A group of Batswana artists will produce and release a theme song for Botswana’s 50th independence anniversary in 2016. This comes after the government, through the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture was involved in a war of words with promoters over the awarding of a controversial electronic music festival to a South African company as part of the 49th independence anniversary celebrations.
In parliament Friday, the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng said, “Each and every one of us is part of this historic moment. We should be proud of this event and feel the mood and the hype of the occasion. Local artists are not an exception and will participate in the release of a theme song for the 50 years of independence anniversary,” he reassured parliament.
Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa moved a motion during the Minister’s question time seeking to find out if local artists would have a part in the celebrations, considering they were sidelined during the 49th anniversary. In response, Olopeng dismissed reports that local artists were pushed to the periphery during the festival, insisting that local artists did not have the experience to host an event of such a magnitude.
“I asked the local promoters, their artists during the build up to the occasion and none of them acknowledged ever hosting such a festival of such a magnitude. We therefore settled for foreign artists given their expertise and knowledge of events of such a magnitude.”
Asked why he allowed the show to go ahead when he knew that locals would not be part of the festival, Olopeng maintained that Botswana as a growing economy could not afford to be left behind.
“We are living in a world of technology and sophistication and therefore we cannot allow ourselves to be left behind as the whole world is moving forward,” he argued responding to a supplementary question from Mogoditshane MP Sedirwa Kgoroba.
Olopeng is adamant that the 50th independence anniversary celebrations will be a success.