GABORONE, BOTSWANA — On Wednesday we joined Botswana’s creative industry think-tanks and stakeholders for the launch of Showbiz Entertainment Africa Botswana (SEAfricaBW) conference – an event dedicated to the development and growth of the industry.
According to the organisers, Sixpence Media spearheaded by Tshepo Ntshole, SEAfricaBW will have among others, exhibitions and networking sessions as it primes to become the ultimate business meeting place for talent, managers, entrepreneurs, business and other role players in the entertainment industry to stay ahead of the dynamic and ever changing industry. A visit to SEAfricaBW will expose one to show business proven approaches, trends, market disruptions, and other strategic challenges.
Aptly tagged ‘Africa’s premium conference for the entertainment world’, SEAfricaBW is scheduled to take place on September 2 – 3, 2019 at the New Capital Cinemas at Masa in Gaborone piggybacked with this year’s Gaborone International Music and Cultural (GIMC) festival.
Having seen the idea in South Africa, Ntshole brought the idea home as she felt it was an ideal platform where those in the entertainment industry could use to grow their crafts into profitable entities as well as encourage collaboration.
SEAfrica was launched on 2014 in South Africa and was introduced as part of the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival. The event takes place annually during the month of September and has grown from attracting less than 200 conference goers to over 500 in 2018. The project was born out of a need to contribute towards the development of the various industries by bridging the gap between creative expression and business practice.
The upcoming conference is expected to bring together creative artists and stakeholders under one roof where they will deliberate on numerous issues affecting their crafts as well find solutions to becoming commercial.
SEAfrica comes to Botswana after a successful spell in South Africa courtesy of its founder Peter Sibeko. Started 5 years ago, SEAfrica has attracted over 1000 stakeholders to date including renowned speakers such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Donavan Goliath, David Kau and Marang Setshwaelo among many. When giving insights to his brainchild idea, Sibeko who has over 20 years in the arts industry said the concept came as a result of misplaced ways of monetizing by the artists through their different crafts.
“We launched the concept in 2014 and it draws its support from exhibitions, workshops and entertainment as well. When we conceptualised this, we realised that every talent is a business. So we needed to put out education to the stakeholders to reposition the business and introspect holistically.”
“In the region, we are the 5th largest economic sector so surely we are a viable business. We are a multi-faceted industry that has dancers, publishers, film makers, cultural heritage, multimedia, music and fashion among many so we needed to find focus and niche for the industry. As much South Africa may look ahead compared to Botswana it is merely for collective efforts to formalise the creative industry.”
When accepting the role to lead Botswana’s journey in moulding the new creative arts conditions, Ntshole said the concept will not be hers alone as she hopes to bring together all stakeholders into an informative and prescriptive model to drive the industry.
“It has disheartened me that most of our creative idols die poor despite their immense contribution to the arts industry. So it needed that we meet over this, negotiate new roles for everyone to yield from their talents,” added Ntshole.
“I am probably known for my radio days but recently ventured into television and content creation, so I have come across all the frustrations in the industry; so this concept is close to me. There has been talk if arts council recently but before that can be formed, as the stakeholders are we aware of the variables that come with it? How far are all stakeholders informed of what will go into the council? This is the platform to bring all the players into one place including the decision makers.”
The launch was attended by filmmakers among them Tumi Sejoe and Kgomotso Kemoneilwe, radio personalities in Dollar Mac and Mr. O, Gao Lemmenyane, Rasina Rasina, T.H.A.B.O and representatives from Brand Botswana and MYSC.