Dintorokong Choir wins Southern Region dikhwaere competition

Sedibelo Choir from Mochudi got position two with 83% PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Sedibelo Choir from Mochudi got position two with 83% PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

On Saturday morning, 11 choirs from the Southern Region of Botswana gathered at the Ramotswa Showgrounds to compete for this year's traditional choirs (dikhwaere) competition as part of the National Art Festival activities.

Dintorokong Choir represented Kweneng District very well as they were crowned this year's dikhwaere champions after scoring 88%. The choir was no stranger to scooping the first position during the dikhwaere competition as they previously won the same competition back in 2017. It must have won the judges’ hearts by composing a song that resonated well with the theme as per the requirement from the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture. Their attire and dance formation were also splendid. This year's National Arts Festival was themed, "Tlhabololo ya itsholelo ka botaki le bodiragatsi", meaning the contribution of the arts industry in boosting the country's economy. During the competition, many choirs sang about the beauty of the Setswana culture and how traditional songs and arts could help in boosting the country's economy. Some pointed out that the country relied on natural resources to sustain itself while some sang about how exporting meat by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to European countries played a role in boosting the country's economy. Others sang of how diamond mining also contributed towards boosting the country's economy. They also highlighted that it was through local diamonds that we see beautiful diamond jewellery such as rings and necklaces crafted. Furthermore, they sang about the importance of preserving the Setswana culture and heritage. Each choir was allowed to sing one song.

Meanwhile, Sedibelo Choir from Mochudi got position two with 83%. The choir came prepared for a win as even its attire was superb. Badiragatsi Choir also from Mochudi who were last year's champions spiced up their appearance and their performance with seditse (made from horses tail), which they used to whip on the air while dancing. The choir got the venue that was noisy at the time and the venue quickly turned quiet as everyone was curious to see what made them last year's champions. Their magnificent performance got the audience cheering.

Badiragatsi Choir from Mochudi. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Badiragatsi Choir from Mochudi. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Lesedi Choir from Gabane scooped position four with 74%t and Mokwepa choir from Molepolole scooped position five with 73%. Nyaphiri from Mabutsane, founded in 1985, entered competition in 2009 for the first time and got position six. They later tried their luck for the second time and got position nine and in their third attempt of winning the competition, they got position six again. They still tried their luck and unfortunately did not make it to the top five. BTC from Letlhakeng was no stranger to these competitions as they previously tried to scoop the first position with no luck. Dinale choir from Moshupa, which was formed in 1925, was the choir's first time partaking in the competitions. They became a generational choir as the grandchildren took it over as years passed by. They came in prepared and dressed for the occasion. On the other hand, Tsunami Choir also from Moshupa tried their luck for the first time last year and scooped position five. They went back to try again with no luck. Formed in 1989, Vultures from Kanye is no stranger to the competition. They participated for a couple years and even scooped position three at some point. Other choirs that took part in the competition include Matlapa a Leloto also famed as Lontone from Mochudi, Bothakga Choir from Mabutsane and Bana ba Kgwale from Ramotswa.

According to one of the judges, Keith Bafentse, most choirs represented themselves very well. The attire, formation and everything else was fine but most choirs failed to deliver the message they were assigned to through their songs. He said most of the choirs sung about something else whilst some tried to deliver the message as per the theme given to them but decided to deliver their own message instead of adhering to what they were assigned to. He also said due to the wind, they could barely hear the message delivered by some choirs saying he was confident they could have done better if they sang a bit louder. He also said it looked like most choirs were not free to perform as they do when performing at different stages giving the audience the true and beautiful traditional dikhwaere feeling. He added that some even infused setapa, tsutsube and other local traditional dance moves into their dances saying that would kill the originality of dikhwaere.

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In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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