Saturday, March 2, 2024

Why Ms. Heart needs a strong ticker

Botswana’s Ambassador for United Nations Creative Arts Advisory Council (UNCAAC) Ms. Heart has to be to the manner born, because it will take a strong ticker to accomplish her ambitious project of making local music gender sensitive.
For an industry dominated by youngsters whose music genre is poised between anger and bloodlust, refers to women as witches with a b, and glorifies violence through lyrics that are vile enough to give lesser mortals a heart attack, Berry Heart’s task is akin to turning water into wine. Well, maybe not turning water into wine, but it is certainly not a walk in the park. She will have to cut through all the vile noise that passes for music to have her voice heard. Not disheartened, Berry Heart has already set the ball in motionfor her annual project of the 16 days of activism against violence on women and children. The project aims at raising funds and sensitizing the nation against gender based violence and other debilitating issues in women and children’s lives, mainly through poetry and music. The activity features UNCAAC performing artists whose poetry, music and dance are themed around gender-based violence issues and how these issues could be addressed. These are Berry Heart, Woba Kele, Linzy Bacbotte from Mauritius, Bose from Mozambique, and Albert Nyati from Zimbabwe. Local, poets include TJ Dema, Mandisa Mabothoe, Ntirelang Berman and Kabo Leburu. Besides being a gender based violence campaign, it is a cultural exchange that will be one of its kind in Botswana where in four days artists will try to make a difference in English, French, Portuguese, Creole, Tswana, Shekgalagari, Chichewa, Nyanja, Swahili, Sekalaka, Shona and Xhosa.
Dubbed Unite, together we can Campaign, the project’s first step was taken the past weekend when she partook in an event called AIDS Swagga at Gantsi. She gave a keynote address and recited a poem. The day before there was affirmative action where ladies from neighbouring settlements competed in beauty pageant. The next step will be an artists’ workshop scheduled for 24th October in Gaborone.
The main celebration is scheduled to take place on the 31st October 2013, a concert involving international artists to be named at a later date.
Berry Heart stated that her project targets 50 artists through workshops to alert them to their power to make a change by dedicating at least one song in their album every year for sensitizing Gender Based Violence (GBV).
“It also targets the media through our media appreciation (30 media representatives) night where we call on all journalists who help recording artists in sensitising GBV. We might give some presents to journalists in appreciation of the type of articles they wrote on the subject. They have shown support in our endeavours and deserve appreciation,” said Heart.
The campaign, she said further plans to have an artists’ sponsored walk where artists spread the message in banners in Gaborone.
She is optimistic that Artists are followed public figures that attract a number of supporters in every open and well advertised event they perform. Thus, in general she and her colleagues hope the campaign will reach 600 000 people that will be reached through radio, newspaper articles, BTV, posters and banners.
She said she had been actively involved in gender agenda and has realized that where children are involved, a gap exists. She gave an example of involvement of donors in organizations like SOS (just example). Donors have good heart to help, but are not involved enough to know and cater for needs of individual children at such institutions.
“When donors donate materials like furniture money, they do not necessarily take into consideration the needs of individual children there. Those children come from various backgrounds and thus have different needs that require close involvement with them to cater for such needs,” she said.
She said her project’s objectives are, “To utilize art as window between abused women and children and the world, sensitize gender-based violence and exercise our social responsibility as artists so we dedicate our annual activities to the victims of violence and to build strength that art can reach the masses in certain social ills.”
Unite, together we can Campaign, raised funds on 27th October2012 for Springboard Humanism and The African Women’s Leadership Academy (TAWLA) through sales of the album, Children of Mawa. TAWLA is one of the NGOs in Botswana that mentor and support the girl child. She worked with Women’s Affairs Department and the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs in the first annual Pitso of the 16 days. As a poet she compiled poetry pieces especially based on the themes of the 16 days. The current project is estimated at P200, 000 and only a fraction of it has already been raised.


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