Renowned American comedian and Television showhost, Steve Harvey was briefly in the country as a surprise guest at last Thursday’s ‘W summit’ courtesy of the De Beers Group.
Although Harvey’s unexpected appearance is being touted as a coup for De Beers and Botswana, it is said to have come at a hefty cost to the mining group – US$5 million (P50 million) according to high-placed sources close to the event.
However, De Beers Group External Communications Manager, Kesego Okie dismissed the rumours, telling Voice Entertainment that the 61-year-old American superstar did not cost a single Thebe.
“We did not pay Mr. Harvey anything. He paid for his visit here himself,” insisted Okie.
Asked how they managed to secure Harvey’s services without popping out any Pula, the De Beers mouthpiece replied, “We wrote a proposal to his office and he agreed to it. Remember he is also into motivational speaking and his company also deals with women empowerment which is the very essence of the summit. I maintain we did not pay anything!”
Whilst locals have criticised organisers for keeping Harvey’s visit a ‘surprise’ and not publicizing it beforehand, De Beers are adamant the two-day stay has increased global interest in Botswana’s diamond story.
In a press statement released this week, the mining giant’s argued, “As a result of Mr Harvey coming there is great interest in the story of Botswana as a key player in the diamond industry.”
However, it is debatable how great an impact Harvey’s visit actually had.
Indeed, the US TV personality, who is known for his love of Twitter, tweeted just once during his stay in the country.
“Marjorie and I were invited by Her Excellence, Neo Masisi, the first lady of Botswana, to participate in the “W” Summit. We discussed the importance of women in leadership roles in Botswana. I was the surprise guest and as you can tell… I JUMPED at the opportunity,” reads the tweet, which was retweeted by just 166 of Harvey’s 3.82 million followers.
The summit targeted Batswana women in business and leadership, and brought together local, regional and international speakers and moderators who presented on various topics to stimulate debate on how women in business can enhance their skills and leadership in order to become global players.
During his short stay in the country with his wife, Harvey, who went back in December 2015 received criticism for mistakenly announcing the wrong winner when he hosted the Miss Universe Pageant, visited the first family at the Office of the President (OP).