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Morogo-Wa-Ngwana takes on Korean cultural fest

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Morogo wa ngwana
While many dance groups in the country are taking their talent to the world stage, the latest is a Ramotswa-based ensemble called Morogo-Wa-Ngwana currently in South Korea for the Cheonan World Dance Festival.

The masters of setapa dance will compete against other countries in the international competition in the semi-finals stage today.

The Cheonan World Dance Festival, which is one of the biggest annual festivals in Korea, celebrates the traditional dances, songs and costumes of Korea. Tomorrow Morogo-Wa-Ngwana will perform at the World Dance Performance alongside other groups from countries like China, South Africa, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Georgia,  Indonesia, Turkey and Poland.

Visitors would also get the chance to attend a reenactment of a Korean traditional wedding. 

The Cheonan World Dance Festival attracts some of the best dancers from around the world where they come together to display modern and folk dance of various cultures. Morogo-Wa-Ngwana general secretary, Oteng Mantirisi told Arts & Culture that they have sent 20 members of their group to the competition.

 “In the weeks prior to this competition we have been rehearsing and we are confident that we would make the country proud,” he said. Mantirisi said as a group that was founded in 2004 they have come a long way in promoting Setswana culture through dance, therefore they

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will continue doing so in Korea. “We always go for the setapa category because it is our greatest strength. We are Balete so our dance has not yet reached the mainstream,” he said. 

Mantirisi said however in Korea they would incorporate other dances like tsutsube, phathisi, dikhwaere and seperu.

He said they have managed to work with a group from Gumare that specialises in seperu dance.

Mantirisi said so many groups rely on the President’s Day competitions, but as a group they have tried to move away from that route.

“Our vision is to find sponsors so we hope this trip to Korea will attract investors to come on board,” he said.  He added that they want to document Botswana’s culture and also create a platform for learning.

Morogo-Wa-Ngwana is the national champion of setapa dance, having won the category at this year’s President’s Day competitions. Between 2013 and 2015, the group won in the setapa category at the same competition. In 2013, the group travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to perform at the country’s 50th independence anniversary and cultural week.



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