In its 33 years of existence, Botswana’s annual arts gala Maitisong Festival will this year be held under the theme Kgotla Ya Badiragatsi in the quest to promote and create a local creative model hub. Maitisong Main Festival will run from April 5 - 28, 2019.
For years, the festival had been placing most of its focus on exhibiting international talent, but the festival director Tefo Paya and team have decided to develop a creative hub through the festival that has given birth to a number of productions and companies.
“For this year’s festival, we will look at nurturing our growing creative arts industry and playing our part and help it fulfil its potential. Our focus is on supporting young local artists through the festival by providing them with a platform to showcase their talents and abilities,” Paya said in an interview.
With the main focus being the creative hub, the young artistic director noted that the festival would feature different productions, art dialogues and workshops of different art fields such as song writing that will be spearheaded by the likes of Tomeletso Sereetsi. “We look forward to celebrating another year of arts promotion, raising the professional bar in the arts, launching careers and connecting Botswana artists with their international counterparts,” he said.
He noted that the creative hub model will develop conversations amongst artists that will trigger how they can develop the arts industry, collaborate and grow as art practitioners.
This time around the month-long festival will have more than 20 productions and both international and local artists will bring theatre, music, dance, poetry and comedy to the stage.
The pool of performing artists and workshop facilitators comprises old, young and upcoming artists such as Mpho Sebina, Women of Jazz, Urban Empire Dance Academy, Kingdom Arts Academy and Kabelano Theatre Investment Agency and MaP Drama Department amongst others. Another twist to the event is the comedy night that was mostly headlined by Soweto Comedy Festival comics, but local comics mostly from The Fresh Comedy Series have since replaced it.
Performing art lovers will be eyeing Mophato Dance Group, an act that had gone AWOL at the festival after captivating a number of theatre enthusiasts . They will be making their return to the Maitisong Festival Stage.
Unlike the previous editions, this year’s festival is headlined by local productions who replace big international acts. “Remember the aim for this year is to develop, so we are focussed on developing home talent and grow it further,” Paya added. This will be Paya’s second year as the event director after taking over from Gao Lemmenyane.
“With this being my second year as the festival director, I have learnt that without support and dialogue nothing can take place. I care a lot about dialogue because it speaks volumes. I have also learnt that there is no need to rush and I have to be humble”.
This year the annual Maitisong Outdoor Festival was held in Kanye for the first time. For many years, it has always been held in Old Naledi. Paya noted that the plan is to take it around the country so that everyone has an experience of Maitisong Festival.