The Department of Culture and Youth, in conjunction with Orange Botswana, this week held their 2007 Orange Botswerere Artists Awards to honour and award those artists who have been doing their work with utmost diligence.
Officiating at the event, which was held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC), the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Moeng Pheto, stated that Orange Botswerere Botswana Artists Awards recognized achievement for two years and beyond in the field of arts. He revealed that it is worth noting that Botswana now has a pool of artists that Batswana can be proud off. “We have Tshenolo Segokgo studying at the Conservatoire in Paris, Scar and Acid who recently won awards for 2007 Channel O Music Awards, Isaac Chibua who built a permanent sculpture in China which represents Botswana arts,” stated the Minister.
Pheto said that Botswana also had Angela Kerrison who is presently working in the Zurich Opera House. In this regard, he pointed out that corporate functions are now able to recruit quality musicians locally whereas in the past they relied exclusively on artists from abroad.
According to the Minister, Orange Botswerere Botswana Artists Awards will be held every two years to continue recognizing talent and innovation by artists in Botswana.
The awards encompassed seven categories, namely music, film and video, visual art, dance, creative writing, drama and photography. In creative writing, the award was won by Lauri Kubuitsile while in dance it was taken by Tiroeaone Mojatale. In the Drama category, Moemedi Makhurutha took position one.
There was one nominee in Film and Video, Eunice Wadikonyana. The Music category was one of the toughest but it was won by Ndingo Johwa with Puna Gabasiane taking position two. The Photography award was scoped by Kebofhe Mathe from Mmegi Monitor. Isaac Chibua, won the Visual Arts award while Gaolape Basupi of Rebina Mmogo Drama, was given the special award.
Tlhabologo Ndzinge, the Director of Tourism, said that Botswana had witnessed a rapid growth in the performing and visual arts over the last decade and this trend continues to gain momentum.
“The growth in terms of the quarterly number of active participants is quite noticeable in areas that include music, dance, painting, creative writing, film and photography,” stated Ndzinge.
She noted that the arts have developed into a sector of the economy of Botswana and are a means of how Batswana express different aspects of their culture to the world. She said it is through Orange Botswerere Botswana Artists Awards that the contributions of Botswana artists are recognized in their respective areas of the arts. “We hope the event will also serve to encourage participation by many more Batswana who show potential in the arts,” she stated.
To those who did not win, she said it did not mean that their effort was not that appreciated. She advised that recipients and non recipients of awards alike should feel challenged to improve their artistic displays this coming year and stand a chance of competing for the 2009 awards.