on their own.
The project according to Petros is his brainchild, grappled by unemployment and lack of income, Petros an active member of the Gaborone District Youth Committee took it upon himself to mobilise the untapped talent that was so adverse in Gaborone West Location where he currently resides. “Because music is as some say, a universal language, I reckon it will even enable these unemployed young people to compete globally hence widening their chances,” he said.
With financial assistance from Botswana National Youth Council, he identified young people he worked with to produce the hub’s first musical compilation which they will use to test the waters.
Going forward Petros says they should be able to put together their own recording studio, which will in turn facilitate in increasing the number of young artists to be signed up.
However the project is not without challenges, eve though an album was compiled and recorded, Petros and his team are faced with the mammoth task of launching it owing to lack of funds. The young artists are also without promoters and managers. Despite this, Petros says the general public has started showing interest in the project. “Some local music producers, graphic designers and video makers have pledged their support so far,” he said. With enough resources Petros says the initiative will strive to change the local music scene by affording local artist the chance to compete and execute sustainable projects.