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COVID-19 pandemic hits entertainment industry

The coronavirus pandemic outbreak continues to disrupt the entertainment industry worldwide and Botswana is no exception.

COVID-19 has brought about panic and uncertainties in the entertainment industry as some events had to be postponed or cancelled.

“As a business owner and promoter, I am already feeling the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in so many ways,” said Olorato Ledikwe of Sunday Ultimate Chill in Gabane.

“Ministry of Health and Wellness has advised against any gathering of over 100, and that speaks to us as event organisers and it totally disrupts our businesses.”

The move, he said had affected the showbiz business especially events that were already planned adding that would impact on the socio-economic status of employees.

“Being a promoter and organising events successfully stems from developing incredible relationship and a good level of understanding with our employees,” stated Ledikwe.

“The outbreak of coronavirus is no different to any challenges we encounter as a business.

Sunday Ultimate is about family and we will stick together and care for each other as a family that we are,” Ledikwe said.

Artistes have also been affected by the outbreak as most of them make ends meet through gigs and corporate events as well as weddings.

Afro soul singing sensation, Lizibo is one such artiste, who sustain his career mostly through corporate gigs and largely performing at weddings.

“This has hit me hard financially and we are left wondering about coming monthly expenses like rentals,” stated Lizibo, saying this was the time that the royalty collection society, COSBOTS could use to counteract the financil dilemma that artistes would encounter soon.

Local Dj Chrispin the Drummer of Fire on the Mountain fame shared the plight of entertainers in Botswana at a time like this.

“We are officially unemployed,” stated Chrispin the Drummer.

He said as events got cancelled, it means they lose would money and would not be able to pay bills. “I was booked for seven gigs this coming Easter holidays, but all of them have been cancelled. It is too much on us. It is painful.”

Chrispin the Drummer is a resident Dj at Pavillion and with reduction on gatherings it means they still cannot make money as some activities were cancelled like Happy Hours, which attract many people. Similarly, the movie industry, is feeling the impact as well as cinemas have reduced the number of viewers in a gallery.

Marketing manager of Capitol Cinema, Chingetani Batlegang said they had reduced the intake in their auditorium to 50 people.

“Our largest capacity is 215 people and the lowest takes 150,” said Batlegang.

Batlegang indicated that the local movie market was also hard hit as the release of blockbuster movies had been postponed, as cinemas in countries such as the US and China have shutdown and have rescheduled dates for end of year.He indicated that as precautionary measures, Acacia Mall cinema self-service touch screen would be unavailable and customers would use cashier sale points inside.

Meanwhile Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) secretary general, Sidney Nzala said the association  had consulted with event managers and promoters, and had engaged with Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare and his team on how best to approach the pandemic and how government could assist entertainers.

Nzala said the minister urged them to halt all their entertainment activities for 30 days whilst the virus was being monitored.

He said there had been no mention of financial assistance to the entertainers.

On their role of helping curb the spread, Nzala said for them as entertainers to spread such messages they need an audience. However, he said they were unable to do that as they could not get artistes to perform for  few people. He said they would continue to engage stakeholders like Ministry of Health and Wellness on how best to play a role in spreading the message against the virus. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Ketshepile More

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : Mar 22 Sun,2020

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