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Son Of The Soil Cultural Event Back With Changes

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Son Of The Soil
One of the popular local annual cultural events, Son Of The Soil (SOTS) is back but it is coming with a couple of changes.

The theme for the 2017 event is, “Kwa Re Go Yang – Re Kgabile”. The theme is meant to celebrate the centrality of dress to important events in Botswana culture. This year the event will be celebrating the different traditional dresses and current national dress styles. This is especially important in helping address the question of a national dress for Botswana.

However, this year the organisers have decided to bring a couple of changes to rectify the hiccups experienced at last year’s event. This comes after a number of revellers expressed displeasure towards the organisation of the event. Most of them complained about lack of coordination. The venue and the food was served late whilst others had to leave without eating.

In an interview SOTS spokesperson, Pontsho Pusoetsile said unlike in the previous years, the revellers will have to pay for their lunch. He said they have decided to engage private catering companies to cater and sell food at the event.

“The organsiers are also mindful of the feedback they got during and after the 2016 event, and are as such working around the clock to give a fresher interpretation of living the Botswana culture at the 2017 event.”

“We will from this year also not be providing lunch as part of the cover charges, but will instead be engaging private providers to cater for the event. Our patrons will as such be paying for their own lunch,” he said.

However, he pointed out that breakfast and traditional beverages will continue to be provided as part of the cover charge.

He said they believed getting in a number of proven providers to provide lunch will result in a better coordinated lunch service. Pusoetsile added that, that will also give organisers a chance to focus on ensuring the entertainment meets the patrons’ expectations.

He added that while the event will not depart from those elements of the SOTS, they will also be introducing new elements that they believe will go a long way in growing the event into the next 10 years. He said details around some of the changes will be communicated in due time. 

“One of the main changes is that the Saturday main event will be broken into distinct early morning events, mid-morning events, mid-day events, afternoon events and evening events,” he said.

Given the low uptake of the Setswana Sunday jazz throughout the years probably due to fatigue from the Saturday activities, Pusoetsile said they have decided not to host

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the Setswana Sunday Jazz this year. He however pointed out that the Pitsong Workshop and the Friday Metswaisong Evening Chillas will continue to be there in addition to the Saturday main event.

“As Bana ba Mmala we are very proud of the leadership role that Son of the Soil cultural event has been building in the cultural preservation space and we want to continue to grow this area nationally,” Pusoetsile explains.  “The Pitsong Workshop should be taken as another building block on top of the research that we have been conducting annually on cultural themes and publishing in a booklet format.”

He said the workshop will take place on February 17, 2016 at a place that will be confirmed later.

The February 24, 2017 event will be a relaxed session of mainane, maboko, song and dance. That Friday evening session, which is known as Metswaisong Evening Chillas, will be held at the same venue as the main event.

Pusoetsile said this year the main event will be broken into dikgotla (wards). The dikgotla will be designated Botswana national colours as follow; Ga-Loapi (Blue), Ga-Tshweu (White), Ga-Tshwana (Black), Ga-Sebilo (Brown) and Ntsweng (which will be a small kgotla for dignitaries and will not compete in any of the events.

“Entry into the main event will be based on the Kgotla system. Care (will) be taken to ensure a family or group of friends are assigned to the same Kgotla, except in instances where a Kgotla is fully subscribed. Sitting arrangements during the day will also be based on the Kgotla system for example all the Ga-Loapi Kgotla members will have a designated sitting area for their Kgotla,” he added.

He also said there will be cooking competition where different wards will have to display their cooking skills. However, these groups will be cooking Setswana dishes only.

During the main event, there will be activities such as playing and competition of skipping and high energy games competed for by the four dikgotla. There will also be donkey cart rides and other available donkey riding, dikhwaere, traditional dance, poetry, board games and other low energy games competitions and others.

The Friday and main events willd be held at Serokolwane Lawns in the Oodi-Matebeleng area.

Entrance fee will be P200 for adults and P50 for children under 12. Jeans will not be allowed and revellers are advised to strictly wear traditional attire. They are also advised to leave their cooler boxes in their cars.



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