In an effort to make youth themed television channel a household name, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development partnered with Yarona fm to boost Now channel`s status as a regional and global television brand.
Giving a keynote address recently at the 6th annual Yarona fm music awards (YAMA), Minister of youth Tumiso Rakgare explained that the ministry found it necessary to merge its resources with that of the station, as the station played a significant role in the development of a lot of youth in Botswana`s media and entertainment industry including his own.
“As custodians of the creative industry and youth empowerment, the ministry found it paramount to synergise our efforts with Yarona fm through Now channel. The youth television which strives to empower the youth of Botswana in the film and television industry. The Ministry is therefore committed to positioning Now channel as a regional and global television brand that will compete with well-known television channels across the world. The YAMAs are one of the projects lined up to realise this objective,” Rakgare said.
The Minister furthermore revealed “the Ministry saw it fit to acquire the YAMAs 2020 broadcast rights to increase local and entertainment content on Now channel. The rights were acquired at a cost of P772 320 and this amount offers Now channel content package of this nature, exclusive rights to a virtual event and four filler series of five minutes each. From the above amount P612 320, which consists of 70 percent of the total budget will go directly to the empowerment of a 139 arts practitioners. We are also proud that this event is exclusively 100 percent locally created and produced by talented Batswana with everything sourced locally.”
Initially the partnership between Now channel and Yarona FM was to deliver the first ever televised YAMAs 2020, which were to be held at the University of Botswana indoor sports arena on May 2020. However the Covid-19 pandemic changed all plans and the radio station had to settle for presenting the award ceremony in a virtual format, held under the theme “Fabolous 21” as the year 2020 marks 21 years of Yarona FM’s existence.
“This is the new normal, as a country migrating to the digital terrestrial space and fourth industrial revolution we welcome the challenge presented by Covid-19 pandemic. We remain resilient and the show must go on. Government is committed to development of creative industries as various legislative instruments and initiatives have been communicated over the recent months. This includes Botswana becoming party to the UNESCO 2005 convention on the protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions, the review of cinematography act, creative industry strategy and establishment of national arts council,” Minister Rakgare said.