Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare says government has spent over P35 million to support and relieve the creative industry from COVID-19 effects this financial year.
Already, he said 16 567 artists have benefited from ministry’s COVID-19 relief fund and P16 million has spent so far.
He said this during a press conference in Gaborone on Friday. He said they had used P600 000 to sponsor the President’s Day Celebrations 2020 and P1.5 million for Botswana Independence Celebrations 2020, where some artists benefitted.
He further said the ongoing 2020 Post-Independence Day Celebrations Extravaganza had been sponsored to the tune of over a million.
“Through the art, crafts and artefacts vote, several artist throughout the country had been engaged by other ministries at the tune of over P500 000,”he said.
Minister Rakgare said over P438 000 had been used to support 20 Limkokwing University of Creative Technology scholarship beneficiaries through tuition and living allowances.
He said through funding of annual activities, MYSC grant vote of over P3.2 million had been used in activities compliant to COVID-19 protocols.
He further said P160 000 was used to sponsor the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAS 2020) where 15 artistes were crowned winners. He said through Now Channel they had just closed a tender for studio based entertainment productions at a cost of P5.2 million. Also, he said P13 million would go towards the planned festive season extravaganza, starting this month until February with 497 artistes expected to participate.
He added that the ministry would continue to support the creative industry as well as help in the fight against COVID-19 through adherence of health protocols among other things.
Currently, he said government allowed only 50 people to attend events. He said government felt that it was too risky to increase the number beyond 50 at the moment adding that the ministry would continue to engage creative industry to discuss issues pertaining to the growth of the sector.
He said despite ministry’s efforts and engagements to finds solutions, some artistes decided to engage COVID-19 Presidential Task Force claiming that ministry was refusing to offer help.
Thus, he said they were disappointed by a number of artistes who recently staged a mass rally at Old Naledi, without considering COVID-19 regulations as a number of protocols were not adhered to.
For his part, Assistant Minister Buti Billy said they had always been on their toes to help creative industry, through meetings and engagements that were undertaken nationwide.The assistant minister further said the implementation of National Arts Council would bring change in the creative industry.