The annual Maitisong festival is back with a bang. The festival is scheduled for April 22 to 26 at different venues around Gaborone.
Maitisong Festival Director, Gao Lemmenyane, said revellers will be spoiled for choice, with an exciting line-up, and a variety of events around town. “There will be free shows and paid shows to ensure that money is not an inhibiting factor. Botswana’s own artistes who have achieved international acclaim are billed to perform at this year’s festival. The international award winning Game ‘Zeus’ Bantsi will ‘bring it home’ to the Maitisong stage, the same stage that has contributed to the international award-winning artist that he is now,” he said.
He further said Botswana’s Broadway export, Donald Molosi, would premier his acclaimed theatre production Today It’s Me. Based on the life story of the Ugandan musician Philly Bongole Lutaaya. The musical tells a story of courage and determination, which saved multitudes of people.
Lutaaya was the first famous personality to publicly declare his HIV-positive status. He said the educational play is relevant to Botswana because the HIV infection rate in Botswana is on the rise.
International jazz sensation Bhudaza will thrill revellers, alongside The Metrophones at Molapo Piazza, and other artists to wrap up the festival.
“This will be supported by the CAFCA Orchestra and Tshwane Orchestra from Pretoria, South Africa and Botswana’s Tsholofelo Foundation Orchestra. This is a true family event where you can come to the sprawling venue that is Molapo Piazza with your family, with your picnic basket to enjoy the music. Addition to this is a memorable shopping experience offered by the many outlets at Molapo Crossing,” he said.
Lemmenyane added that there would be two outdoor stages; one at Maitisong and another at Thapong, which would be a hive of activity with live music, poetry and comedy.
He said Dasha Kelly, poet and writer from the United States of America would feature at this year’s Maitisong Festival. He said Kelly would be running workshops and performing alongside TJ Dema, Berry Heart, Leshy Lovesong and many more local poets.
“The flagship Old Naledi Outdoor Music Show is one of the activities that will be taking place during the festival. This event is popular because it gives the community a chance to interact with their stars, whilst at the same time giving new artists the exposure to be recognised by the community,” he said.
Lemmenyane spoke of how the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture continues to support the festival financially.
They injected the much-needed financial support, which enabled the festival to continue. He said it is through the U.S Embassy in Botswana was bringing that Dasha Kelly would be a part of the Festival, noting how the embassy supports the poetry and writing workshops, which are an essential part of the festival.
“The festival will take place at different venues: Maru a Pula School, the newly renovated Thapong Visual Art Centre, Mantlwaneng at Westwood International School and Botho University. The uniqueness of each of these venues provides flexibility,” he said. He said they offer packages to suit everyone’s pocket. Students with valid student cards and block bookings will receive discounted rates. He added that young professionals, mature and elderly art lovers have a chance to save with special venue packages.
He said for each venue there is a special rate, which would allow individuals access to all the shows. “For all Maitisong shows you pay only P500. Thapong P250 and Mantlwaneng P150. For an all access ticket, you pay only P1,000 and you will receive a festival t-shirt and a cap as well as unlimited access to all the festival events. Ticket prices range from P30 to P250,” he said. Free shows are scheduled for different times on the outdoor stages at Maitisong and Thapong.