The Gaborone International Music and Culture (GIMC) Week Theatre nearly felt like the climax of the biggest musical extravaganza in Botswana last weekend.
Setswana musicals, Kgosikgolo and Kgotla, the Meeting Place showcased at Westwood International School Mantlwaneng Theatre in Gaborone leaving the audience asking for more.
Held just two days after the two successful opening show – the GIMC Jazz festival and the Champagne Picnic – the GIMC Theatre was nothing short of the best entertainment. Mantlwaneng Theatre turned into a place where the two theatricals lived by a Setswana adage that says, ‘Poo ga di ke di nna pedi sakeng’ (loosely translated to mean that two bulls can never share the same kraal).
The performance of the two musicals was captivating, soothing and refreshing. While the two almost have a similar storyline in that they are musicals that tell the Setswana culture through music, dance, poetry and drama, it became clear that Kgosikgolo got everyone talking at the end of the show.
It left a mark on the audience despite the audience consisting of people of different races and backgrounds on the night. Indeed, the musical lived up to it’s billing.
The theatre musical play, which is performed by Tswana Sanctified Voices is a celebration of Setswana culture with a special focus on the activities taking place around a paramount chief through song, dance and acting. It tells the story of a young prince named Thobo who is about to succeed his late father Tsogang and all the preparations
The musical celebrates activities that are proudly and uniquely Setswana like letsema, letsholo, dikgafela, lenyalo amongst others. It’s a narration of deceit, plots, hatred, reconciliations and victories experienced by most royal families. It shows activities done in a community set up.
The troupe of talented and energetic youth successfully kept their audience captivated with a beautiful, well-composed and directed musical. In the performance instruments, objects, artefacts and spaces associated with cultural expressions and practices are all included to depict cultural heritage.
Kgotla: The Meeting Place, which is a theatrical music rendition performed by 18 youthful performers did not disappoint either.
The musical is a narration of traditional theatre performances, which mostly combine a little bit of acting, and a lot of singing. The music takes you through different days of life in a Kgotla.
The musical theatre is produced and directed by Andy Batshogile, through his company Southring Road Media, which also collaborated with other local artists such as Poetess Phopho as the narrator while percussions were handled by Lucky Ramoloko and Dingalo Mpolaisi, while Lamech Nwako’s fingers nibbled the piano, resulting in a beautiful melodies as accompaniment. All-in-all the show and the well-captivating musicals reflected that while many forms of performing arts are under threat today due to cultural practices becoming standardised, there is still a survival chance for musical theatre.