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Dwindling Domboshaba bothers Kalanga elders

Khara Khoen Cultural group performing Namstap dance dance during the 2017 Domboshava cultural festival PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: The Domboshaba cultural festival that has been the toast of the Ikalanga culture is on a declining spiral and that worries the Bakalanga elders.

The 18th edition of the celebrations was held on October 1st at the usual venue at the foot of the Dombosahaba hills. The festival was held under the theme: ‘Preserving Bakalanga culture for the present and future generations’.

The annual festival is organised by the Domboshaba Cultural Trust (DCT). This year’s edition attracted small numbers of cohorts and the continuing declining numbers is a threat to the existence of the festival, which has left the Bakalanga elders discontented. Performing groups are also on decline with this edition attracting a few cultural groups.

A Namastap group, Khara Khoen cultural group from Lekgwabe in Kgalagadi, Francistown SOS marimba group, a few poets, Ndingo Johwa, Culture Spears and a Hosana group graced the festival.

The afternoon ceremony that is the heartbeat of the cultural celebrations is the most affected with a little over 100 people mostly elders and a handful of the youth turning up.

The nightlife however is still appealing to the youth and had managed to attract a good turnout although the numbers are also declining. The guest speaker at the festival, Edwin Matenge, said the event was held with much fanfare but it has become complacent in the past few years.

He said the decline could be attributed to a variety of factors but singled out the board as the weak link. He said part of the problem is the lack of commitment by some members of

the Board of the Trust that seem to be plagued by the insignificant participation by stakeholders.

He said the leadership of the board could do with a change and an infusion of the youth to resuscitate the dying festival and make it relevant to the young ones.

“We have given birth to this child and we must shake our bones to raise this child,” he said. “I think there may be a major problem with the running of the affairs of the Domboshaba festival by the current board. 

“The board must prepare for a general meeting at which elections can be held in order to bring a new leadership that has a blend of the old and the young.” He also decried lack of support from the government. He said previously the festival was held in high regard and government officials attended as they do with other big festivals across the country but that was not the case with the past event.

The DCT board secretary, Smarts Shabane said lack of substantial growth of the event will remain a challenge if the attendance does not serve the purpose. “Substantial growth is not those who come to pass time without embracing the significance of the festival. Growth to us is getting people who come to enjoy as well as learn about the culture and traditions, and spread what they have learnt to others,” he said.




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