So the Second Annual Botswana Amateur Arts Festival took place this past weekend at Maitisong with two sessions in place, the morning session and the evening session. Those who were present would definitely agree with me that this event was one not to be missed as it proved to showcase raw talent that most people here in Botswana do not appreciate. An awesome lineup of great performances was put in place and boy oh boy did people get entertained.

I took my pen and paper to the very youthful founder, director and organizer of this beautiful event, Kabelo Rapinyana, and got the run down on what exactly went down this weekend and of course the great initiative behind this. Take a read…

First thing is first, what inspired this idea of an annual arts festival?
I’ve been doing theatre for some time now and I wanted to create a platform for people to learn and express themselves through theatre and again to add on to the lacking theatre industry in Botswana,

How has been the response from the youth, are we interested in taking part?
Youth are interested, the thing is theatre requires a lot of work and most people who enter this industry die out. Those who have the strength and continue with their passion end up achieving big things and these can bring great rewards.

Would you say art is something that is appreciated in Botswana?
Not necessarily, the thing with theatre and performing arts is that they are not passive things. These are not stuff that you set up and hope they’ll grow on their own. Art is an engaging thing that requires people to take part and give it their all. You cannot appreciate something if it’s not worked on.

Could one make a living from performing arts in our country?
At this present moment you cannot rely on them to put bread on the table for the whole year. However, if we work hard and put an intensive effort to this, then and only then can people rely on arts as a full time job that can sustain one’s life.

What would one benefit from joining you guys?
Skills, confidence and created opportunities are one of the many things that you can gain form joining us. We have workshops that people are taught directing skills, script writing, acting, money management skills and more. People from Barclays Bank Botswana were kind enough to help with the money management skills.

What are some of the challenges that you face as an organizer of such an event?
Oh gosh they are a lot of challenges that we face, from funding to finding participants to commitment of the participants and all. This can be a very trying industry but I work hard to make sure that all these obstacles do not stop me. Though response from sponsors is the biggest challenge that we face, there are some who are very responsive, like I mentioned earlier, Barclays Bank, Maitisong and Botswana Society of the Arts have been of great help to us. Another challenge is convincing people to venture into arts not as a hobby but rather as a profession and again the fact that we do not have a well-structured arts industry in Botswana is not helping either.

Now about the recently held festival, how do you feel about the turn up?
The turn up was amazing, it was better than last years. I guess it’s because of the increased advertising and again my appearance on the youth affair show on Yarona fm might have helped as well. We actually managed to fill more than half of Maitisong which I feel is pretty awesome.

Any last words to those who are interested in arts but are afraid of the unknown?
Take a leap forward, you may never know what the future holds for you. I was actually impressed by the participants, they put on an absolutely amazing show. Participants were from Maruapula, Arts of the Soul and LAAB (Literary Arts Association of Botswana). Much thanks to the photographer, Thabiso, Thido the designer, the organizers Mandisa, Lebo and Kalvin and of course the judges and the workshop coordinators.


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