Botswana's President Khama wins AFRIMMA Leadership Award

Botswana’s President Ian Khama has been named the winner of the Transformational Leadership Award for the upcoming 2015 African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) in the USA. The award is in recognition of Khama’s contribution to the development of the arts and culture industry in Botswana.

President Ian Khama. Photo:
President Ian Khama. Photo:

President Khama will receive the award at the second edition of AFRIMMA, to be held on 10 October at the Black Academy of Arts & Letters in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Revealing the news, Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) president Zenzele Hirschfeld expressed delight that the president's efforts to promote the arts were being recognised. She added that the legacy he has created in the local creative industries has seen a revival in music genres that were once in danger of becoming extinct, as well as a mushrooming in fashion designers and other creatives.

Hirschfeld noted that President Khama has shown a lot of interest in the growth of the arts and culture industry in the country, adding that he has devoted his time to the annual President's Day celebrations, held recently on 20 July, which recognise talent from all corners of the country. "We have a leader who sees the creative industry as hope at heart, and also sees entertainment as entrepreneurship," she said.

Khama is an artist at heart who sees the music industry as an opportunity for economic diversification, said Hirschfeld in TheVoiceBW. “Our president contributes significantly to the creative industry, and we have just celebrated the President’s Day competition which empowered a lot of artists, especially youth.” 

Gilbert Seagile, CEO of Gilbert Promotions, said recently in a WeekendPost report: “Our president has done a lot contributing towards the arts. He has commercialized polka music, he has influenced the Khawa Dunes and he also likes dancing.”

The Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival is a tourism and family event involving quad and motorbike challenges across Botswana’s Khawa sand dunes. There are also camel races, camel rides and cultural activities showcasing the Kgalagadi cultures. Khama is also a fan of polka. Thanks in part to the president’s efforts, this European dance, which originated in 19th-century Bohemia and made its way to Southern Africa via European settlers, is recognized among Botswana’s traditional dances, according to MmegiOnline.

Several of Botswana’s leading musicians have been nominated for this year’s AFRIMMAs. In the Best Male (Southern Africa) category, Vee (aka Odirile Sento) and Zeus (aka Game Bantsi) will compete against Cassper Nyovest, Donald and AKA (South Africa), Zimbabwe's Stunner, Namibia's The Dogg, and Zambia's Slapper. In the Best Female (Southern Africa) category, Botswana is represented by Punah Gabasiane and Samantha Mogwe, who are up against South Africa's Bucie, Busiswa and Toya Delazy, Zambian rapper Ice Queen Cleo and Mozambique's Lizha James.

The AFRIMMAs honour some of Africa's top music artistes, producers and cultural influencers. Any leader who promotes the creative arts can be nominated for AFRIMMA’s Transformational Leadership Award. At last year’s inaugural ceremony it was won by Nigerian governor Chief Dr. Godswill Akpabio. Click here for the full list of AFRIMMA nominees.


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