Sunday, September 24, 2023

Young Africa Botswana tackles COVID-19 through art

Young Africa Botswana (YAB), together with the United States of America Embassy and the British High Commission, have joined hands to carry out a project titled “INFORMING AND PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY AGAINST COVID-19”. 

YAB’s latest activity in the two-phased project has been painting local tuck-shops to create murals that animate COVID-19 regulations, at the same time flamboyantly adorning the small businesses. 

Resident artist at YAB and the project coordinator Gorata Priscilla Mokgosi said the overall project is split into two. The first part of the project was conducted last year when Botswana National Service Program (BNSP) volunteers were trained to sew masks. The basic sewing and entrepreneurship program saw 100 BNSP participants make 9000 masks that will be distributed to the communities in need.

The other part of the project is the tuck-shop painting initiative, which officially began on the 15th of January.

“This part of the project is about creating murals that depict COVID-19 social behaviour regulations or rules such as mask-wearing and social distancing, ” Mokgosi said. “For this part of the project we intend to paint 30 tuckshops in different community tuckshop,” she added. So far, Mokgosi said that because of the rains, they have been able to paint four tuckshops. 

“Our aim was to paint two tuck-shops per week, so we had to put it on pause until the skies clear,” she added. Quizzed on why specifically tuck-shops, Mokgosi said that during lockdowns, tuck-shops were the most accessible services close to most people’s homes. YAB thus found the small business as an ideal canvas for not only aesthetics but COVID-19 awareness and education.

YAB’s tuck-shop initiative was as a result of America on the Move’s arts festival last year when American graffiti artist Max Moses came to Botswana. “The project was inspired by the AOTM festival when Mr Max MOSES aka pose 2 came to Botswana and asked one of the community owners if he could paint their tuck-shop,” Mokgosi explained. Mokgosi facilitated AOTM‘s online workshops on American comic book history and design as well as the basics of drawing and painting during last year’s lockdown.

YAB believe they are bringing to the communities, murals of hope, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NGO aims to constantly promote art, local talent and development.


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