The oldest mall in the country, Main Mall, is on the verge of having the country’s first ever Pop Up Model meant for creatives to exhibit and network.

Article by: Dumisani Ncube for Mmegi
For the past three months a portion of Main Mall, the east square dubbed the Diamond Square has been slowly developing into a Pop Up model environment with a group of young creative entrepreneurs setting it up. It has already started with a few creatively designed wooden seats and photography displays, which is set up.

The Pop Up Model which is still at its infancy, is set to develop other departments such as a juice bar, photo booth, street library, gaming, art installation, arts performance and shoe polish station to mention just a few.

“In Gaborone there is no place where creatives can just chill. We used to have parks but they are fading away.

So the Main Mall being where our office is based, we decided to adopt a square, turn it into a green space making furniture outdoor, a place where we can sit and enjoy the Main Mall,” said Kago Monageng the project manager of the project which he prefers calling ‘If Spaces Could Talk’.

Giving a full description of the platform, Monageng said it will have pop up shops and pop up retail spaces that sell merchandise of any kind including galleries. The wooden seats at the Diamond Square are not only meant for display but also for the public to sit. “The chairs at Main mall are now worn out so we have set up seats for people to sit and more chairs are coming. We are currently working on erecting a shade, we were given the Big BOT50 T-shirt which was at Standard Chartered Bank and we will erect it as a shade.”

With this idea he said their objective is to develop a platform for creatives to put up their various works and have people from all walks of life come through and spend time
on the open space arena. “We are trying to create a space for everyone to use whenever they find it fit, a multi-functional space, that’s what we want to turn the space into”.

Being a multi-functional place he noted that there will be a multiple number of activities taking place at the Diamond Square, which range from live performances to gallery exhibitions.

Monageng and his team have already pitched up the idea to the city council, which has in turn given them a three-month trial period to see how it turns out. At the moment they are on their third month.

“The project gives all Botswana youth the opportunity to showcase and sell their products, to connect with other entrepreneurs, to communicate business issues across industries.”

As a graphic designer Monangeng states that he is always working on finding solutions to various problems. He was quick to note that if this project goes well, this will also be a facelift for the Main Mall as it will increase traffic in the mall, which will also boost the economy.

He has since partnered with a number of experts in different industries such as academics, industrial and artists that will help with making the project come to fruition.

Despite the project being at its infancy stage, a number of people and artists have shown interest in having the platform set in the capital city. Photojournalist Fifi Monosi is set to exhibit her latest collection titled, ‘See What I See’ which is a campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Monageng stated that if this project becomes successful, his team will set up more Pop Up Model parks around the country. “We want to set up spaces into places”. The Pop Up Model culture is much common in places such as the USA, China and Britain.