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Showing posts with label Botswana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Botswana. Show all posts

Artists are their Worst Enemies

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Lauri Kubuitsile
Culled from Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile
(This column appeared in my column It's All Write in the 7 August, 2015 edition of Mmegi newspaper)

Across the spectrum artists tend to be crap business people who make other artists’ lives more difficult because of the bad business decisions that they make. Take musicians. Musicians like playing music, so when they get the opportunity to play for the public they take it. The problem is unscrupulous business folk take advantage of that characteristic of musicians and use it to get free entertainment. They’ll say things such as: “Come Friday night, you can play a few hours at my club and get exposure.” The musician is excited. The opportunity to play – yay! The business person exploits the musician’s poor business acumen and the musician pitches up, plays, and then goes home with empty pockets.

Okay, you can say- that’s fine, that’s the musician’s business, he’s “not in it for the money”. But it’s actually not fine. Because now when the person trying to be a professional, a musician attempting to make a living from music, approaches that club and tells the owner that their fee is P3000 for a two hour set, the owner thinks the person is mad, a diva trying to rip them off. See, the owner is used to getting music for free thanks to the musicians that came before this one. It makes it a steep, uphill climb for the professional musician to educate the owner that workers should be paid for the work that they do- all workers. And they should be paid a fair fee.

The same goes for contracts. So many artists will agree to perform without a contract. “We have a verbal agreement,” they say.  Verbal agreements mean nothing; they’re usually the beginning of a long drawn out, and often bitter, argument about money. Artists must get written contracts. The contracts should include the responsibilities of each party, and they should breakdown how the money should be paid. For example, if you’re a dancer, you might want a certain percentage before the event, maybe 40%, so that you have money to get yourself there, money for rehearsals, etc. Then the remaining 60% of the fee should be paid immediately after the performance. Any other requirements should also be in that contract. It needn’t be drawn up by a lawyer, just a straight forward agreement, all of the things that were discussed in your meeting to set up the gig, written down on paper, both parties sign it.

The Colours of Love (short story)

A story by 'Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile' - Botswana.

He arrived with the spicy purple of the sunset, at the end of a long, hot, dusty day. They sat on the cool veranda and watched him walk up the side of the road into town.             
 “Where’s he from?”  Asked Mma Boago the owner of Mable’s Takeaway, a takeaway that had never known a woman by the name of Mable.

 “Don’t know. What’s that he’s carrying?” Johnny-Boy, Mma Boago’s perpetual customer and occasional bed-mate, asked, squinting his eyes to get a better look.             
 “Looks like a guitar. Dirty long dreadlocks and a guitar. He’s not bringing anything we need around here, that’s for damn sure.” Mma Boago turned and went back inside; she had magwinya in the deep fryer and couldn’t waste time keeping track of unwanted strangers.            

Warona was dragging her daughter, Kelapile, to the clinic when she spotted him. She wasn’t one to believe in love at first sight and fairy tales with happy endings, having witnessed Kelapile’s father’s profession of undying love just before he slipped into bed with the neighbour. It was more than being heart sore: Warona’s heart had been pulled out, knocked around for twelve rounds, then placed back into her chest to perform only the bare minimum required to keep her moving. Some days she wished it would give up on that, too. 

“Hurry! They’ll fire me if I’m not back in an hour.”  Kelapile’s legs could only go so fast, decided by their three-year-old length. Warona bent down and pulled the child up onto her back. When she looked up again, there he was.             
 “Do you know where I can find the guest house?”    
Practical Warona didn’t mention to anyone the way that her eyes went a bit funny the first time she saw him.  She didn’t mention the golden light that surrounded this odd stranger. It made her feel warm, and a barely held memory flooded over her, a remembered feeling, one that she had flung away deep into the folds and creases of the grey matter of her brain to be forgotten forever. It was joy; she felt a warm, orange joy.

“Are you okay?” he asked. His full lips and kind dark eyes twisted with concern.             
 “I’m fine, thanks. The guest house? Come with me, I’ll show you. It’s near the clinic where I’m going.”        


Botswana, republic in southern Africa, a landlocked country, bounded on the north and west by Namibia, on the northeast by Zambia and Zimbabwe, and on the southeast and south by South Africa. The total area of Botswana is 581,730 sq km (224,607 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Gaborone.
Most of Botswana is a tableland with an average elevation of about 1,000 m (about 3,300 ft). The Kalahari Desert covers the central and southwestern portions of the country. The principal stream is the Okavango River, which flows southeast from the Angola highlands into northwestern Botswana and drains into the Okavango Delta (Okavango Swamp), where it forms a vast marshland. During the rainy season the flow continues east on the Boteti River to Lake Xau and the Makgadikgadi Pan. The southern part of the country has no permanent streams. In general, Botswana has a semiarid subtropical climate. The average annual rainfall varies from about 640 mm (about 25 in) in the north to less than 230 mm (less than 9 in) in the Kalahari. Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months (December to April). Precipitation, however, is undependable, and the country is subject to drought. Savanna vegetation predominates in most parts of Botswana, and consists of grasslands interspersed with trees. Principal species include acacia, bloodwood, and Rhodesian teak. Wildlife is abundant in Botswana and includes lions, giraffes, leopards, antelope, elephants, crocodiles, and ostriches. Mineral resources include diamonds, copper, nickel, coal, cobalt, manganese, soda ash, asbestos, and salt.Botswana has designated 18.5 percent (1997) of its land as parks and reserves, giving it the highest percentage of protected land in any African country. The Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas in the world and provides habitat for elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and crocodiles. The country is inhabited by 550 bird species.Botswana has ratified international agreements protecting endangered species and the ozone layer.
The country has also signed treaties limiting trade in endangered animal species.
Botswana received its name from the country’s principal ethnic group, the Tswana, who can be divided into eight tribes. Representatives of several other peoples are also found, including a small number of San (Bushmen), who have inhabited the region for many centuries. About one-half of the population practice traditional African religions; most of the remainder are Christians. English is the official language, but most of the people speak Setswana, the language of the Tswana, which belongs to the Sotho subgroup of Bantu languages.
The Tswana migrated to the region that is now Botswana by 1800 and displaced the native San. Missionaries, including David Livingstone and Robert Moffat from Scotland, arrived in the first half of the 19th century and established missions.
The territory was taken under British protection in 1885, after all the principal chiefs complained that Boers, or Afrikaners, from the Transvaal region in what is now northern South Africa, were invading their territories.During World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) contingents from Bechuanaland, as Botswana was then called, served overseas and on their return helped stimulate economic and political change. The first elections to a legislative council were held in 1961. Under the name Botswana, the country achieved independence in 1966, with the former prime minister, Sir Seretse Khama, as the first president. When Khama died in 1980, he was succeeded by Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, who was reelected by the legislature in 1984, 1989, and 1994. Masire retired from politics in 1998 and was succeeded by his vice president, Festus Mogae. The National Assembly elected Mogae to a new five-year term in 1999....
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