There was pomp and ceremony during the homecoming function for KTM Choir last Thursday at the Three Dikgosi Monument in the Central Business District (CBD) in Gaborone.
The venue could not have been more fitting. The three dikgosi, Sebele I, Bathoen I and Khama III, whose larger than life statues, emblazoned in bronze – and dominate the CBD landscape, are legends in so far as they rebuffed Cecil John Rhodes British South Africa Company from colonising then Bechuanaland.
The function celebrated KTM Choir’s ‘conquest’ of Europe. Last month KTM Choir won a gold medal in Sweden in the European Choir Games competition involving more than 130 choirs from 38 countries around the world. This was a first for a Botswana choir. KTM was the only choir from Africa. KTM shared that distinction with two other choirs, one being from the host Sweden, and the other one from China.
Various speakers at the function commended KTM for the achievement. Speaking on behalf of one of the sponsors, First National Bank Foundation, the bank’s managing director, Steven Bogatsu, said KTM has put Botswana on the world map.
He encouraged other corporates to support initiatives such as KTM Choir as they provide young people with avenues to develop their talents and contribute positively to society. For her part the representative of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Nekiso Kubanji, thanked KTM for “flying the Botswana flag high” in an international competition such as the one that was held in Sweden.
She said it was the ministry’s goal to develop the talent of young people, adding that they were inspired by KTM’s exemplary posture as a choir.
Kubanji said they were confident as the ministry that the creative industries had potential to grow the local economy. She said the country was facing the challenge of youth unemployment, and hence it was
Another speaker, Lulu Rasebotsa of Liberty Life, which is one of the sponsors of KTM Choir, said they were proud to be associated with the choir named after the composer of the country’s national anthem, ‘Fatshe Leno La Rona’, Dr Kgalemang T. Motsete, who was a patriot indeed. She said music is a unifying factor, which appeals across all demographics. She made an undertaking that her company, Liberty will continue supporting KTM.
The chairperson of the board of KTM Choir, Lorato Morapedi, said Botswana was blessed with skills and talent. However, she said, while skill and talent are essential elements, it was passion that has carried KTM Choir to where it is now. She said that is what made it possible to sustain the choir for the last 26 years.
Morapedi said KTM Choir has positioned itself as a strong brand over the years. “We have also positioned ourselves as a centre of excellence combining music with culture,” she said. The choir has produced household names in the industry like Lizibo Simon, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Puna Gabasiane, etc.
Morapedi said their wish, as a board, is to have a choir where they can reward their choristers. Right now it is all voluntary work. She said KTM Choir has a five-year strategy and they are confident that they will realise their objectives, adding that their participation in the Sweden competition was one of their strategy’s milestones.
KTM Choir’s gold medal in the just-ended European Choir Games has qualified them for next year’s World Choir Games, which will be held in Belgium.