Slater honoured for performing arts mentoring


Talented pianist David Slater,at the helm of Maitisong for close to 20 years, was this week honoured with the best award in mentoring (performing arts) at the President’s Day Competitions (PDC).

The legendary Bra John Selolwane received the gong last year.

Slater retired from Maitisong in 2007 after turning the festival into the biggest arts gatherings in Botswana. 

During his tenure, Slater became synonymous with Maitisong. He then left to become an accomplished piano-tuner. Since the festival’s inception in 1987, Slater did a great job with the it, as it brought life to the city with outdoor festivals held at Old Naledi and other places in Gaborone.

It is perhaps befitting for Slater to receive this award as he had managed to offer young Batswana a chance to get onto the stage and pursue their dreams.

 Besides nurturing talent, Slater’s Maitisong Festival attracted international acts that have featured at the festival including the Grammy award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cape Town Ballet, Johannesburg Orchestra, Sibongile Khumalo, Abdulla Ibrahim, Regis Gizavo and the legendary Zimbabwean guitarist Louis Mhlanga just to mention but a few.

He also managed to get big sponsors to jump in and help grow Maitisong.  Slater came to Botswana in 1976 to teach Mathematics and Physics at Maruapula School (MAP).

He taught at the school for a number of years before former principal, David Mathews came up with an idea to build a theatre. It has been more than a decade since Slater retired and the festival has lost its shine.

Gradually, the festival is losing its title as the biggest arts festival in the country.

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