The Life of a Creative in Botswana
There is more to being a creative than the dirty All-Stars, nerdy glasses, cigarette darkened lips, an unreasonable infatuation with Apple products, and the excessive drinking. Trust me there is more. I will not waste time and characters on the definition of a Creative. Let’s just say it’s anyone from whom Creativity in the arts is expected as a means to deliver results and contribute to the creative industry.
Can I start by saying how Creativity is a powerful tool for economic diversification and reaching ascending economic goals for all involved? We see it happening world over. But we are in Botswana and not the rest of the world.
First of all, working in the Creative Sector is working in an industry most of our parents (and a lot of other people) do not understand. Many would much rather have their children be working as nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers and the like. Please don’t take this the wrong way, these jobs are also great for people who like them and excel in them. Great. Just great. But what of the radicals, the ones who are not good at number crunching, or building stuff or teaching, or bringing people to life. What about us?
Let’s also talk about the long erratic hours creatives are subjected to. We are middle people; wholesalers of ideas, while our clients are retailers. Our aim is to give them the best of ideas in the shortest time. This sometimes means, staying after five to get the best out of oneself, environment and the dwindling Botswana Internet. These late nights mean, missed parties, missing your child’s first step, special dinners and other occasions. It also means there are a lot angry spouses out there. It does. Let me just send a heartfelt apology to all who have had to deal with this.
Nurses nurse, teachers teach, preachers preach, doctors doc… You get the logic. Creatives must also create. This is where things get tricky. By definition a Creative should craft different works, things that amaze and wow and charm. Things that make the other party appreciate how different they look, in a way they would not have done, had a creative not put their touch to it. So how now, is a creative supposed to create Out of the box solutions, when they spend days confined to the box? Out of the box solutions require of the box thinking and this requires the freedom to express and stretch mental boundaries. Think of it this way; when one goes to the doctor, they let the doctor do their job. But creatives get so many hindrances to them doing their job fully that it’s hard to really give out bounder-less creativity. But then again, creatives don’t create for themselves. Maybe they need the boundaries and the directives to hone in the skills into reaching pre destined point. So I don’t know. In fact forget this whole paragraph.
The other thing about creatives in Botswana is remuneration. Can someone in Botswana make a good enough living to compete with people of the same years of studying/qualification of experience? Mmhhh!!! While the issue of payment comes with experience and negotiation skills and all that jazz, it’s fair to say, the value that creatives add to any process far exceeds how much they get “thanked with”. But we shall overcome.
I can keep at this post quite a long time before running out of things to say. But here is the gist of it all. Creatives of all walks in Botswana are faced with many challenges. But the love for creation keeps them going; the appreciation they get from the few people that see the value of creativity also keeps them going. The future is as bright as the opportunities Creatives seek. There will be late nights, there will be people who don’t value what creatives do, but the results will speak for themselves. Let us continue to create and change people’s lives because we have responsibilities. We have a responsibility towards the people we create for. And most importantly we have a responsibility towards the art itself.