BIHL Trust believes that Botswana’s fine arts industry possesses significant potential to further local economic diversification. In this vein, BIHL Trust on Tuesday 18th July 2017, joined the nation in the President's Day Celebrations, through the sponsorship of 6 award categories at the National Art, Basket and Craft Exhibition, at the GICC .

The Trust, comprising support from BIHL Group and subsidiaries Bifm, Legal Guard and Botswana Life, sponsored the following disciplines: Traditional Pottery, Beadwork, Basket Weaving, Lekgapo, and Leatherwork. The sponsorship comprised prize money for 1st positions across each of the five disciplines, totalling P60,000.00.   Amongst some of the winners were Dipuo Motswasele (1st prize in Beadwork), Mmamontshonyana Ditshekiso (1st prize in Traditional Pottery), Susan Mokate (1st prize in Lekgapo), Makushe Nomba (1st prize in Basketry Best in Show ) and Matota Basupeng (1st prize in Woodcarving) Botshelo Tanki (1st prize in Hairdressing).

“This exhibition is a powerful platform for the Botswana fine arts industry in that it allows our talented local artisans the exposure to local and international audiences that they need to build their careers.  Our participation comes off the back of our pride in Botswana’s unique heritage. In addition, we firmly believe in Botswana’s fine arts industry’s ability to significantly contribute towards the development of the economy because of its spill-off benefits, which include the promotion of local manufacturing and tourism,” said BIHL Trust Chairman, Major General Bakwena Oitsile..

This year’s sponsorship marks BIHL Trust’s 2nd consecutive participation in the exhibition. The sponsorship comes as part of the wider President’s Day celebrations. The National Art, Basket and Craft Exhibition, now in its 10th year, is an annual platform that aims to recognize and grow local talent across a myriad of disciplines.

The 2017 competitions started in May, with regional competitions held in Kasane, Serowe, Gaborone, Selebi Phikwe, Ghanzi, Tshabong, Hukuntsi, Molepolole, Kanye, Mochudi, Francistown and Maun. Adjudicators, in keeping with the tradition of the platform, are invited from across the SADC region, including a number of respected and well-reputed figures from the arts space in Botswana.

BIHL Trust remains committed to supporting the creative arts sector. In 2015, for example, the Trust collaborated with Thapong Visual Arts Centre to establish the #RhinosInTheCity and the Roving Gallery projects. In 2016, in addition to sponsoring the President’s Day awards, the Trust sponsored the Heritage Trail along Independence Avenue, which illustrated key successes behind Botswana’s development using photographs from the national archives.

Concluded BIHL Trust Chairman, Major General Bakwena Oitsile, “Considering our diverse customs and landscapes, Botswana certainly has much to offer consumer markets, and we believe that through more public and private sector collaboration, we can truly harness our socio-economic potential. We congratulate the many winners and indeed all those who participated in this year’s exhibition, and we look forward to doing more to support this formidable initiative.”

 The National Art, Basket and Craft Exhibition at the National Museum in Gaborone is open to members of the public until 31st August 2017.