Since 2008, when the Botswana government instructed its ministries, Departments and parastatal bodies to support local artists by purchasing their artworks, individuals, and organizations have spent a total of P667 780 on the purchase of art works from local artists, this from the minister responsible for culture.
The Botswana government has extended its support to creative artists through its Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, which has been working with artist communities, like the Thapong visual arts centre, to promote and improve the standard of creative art in the country.
Monday the 16th of September marked the official opening of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s creative artist workshop seminar, at the national museum.
The two week long workshop is to be held in Kanye until the 28th of November. The seminar is in line with the culture, information and sport SADC Protocol Article 15. It encourages member states to organize arts and cultural festivals with the aim of promoting regional integration.
The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, was the guest of honour.
“The workshop will help promote both cultural diversity and visibility of the fine arts. The support, promotion and development of the fine arts by the Botswana government, is considered a priority,” said Kgathi.
Thapong Visual artists, the hosts of the workshop, were there to represent local creative artists and are expected to take part in the two-week seminar.
The coordinator and organizer of the event, Reginald Bakwena, said that the creative workshop used to be prevalent within countries in southern Africa, such as in Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia and Namibia but it has now spread to different parts of Africa.
The training camp, which reportedly has a tight schedule, has also received visiting artists from countries such as Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles, South-africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
“It is my sincere hope that the SADC creative artist workshop will result in fruitful discussions, networking opportunities and formulation of structures, which are dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art. It is my firm belief that through this workshop you will share experiences, knowledge and skill with a view to improving the quality and standards of your artworks to make art visible in the SADC region and internationally,” said Kgathi.
The minister also encouraged attending artists to take advantage of the upcoming 2010 World Cup by producing quality works that they would be able to sell to the expected visitors.
“May I call upon the private sector, business community, and individuals to come on board and partner with government to support our artists. Government alone cannot meet the financial obligations and challenges that artists face but with the involvement of the private sector, a lot can be achieved,” said Kgathi.