BOMU P2million sponsorship divides artists
● Concerned artists call on Rakgare to resign and BOMU awards stopped
● Police arrest and charge concerned artists
● The concerned artists are ill advised and misinformed - Modibe
● Btv and MYSC sponsored BOMU awards with P2million
The limping music industry is currently at loggerheads over a recent announcement that this year’s BOMU awards will for the first time get a staggering P2 million from Btv and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC).
Btv recently popped out P1.5 million while MYSC contributed P500,000 for the awards and as a result, a group of concerned artists took to the streets of Gaborone to mount an illegal protest on Wednesday, which was cut short by the Botswana Police Services (BPS).
During the protest before they were detained by BPS, the group of concerned artists led by Rhumba musician, General Tuco, called for the resignation of Minister Tumiso Rakgare and for the BOMU awards to be stopped. The awards, scheduled for October 23, 2021 are organised by Seabelo Modibe’s Total Music Group company. “We are not going to give up, we are not going to retreat, we have been oppressed, we have been underestimated, they have walked on us and it is enough,” said the artists just before they hopped into a police van.
The leader of the group, General Tuco said MYSC had long taken them lightly no wonder BOMU does not care about local artists. General Tuco also said they do not understand why BOMU is in a hurry to host awards when musicians are starving.
“Artists are dying of hunger and yet they met in secret to stage awards. This money must go back to the government purse and help artists irrespective of the union they are members of,” he highlighted. The artist, who was alongside four others, said they are all citizens of the land and therefore deserved better and ought to be treated equally and be respected.
He said they are sick of Rakgare and they want him to resign because MYSC is in a state of disorder. “We have been here two years, our partners have left us and we can’t feed our children. The pandemic doesn’t mean we should not eat. We are not only fending for ourselves but we are also representing other artists,” he added.
Before being detained by the police, the concerned artists were planning to march to the Mass Media Complex where BOMU awards’ P1.5 million sponsorship came from. From there General Tuco said they were embarking on yet another journey to MYSC headquarters. He said Rakgare had failed dismally as their minister therefore should resign.
General Tuco also revealed that the reason they went ahead with the illegal peaceful protest was because the BPS had refused to grant them a permit. “We applied for a permit at Mogoditshane Police Station on Tuesday but the police refused because they said we would attract large crowds which are against Covid-19 protocols. We are not afraid of the police intimidation. We will handle whatever comes our way, we will not give up, and we will press on,” he highlighted. General Tuco was alongside other musicians like Jimmy Gimaro and legendary gospel artist Matheke Leteane. They were later charged for protesting without permit and unlawful gathering.
Modibe has since dismissed the artists as a group of people who are ill-advised and misinformed.
He said it is difficult to engage with the artists because they are not BOMU members. Modibe said the artists are members of the defunct Music Union of Botswana (MUSUBO). He said the artists have a bigger motive because BOMU is not the only organisation which has been sponsored.
“They thought Total Music Group was engaged to organise the awards to loot the union’s money. But we have made history in six months by getting a sponsorship of P2m and no one has ever done that,” he said. Modibe said the artists have no legal basis to stop the awards but are just opportunists who want to ride on Pastor Thuso Tiego’s limelight. He said the concerned artists’ intention is to make a lot of noise so that the BOMU awards do not get sponsorship next year. “We are talking about more than 120 artists who have been nominated and we cannot serve the interests of four artists,” he said.