Botswana’s aspiring actors, musicians and other artists will finally have their TV moments when government launches BTV2 which will be dedicated to entertainment.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, told a hall packed with artists from Francistown and surrounding areas that some of their challenges will come to a close next month when the ministry tests the second national television channel in the country named Botswana Television 2 (BTV2). Olopeng said this at the Francistown Civic Center when addressing artists on the challenges and privileges they encounter in the entertainment industry. He said his ministry has been adversely affected by the country’s ailing economy and they have discovered that they can no longer give grants willy nilly .
“Probably next month we will be starting to test our channel. This channel is specifically for the ministry of youth, sports and culture but the entertainment industry will play a major role in it. Because we realize the talent you have; the talent our young ones have in this country, we were saddened when we realized that we don’t have enough channels to expose their talent. We have good actors and actresses in the country, we have good musicians, and we have good visual artists, so we would like this channel to specifically endorse those talents,” he said.
The minister said government could not employ every graduate no matter how many initiatives it comes up with. He implored the private sector to come on board and help create employment.“The entertainment industry in this country can contribute to helping in creating jobs in Botswana. One artist needs a staff crew to help them succeed and that alone helps create employment, the minimum amount of people an artist can employ is ten; dancers, keyboard players, graphic designers and more technical staff. The problem that we have right now is that we are operating from an open and very naked environment,” he said.
Olopeng said when he got into office he proposed many initiatives to government but he was not successful in a lot of them because the government has stopped the formation of parastatals at the moment because of economic challenges. He said after they realized that the economy was not doing well, the ministry thought of ways to generate money.
“You will learn that we can easily make 20million a year. Apart from the arts and culture, the second channel of BTV, which has been in the pipeline for a couple of years now can harness the talent we have in Botswana,” he said.
Olopeng said it was important for people to know the value of having a second television specifically this one which is solely endorsed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Cultures because when one talks about a good film industry they talk about talents that can be sold in the region, continentally and internationally. “We also have grants, unfortunately those grants are very minimal. We would love to pick all of you but it’s not possible so I beg you to develop your businesses and formalize your talent, so that you give us the opportunity to use the little grants we have to take care of the up-coming young ones. Some of you have been around for 10 plus years. And annually the same people, same companies, come to us for grants and support, so I worry that we will get stuck with the same people every year, mind you a grant is money you don’t return,” he said.