Lift the ban on music festivals

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 22 July 2020   |   By Ricardo Kanono
KAST performing at Tlatsa Lebala KAST performing at Tlatsa Lebala

Tumiso Rakgare as minister responsible for Arts, Recreation and Culture,  I am pleading with you to lift the ban on music festivals. Those in the music industry will work on modalities to ensure that Health protocols are observed. Artistes among them LaTimmy and ATI are crying out loud and many others are in anguish and trauma. Ba lela selelo sa khuranyo ya meno sa ga Ragele! I bet Fish Pabalinga is also disappointed in your reluctance to lift the ban and the reasons are obvious! It is a pity that their jeremiads have fallen on deaf ears.

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Music festivals are the major source of revenue for artistes, since the sales from CD's, cassettes, DVD's have taken a nosedive due to piracy and advent of technology. As if that is not enough, our local radio stations and television rarely pay artistes royalties.

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Post lock-down, Peggy Serame has opened all liquor outlets, Anna Mokgethi has unlocked churches, mosques, shrines etc., Thulaganyo Segokgo has saved transport industry from collapse, and Fidelis Molao has greenlighted all schools including privately owned while Douglas Letsholathebe decided to jump the bandwagon with tertiary institutions. Mpho Balopi followed suit with brigades and vocational centres- go setse wena fela sir? Why are you singing from a different hymn book whereas your colleagues have composed such a harmonious, sonorous and rhythmic melody?

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E bile re le badiragatsi, ga o re eme ka lefoko segolo- for Christ's sake! Ga o re buelele ko pusong, mme o le monana jaaka rona e bile o itse dikgwetho tsa rona botoka- Re iphimola dikeledi ka bodiragatsi ka re aparetswe ke leroborobo la tlhoko-tiro! Our lives are on your hands and I can vividly recall that immediately after your appointment, some sections of youth populace portrayed you as their messiah since for time immemorial they have been victims of economic exclusion. Being the first young person to rise to upper echelons of power in that ministry offered a ray of hope for us and the future seemed not so gloom as it was. As I am not a pessimist, I will give you a benefit of doubt since there is an opportunity for your cogitation and rumination.

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Music industry employs on full time and part time basis multitudes of young people. And one great thing is that you do not necessarily have to go to school to be a world class artiste. The formula is simply to monetize one’s talent and earn a decent living. Imagine how many people are affiliated to big bands like Franco and Afro Musica - producers, songwriters, music promoters, dancers, guitarists, vocalists, bouncers, bodyguards, videographers, photographers, choreographers, costume designers, record labels etc.....ke sa lebale bo mmamochachos. Our vendors who are single mothers struggling to make ends meet. Music festivals bring them business! Niteries are slowly turning into white elephants because they are heavily depended on music festivals. There are many guys in Mogoditshane (your constituency-) who design handmade banners for artistes, and they are affected as well because there are no music festivals.

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What adds insult to injury is that social safety nets like Ipelegeng where many young people sought solace has been suspended. Eric Molale and his handlers are brutal and inconsiderate! Recently self-employed photographers in Francistown who are young people were arrested by the police and mall landlords demanded staggering amount for rental fees and disappointingly you never bothered to comment as minister responsible for youth? At least solidarity message! Ao Chilaeza?

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We are well endowed with talent as youth. Have you been on social media recently? Take time and appreciate our comedians! Maatla Ephraim Basha, Dona BW, Oska Bora BW, and so forth? They need capital to propel their talent to greater heights and be on a par with the likes of Trevor Noah. We can always perfect our aptitude and reach international audience! Even though Rome was not built on a day, Romans were busy laying bricks every hour!

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My minister, the route taken by the president to deal with unemployment by creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and luring investors is far-fetched and implausible. It is now crystal clear that the government is on a mission to shirk from its obligation.

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We are only day-dreaming as a nation when we believe that 4IR and knowledge based economy will be a panpharmacon to unemployment which according to official statistics has reached endemic proportions. Invest in performing arts, film industry, establish sports academies and you will never go wrong! I tried film industry, but funding is a stumbling block. My painstaking efforts in designing Apps to solve some socio-economic problems besieging our nation proved futile as potential investors seem uninterested.

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Where is the Arts Council and Film Commission that your predecessor, Thapelo Olopeng boasted about? Are there any end results to the annual Film festival? Why can't you listen to the progressive mind of Thapelo Letsholo, who opined that allocating P100 million annually to BTV for it to purchase local content can enable government to indirectly create jobs?

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If possible, explore the sex industry by relaxing some draconian laws especially in the penal code. Strippers, porn-stars, sex workers especially in first world counties are raking thousands of pounds and dollars monthly. Golesedi Taylor knows the potential that this industry has more than anyone else!

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Chilaeza, you can convince parliament to repeal all pieces of legislation banning pornography. Pornhub in the United States is worth billions dollars. Get rid of all pieces of legislation prohibiting sex work. Sex industry is vast and has the potential to create many jobs. Think of sex magazines, sex shops, peep shows, pre-paid sex movies, strip clubs, brothels etc. There will be objections I know, but every industry including mining, tourism etc. has its pros and cons! Our preparedness as a nation to confront threats posed by sex industry will inadvertently bear excellent results.

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Performing arts, Sports commercialization and Sex industry is one model you can implement as panacea to unemployment! Get rid of exploitative GVS, Internship and Tirelo Sechaba. Review YDF and other programmes tailor made for the youth!

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If you do not deal with unemployment as a matter of urgency- even minister responsible- Mpho Balopi in the silence of his conscious knows the repercussions of failure to address this catastrophe. Rise in crime rate, increase in poverty levels, family tensions and breakdown, shame and stigma, loss of tax revenue, increase in government expenditure, increased indebtedness, loss of human capital, political unrest, decline in GDP etc. I need not to explain further, because Minister Thapelo Matsheka as a renowned economist is cognizant of the aftermath of unemployment. Peter Magosi will inform you that an idle educated mind is a national security threat and he can deliberate in depth on that one more than I. Many terrorist organizations like Boko Haram and Al Queda took advantage of unemployed educated youth- especially those with expertise in IT- and as it is public knowledge, political instability became rampant in many countries.

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In conclusion my minister, it is evident that unemployment is a calamity with a plethora of socio-economic ramifications and we do not need any rocket scientist for elucidation. Unemployment is akin to a time ticking bomb and as a country devoid of proactive leadership we are not ready to handle its dire consequences.

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Heed my plea Chilaeza, and if you do lift the ban- I am inviting you to Soul Fill Up with Franco. FYI, I am a Rhumba zealot and you will enjoy the mesmerizing melodies of Rhumba music with scintillating dance moves!

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My sincere apologies my honorable minister (my bad), I forgot without any intention to greet you! Dumela Tona! Ke dumela fa o tsogile mme rona kwano ga re a tsoga! Re itshwere mahuma ka thobaelo! Le pelo tsa rona di gamuketse ka bohutsana! Ke matlhotlha-pelo!

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Your beloved comrade wallowing in the trenches of poverty!

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Jason Ranthatsa of Tonota!



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