September 20, 2017 is the opening date of Maru A Pula, a highly anticipated photography exhibition by photographer and author, THALEFANG CHARLES at Thapong Visual Arts Centre in Gaborone. In this piece Charles briefly explains the motivation behind the exhibition
I have learnt that rain is the most important event in our land. We are the people of the desert and in order for us to tame the harsh Kalahari, we have learnt to spend months, waiting, hoping and praying for good rains.
Pula (rain) is so essential that it is our national motto and our currency too. And at some deep Setswana traditional events like patlo during the marriage process, ‘pula’ is also used as a greeting by the pleading groom’s delegation party.
September, (Botswana’s independence month) is the month of new clouds. It is a period when my people begin to expectantly watch the sky and prepare for rain as the clouds start to gather and promise rain.
During this month Batswana say “Maru a a lwala” (clouds are sick) hence the month is called
I therefore found it fitting that on this month of the ‘sick clouds’ I present ‘Maru A Pula’, an exhibition about my long fascination with rain clouds and my continuing journey of finding and defining ‘What does it mean to be Motswana?’
This is an exhibition that will help to highlight the significance of rain clouds to Batswana. It is an exhibition that will endeavour to preset an artist’s view of Maru A Pula as well as an academic view of pula.
University of Botswana academic Prof. Thapelo Otlogetswe who is also an author of Setswana dictionary Tlhalosi Ya Medi Ya Setswana will present a paper around the Maru A Pula theme at the opening ceremony.
The exhibition will open at 6.30pm on September 20, at the Thapong Visual Arts Centre in Gaborone.