Boteti cultural outfit celebrates diversity

Residents of Boteti sub-district will showcase their cultural richness at a festival billed for May 22-24.

The place is a home to a number of tourism attraction sites, which include Lake Xau, Boteti River and a gateway to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Okavango Delta.

 The festival celebrates the differences and similarities found among the many tribal groupings in the 19 villages that make up the area.  Event founder and chairperson, Leteng Segaise, told Arts & Culture that the cultural outfit would showcase traditional food, music and entertainment, attire and the history of Boteti.  Boteti communities have culturally lived a pastoral farming lifestyle, supplemented by crop production carried especially along the Boteti riverbank.  Fishing was another crucial source of livelihood.

 Segaise said the purpose of the cultural event is to tap on each other’s ways of doing life, and to unite the differences found in the sub-district.  “The primary reason was to celebrate and preserve our culture for posterity.  Yet, the overarching reason was the realisation that due to the fact that Boteti is home to diverse tribal groupings, there was a need to bring the people together in order to appreciate and celebrate the uniqueness of our cultures, and to live harmoniously as one people,” Segaise said.

Held for the second year now, the event will be hosted at Rakops kgotla.  Initially, the cultural celebration was held in August, but lack of traditional food during that month has led to the shift to May, since there was harvest in store at that time.

“Besides food and dance, we will have an orator giving a lecturer on the history of the Boteti river since it flows through Rakops village,” he said.  Themed ‘Motswana Iphuthe Metlhala Akola Lobebe La Ngwao’, Segaise said his bigger assignment was to get elders into the identity debate, to collectively agree on how the diverse tribes could be identified as one.  He explained that the theme was driven from the vastness of the sub-district as “we have sort of lost our identity”.

“Like I said, part of the cultural day’s main objective is to find a unifying thread,” he emphasised.

 Another highlight of the festivities would be the cultural night, featuring senior citizens in an exhibit of how their entertainment life was in the olden days. A fashion show parading traditional attire among others Herero dress and leteisi (German print), as well as traditional music and songs would be lined up.   Segaise promised that this would be an annual event, with the aim of hosting it in each of the villages in the sub-district in an endeavour to familiarise residents with the area, and the cultures there.

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