Following your passion is one thing but living off it is another and when it comes to the creative arts in Botswana, it is especially difficult.
Botswana’s own ‘Babyface’ Tshepo Lesole is one of the artists who have taken the bold step of making music his sole career. His recording studio is not only a place where he makes his music, he also uses it for marketing purposes, making commercial adverts and so forth.
Because he has decided to turn his talent into a career, Lesole finds himself challenged to produce quality music. But, ever modest, he says he is not the only one. When he looks at the industry 10 years ago, it has grown tremendously and more and more artists are making quality music.
He says that one of the biggest problems the music industry faces is piracy, which he said is a challenge to artists in Botswana as they end up not fully benefiting from the sweat of their brows. He suggested that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture should take drastic steps to try and curb this practice, steps similar to those taken for instance when someone is found selling illegal substances.
Jazz artist Punah Gabaisane does music as a part time activity. She says she’s been working ever since she finished school but if it were up to her, she would do it fulltime. Like Lesole, she pointed out that if their clients could recognise their talent’s worth and not cringe at the prices they charge for performances, it would really help.
She says the small number of marketing and promotional agencies and firms in Botswana makes it hard to go into full time music, as they’re unable to handle the available artists. Another thing is the difficulty they encounter in penetrating other markets hence the small listenership they command. Gabaisane however promised that she will be going into music full time very soon.