Sunday, January 11, 2009
David Slater-A Music Man Who Has Made His Mark
This week’s Botswana Guardian had an article about music man David Slater. In the lead just before the interview it said, “He is boring. He has added ‘very little’ to the music industry in this country”. I didn’t get it. It appeared as if they might be repeating Mr. Slater’s own words since in the article his humble nature came through, but it wasn’t clear and that cloudiness, at least to me, came off as an insult because David Slater has made a profound contribution to music in all forms in this country.
Mr. Slater ran Maitisong, a theatre at Maruapula School in Gaborone, from 1987, retiring from the job in 2007. While there, he started the Maitisong Festival which allowed Batswana to have access to classical music as well as famous performers such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Johannesburg Orchestra, Cape Town Ballet and Sibongile Khumalo, among others. He helped develop the talents of numerous musical Batswana both within Maitisong and as a committee member of Botswana Music Camp. For his efforts in music, he was awarded a Presidential Award.
According to the Guardian article, he has now started his own entertainment company, called David Slater Music. The company organises musical and cultural events in Gaborone. He started the No. 1 Ladies’ Opera House with Alexander McCall Smith to provide a place for classical musicians to perform.
The very exciting news from the article was that McCall Smith has written an opera which is currently being set to music and they hope that the world premier will take place at the Opera House in Gaborone, hopefully performed by Batswana musicians, which will be a fantastic opportunity as the world’s eyes, gaga for all things Alexander McCall Smith-ish, will likely be focussed here. What a coup that will be!
All of this from a man who has ‘added very little to the music industry” in Botswana? I don’t think so.