Twelve months ago, in a cosy cocktail lounge nestled in Gaborone’s city centre, a vision to practicalize the economic arts through entertainment was formed.
Witnessing the birth were a few friends and family of the founder Drew Chadhall, as well as a few creatives that understood his initial vision. However, strangers to the concept saw this as just another reason to get drunk on a Sunday. Scratching beyond the surface, this event serves as the beginning of reimagining the creative economic culture in a country only globally known for the valuable diamonds it spews.
The Redd’s Chillstep Sundays (powered by Yarona FM) is slowly fusing the culture into fruition through becoming a calabash of various forms of creative expression. It is one of, if not, the only event where you can find a marimba player, dubstep dj, mixologist, fine artist and culinary artist and their presence all makes sense.
The event provides as a visual summary of the potential of employment options within the creative industry if foreign and national investors tap into the market. Young entrepreneurs such as Tre Kuaho of Oversized Ego and fine artist Oratile Ketshabile have proven, through their artistic talent the ability to commercialize their product. It is undeniable however, the power of investment into such entrepreneurs to provide economic development in the sector, which can in turn create sustainable employment.
The creative sector is a nearly un-invested sector from the foreign and private players of the country, yet has the opportunity to provide financial muscle, decrease employment and boost the GDP.As the creative sector is innately labour intensive, it provides an easy route towards sustainable employment. In a report carried out by UNESCO and EY, the creative sector in Africa created 2.4 million jobs and jointly contributed to 58 billion USD to the continent’s Gross Domestic Product.
Events such as Redd’s Chillstep Sundays don’t only serve as entertainment, but steer the legitimacy of Drew’s vision of an active creative industry with real-time market activity. When Botswana’s creative industry is in its well-developed stages, we will look back at events such as these in remembrance of the practicalization of the economic creative culture.