Minister says he is not to blame local artists demand answers
Local promoters and performing artists are not amused. Why are they not engaged in the Botswana Electronic Music Festival billed for Gaborone on Independence Day? They are asking.
Guns blazing, they have lambasted government for allegedly splashing over P3million on South African Artists
It is alleged that the government has invited eight foreign artists to perform at a music festival billed for September 30th in Gaborone, with only two local DJs in the programme.
After a meeting of the disgruntled artists and music promoters with the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng resulted in a stand off this week, the former took to social media to fight their war.
The minister distanced himself from the decision to engage South Africans artists on his Facebook wall.
Apparently, a CapeTown based company is managing the event and the speakers are also coming from South Africa, according to reports.
In protest to being sidelined in favour of foreigners, one angry promoter photo shopped a picture of Minister Olopeng dressed like a proudly South African rapper and posted it on Facebook.
The picture, which went viral, pitted the upset Minister and his supporters in one corner, fighting against the aggrieved artists with hundreds of their supporters in another corner on Facebook.
The Minister’s Personal Secretary, Chedza Simon wrote on Wednesday night: “The fact that you are aggrieved does not give you the right to emboss the Honourable Minister’s picture and paint him as a thunder cat and an unpatriotic leader.
“That act of yours is irresponsible and immature, hence my disappointment,” Simon retorted.
Before Simon could lend his voice to the issue, the minister had on his Facebook wall distanced himself from the decision to engage South Africans and blamed Bot 50, a committee set up to manage 50th independence celebrations.
Answering his critics Olopeng posted, “I’m aware that the likes of Moxx Gaolape and his team are insulting me on Facebook.
“I was out of the country when this transaction took place. When I got back I called both parties to a meeting (my officers, BOT50 reps and music promoters reps).
“We discussed this matter and agreed on a way forward because the contract for this one was already signed as I was told. So these guys still find it fit to insult me. It’s fine; gatwe ‘kgosi thotobolo’ let them continue to insult me. My office is still open to all.”
But the unrelenting group shot back by demanding an apology, a cancellation of the contract and an explanation from BOT50.
“Bot 50 owe the entertainment industry an apology and explanation for all of this because at the end of the day it seems like they have misinformed the minister on certain issues. They are the board responsible for independence celebrations but I see a lot of greediness when I look at them. Someone at MYSC should stand up and do damage control over this issue because I see a flop of a show. Batswana really don’t know what Electronic Music Festival is and how it connects to our independence celebrations #Fact” said one angry promoter
Music Promoters Association President Zenzele Hirtschfield referred Voice inquiries to Shima Monageng a spokesperson of the delegation of artists that went to meet the minister at his office on the matter.
Monageng, however, promised to call back but his phone was unavailable thereafter.
Bot 50 Coordinator, Charity Kgotlafela also promised to call back to clarify the issues after a meeting but at time of going to press, there was no comment from her on the issue.