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Local Artistes Equally Good – Olopeng

The practice of importing artists, who are considered crowd pullers from outside the country, will soon be a thing of the past if the performance of local artists is anything to go by.

The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng said this during the annual Tati River Lodge (TRL) Zhizha cultural festival on Saturday (July 25).

He said the performance of local artists during the just ended President’s Day competitions has demonstrated that local artists have come off age and could compete with the best in the world.

The minister explained that his ministry was not going to backtrack on cultural revival to prove that embracing culture was not tantamount to backwardness.

He also noted that the ministry will continue to encourage all those who host cultural festivals.

“We will continue to lift our artists and promote our own culture,” he said.

The minister explained that culture was a very important aspect to every nation.

On other issues, he mentioned that his ministry was in the process of launching its own television channel where they would showcase local talent to different audiences.

He said they were still engaged in talks with other stakeholders to link the upcoming television channel with other channels to give maximum exposure to local culture and artists.

Minister Olopeng mentioned that he held talks with famous actress Connie Ferguson on the possibility of a working relationship between the two parties.

However, he acknowledged that there was still a challenge of shortage of facilities, something he said the private sector could take advantage of by availing space for artists to use.

Consequently, the minister informed his audience that they encouraged the private sector like TRL to form partnerships with the ministry to promote culture.

“We want to improve the livelihoods of our young artists as we realise that the arts are a growing force in the country,” he said.

He said the wish was to also introduce more awards for the President’s day competitions to pay tribute to those individuals who support and motivate artists to excel in their chosen crafts.

For his part, Abel Khupe of TRL explained that they decided to host the event as a way of contributing to cultural revival.

He applauded the minister for taking an active role in promoting culture and also thanked sponsors who made the TRL Zhizha cultural festival possible.

The event was characterised by performances from poets, comedians and traditional dance groups such as Mafitlhakgosi, Chilenje Che Ngwao, Bana Bana Ba Ntogwa, Dinkwe Nkgoga, MC Maswe and Jacaranda Primary School.

Source : BOPA