With the Botswana culture slowly chaffing away and losing its value on the local front, It’s not so for Kgabo-Sereto Traditional Dance Troupe.
The ensemble has an answer to that problem. Dominic Seabelo, Kgotso Masila, Thabiso Rankaba and Baboloki Mogolole founded the Thamaga-based group in 2007.
After contending in the President’s Day Celebrations competitions since 2010 in the tsutsube category where they were crowned champions in 2015 and 2017 respectively, they are now taking their craft to the international stage to showcase their art. “We went on a European tour for a cultural exchange programme on the 23rd of June this year,” the group’s director Masila said.
He explained that the tour was part of the International Council of Organisations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF) programme, which they registered for online. They were a team of 20 people consisting of one director, a choreographer and 18 dancers.
Masila said the website has a myriad of festivals of which they chose three to take part in after which they had to raise funds to attend the festivals. Regarding the issue of raising funds, Masila said that it was tough raising funds on their own but they managed due to the support they got from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, the Netherlands community and individuals who made contributions.
Their first stop was Netherlands where they performed at
He said they had to stay with families in Netherlands and were ultimately given financial assistance by the director of the festival, David Ramon Kloosterhuis who organised a community fundraiser for the group’s travels.
They also performed in Poland at two festivals namely the international folk festival ‘Polka’ and the international folks meetings Malopolska where they stayed in a boarding school before returning home on July 22.
“People have an appreciation for our culture and I believe they want to see more of it,” he said.
He said this was due to the uniqueness of Botswana culture in that they did not engage the use of musical instruments in most of their dances and activities. He said they performed tsutsube, selete, phatisi, hosanna, dikhwaere and some Setswana games at the festivals.
Masila called on parents to encourage their children to participate in extracurricular activities in order to have something to rely on in the event academics is not a turn of mind for them.
He said due to their engagement in traditional dance they have been able to gain international exposure and experienced the joys of travelling abroad.