Culture fanatics descended to the Bakwena capital on Saturday to feed their souls to a bouquet of traditional offerings that are part of the not-to-miss cultural date- Dithubaruba.
Nations meet at the Dithubaruba cultural village- where the history of Bakwena informs was once the capital, before members of the tribe relocated to Molepolole.
The event, which has proved over the years not to be just a Bakwena affair and neither limited to the Kweneng borders, saw spectators from across the southern Africa region, and also attracted Americans in the Peace Corps programme as well as Asians alike in the spirit of oneness. And the common beat that culture is.
The Bakwena’s brothers and sisters from neighbouring Namibia and South Africa also drank and feasted from the cup of cultural greatness.
The poetry, dikhwaere, setapa, phathisi, instrumental such as guitars and segaba and the tsutsube galore, were served from rich and ripe sources who quelled the spectators’ hunger for cultural entertainment.
Donning a variety of traditionally assumed attire that the German print has become, the variety and creaminess of the cultural menu proved too palatable for the audience that reciprocated in dance, ululations, hand claps and nodding heads in rhythms.
Guitar sensation, Solly Sebotso, worked his fingers magically on his best friend as he stringed among others the favourite ‘pidipidi’ to the further elate the spectators.
But it was his initial piece, which though many did not sing along to only a few remained glued to their chairs while the extra or din a ire Solly made his strings talk.
Sebongile Kgaila from Gakgatla also mesmerised the multitudes with his guitar wit as his two pieces also got culture lovers on their feet. At first he appeared to be yet another performer when one of his strings apparently broke, but his reappearance on the podium proved a complete make over as he strummed some deep sounds. Those without a doubt touched the soul of most cheerful spectators who responded pleasantly as they reciprocated to Solly’s gifted fingers.
Two siblings went against culture as they exchanged normative cultural roles. Taking after her grandfather Boipuso Leatso breathed her lioness in the spoken word. She lives, and lives culture alone. In her recitation she appealed to Kgosi Kgari to revive initiation schools in Kweneng to rekindle the Sekwena culture- through taking men and women of the ‘revered crocodile’ to their genesis. Her polished Setswana was sparkled by ululations from a rather unexpected tongue - his brother Mogorosinyana Leatso.
She says in many occasions people are always dumbstruck when she recites poetry and her young brother ululates- a role commonly ascribed and associated with females.
This duo are truly talented and a marvel to behold. It is not surprising however for them to be such precious storehouses of culture, as this is where they milked the talent from- “…motlhakola o montsho wa ga mmaseadingwana sa marumo a ntwa Rre Leatso…” this famous line is part of the two’s artistic heredity- apparently Boipuso’s grandfather- Leatso, ‘spoke’ this line.
Phathisi as the heartbeat of Mokwena, also did not fail to entertain, not on its home soil. In a unique formation, the group danced in manner-imitating cattle tied to a traditional plough as they thundered their white sound producing accessories worn around the shin and sweated in an enthralling dance.
Other traditional genres were adequately represented as well. This was truly a return to roots as the theme “Botswana Pele- Maruping Go A Boelwa” had it. Constant shouts filled the atmosphere, but only one word, an endeared word of that moment was pronounced in the air “Dithubaruba weee”. The artist who directed proceedings kept on giving the audience the power to control the festivities as he shouted “Dithuba.....” at which the spectators enthusiastically answered back, “ruba weeeee!” at the top of their voices.
Women were radiantly magnificent as they were clad in different colours, cuts and shapes of the German print and other textures that stood for this beautiful continent. Men also did their best in African inspired colours and patterns.
A sea of the traditional cuisine from kabu, serobe, diphaphata to break the fast- to seswaa, bogobe ja lerotse, logala, morogo, ditloo for lunch and mokoto served in the evening as old folks reminisced of the days of fertile land and “female rains” and the good harvest. And this was the true return, sealed with a history class from businessman David Magang on Kgosi Sechele I’s contribution to building the Bakwena nation.