In his keynote address during the annual Presidential Competition’s Visual Arts finals for the northern region in Francistown late last week, Kgosi Paul Motshwane of Gerald Estates highlighted that the creative industry can play a significant role in diversifying the economy.
According to Motshwane, the often underestimated creative and cultural industry may offer a route to job creation and a perfect platform for innovative forms of the country’s economic growth after diamonds.
“We are excavating diamonds at Orapa (Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines) and Jwaneng Mine on a daily basis. However, the excavation of the diamonds will come to an end one day. Diamonds are not forever, so we must look to the creative industry for diversification,” explained the tribal leader.
Motshwane said it is against this backdrop of the impending expiry of the diamond that drove the country’s economy for the past five decades that there is need to encourage the creative industry to take over.
For his part, Francistown Central ward councilor, Ephraim Maiketso concurred with Kgosi Motshwane saying visual artistes should do everything within their power to ensure that their works are marketed well.
“There is a lot of potential in the creative industry especially looking at the fact that diamonds are not forever. Our beef industry is also under siege due to the continuous outbreaks of the deadly FMD (Foot-and-Mouth Disease),” said Maiketso.
Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development’s Francistown coordinator, Minkie Bokole said the creative industry could grow faster than the non-cultural sectors of the economy. She said her ministry has laid the foundation for visual artistes to take full advantage of the industry.
“Visual artistes should venture into the industry with the vigor equivalent to that of holding a cat by the scruff of its neck. There are a lot of economic opportunities in this industry,” said Bokole.
A recent global creative and cultural industry mapping study found that 29.5 million people are employed in the industry worldwide, accounting for one percent of the world’s active labour force and 3 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).