Is this the city of dreams?

Heart of it all: Attempts have been made to spruce up Gaborone’s image PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Heart of it all: Attempts have been made to spruce up Gaborone’s image PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

When the city’s administrators reckoned that perhaps Gaborone could be a serious contender for hosting African conferences, as well as being a tourist destination and a place with things to see, they were onto something.

They then must have concluded that to achieve that goal the city would require many things including multiple traffic lanes and public artworks. So they started getting them. Now Gaborone has several traffic intersections, fewer traffic circles, widened roads and underpasses. And to break the monotony and coldness of heavy concrete and ubiquitous tarmac, they must have reasoned that they needed to add some greenery and artful metal work at several places throughout the city. These artworks appear handmade. They are not kitschy. A good number of them have an overlap of both playfulness and perception. And with their posture and stare, some of the artworks have a subtle irreverence too. If they were alive, it is easy to imagine that they would periodically wink at those who take time to look at them in admiration!

As Botswana’s capital, Gaborone cannot avoid playing practical and symbolic roles as the seat of our national politics. It can’t avoid being the place where experimentation first happens and where follies and frictions show in acute forms. It also cannot avoid being the bulwark of any perceived narrow mindedness. And over the years, and for many people, it has generated a combination of excitement, bewilderment, scorn and envy. While it is laudable, the current sprucing of the city must be a work in progress since many forms of visual art are still missing from public display. The works of sculpture, painting, photography and film are yet to be publicly displayed. But, for outsiders looking in, indeed, the visitors and tourists to the city, the available public artworks ought to give them a bombastic vision of what the city has to offer. When words and other media cannot meet the challenge of explaining life, by acting as a potent metaphor for life in the city, Gaborone’s visual art should be worthy of that task. Living in any city is like survival in theater work. It often requires a great deal of change in plans, movement, relationships, etc. It can be redemptive and catastrophic. And it is a constant reconciliation of what is demanded of one’s personal life with what is possible. Adaptability thus remains the lifeblood of all city life.

Editor's Comment
Mind your health

They've repeatedly warned that hypertension, or high blood pressure, often termed a chronic lifestyle disease, is a silent killer. It's crucial for everyone to be aware of their health status. Nowadays, many companies host wellness days, offering free disease screenings to employees!Unfortunately, even with such services, some choose not to take advantage of the opportunity.The Dutch Reformed Church in Botswana recently organised a...

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