Africa-Press – Botswana. Talented local sculpto, Gosego Motlogelwa has won this year’s Thapong Artist of the Year award (TAYA) while painter,Totang Motoloki walked away with the second prize worth P30 000.
Tlotlo Maleke from Naledi Senior Secondary School in Gaborone won the 2021 BTC phonebook cover competition which is exclusive to all secondary school students. Both Maleke and Motlogelwa won prizes worth P50 000 and an exchange program in the SADC region. Speaking during the award ceremony, the assistant minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Buti Billy said he said both awards contribute towards the vison of a knowledge based economy. “These awards come at a time when the country is faced with COVID-19 which has heavily affected the creative industry. Thapong and its artists are equally affected as government has put stringent measures to curtail the spread of the virus by discouraging mass gatherings and events.
Therefore, artists must understand why the government came up with the strict measures.
We are not doing this because we don’t want people to earn a living but we do not want to lose our population,” he highlighted. Billy also said it is important to come up with new ways to ensure that
the creative industry adapt to the currents situation.
He said collaborations such as Thapong and BTC are examples of key supporters and drivers of the creative industry.
Meanwhile, BTC foundation deputy chairman Dr Baagi Mmereki stated that as BTC Foundation comes together every year to reassert its commitment to the creative industries. “We view the arts as a potential contributor to economic development and personal growth hence our relationship with Thapong Visual Arts which spans over 10 years,” he said.
Dr Mmereki further said his organisation is pleased to have collaborated with to Thapong to empower artists especially this year when the creative industry has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most artists have not had an opportunity to earn a living for at least eight months or so therefore this event is an opportunity for artists not to only earn a buck but also to showcase their talent. For us it is an opportunity to help cushion the impact of the pandemic on the industry,” he further said.