Domboshaba Festival grows in leaps and bounds

Updated: October 5, 2014
by Maureen Odubeng, reprinted from MmegiOnline
Domboshaba Cultural Festival continues to grow in leaps and bounds. This year the cultural spectacle promises to live up to its reputation of giving the audience a rich display of Kalanga culture and heritage.
  • One of the activities at the previous Domboshaba Cultural Festival

The annual cultural festival is scheduled to take place from September 26 to 28, 2014.  Since its inception in 2000 Domboshaba Cultural Festival has become one of the notable events in the local calendar of events.  It has won the hearts of many Batswana, who either enjoy the IKalanga entertainment, food, or simply want to learn about the culture and heritage.

Over the years the festival has managed to bring Bakalanga together to celebrate their culture and heritage, while sharing with people from other tribes who take the time to attend the festival.

Entertainment will be galore leaning more towards cultural music and dance, while not excluding performers from other tribes.

The festival will also have plenty of mouthwatering Kalanga dishes, as well as teachings on the culture.

Member of Domboshaba Cultural Trust events management committee, Chigedze Chinyepi, said that while the festival promotes the history and culture of Bakalanga, it is not discriminatory in nature.

Chinyepi said that the festival accommodates people from other tribes.

“As much as the festival promotes our history and culture, we want people from other tribes to attend so that they can learn more about Bakalanga,” she said.

She explained that for the past four years a number of University of Botswana students doing culture studies have been attending the event, with the purpose of gaining knowledge about Bakalanga.

She said the event amongst others targets the youth, so that they do not loose touch with their culture and language.

Giving a bit of information on what transpires during the festival Chinyepi said they do site visits, of some of the notable heritage sites.

She said last year during the festival they toured the Ba-ka Nswazwi Royal Cemetery, a site which depicts the history of Bakalanga during the time of Bangwato regent, Kgosi Tshekedi Khama.

Conflict between Tshekedi and the then chief of Bakalanga ba-ka Nswazwi, John Madawu Nswazwi is said to have started in 1926.  Nswazwi and his people are said to have defied the orders of Tshekedi Khama, which led to Bakalanga ba-ka-Nswazwi being punished by the Ngwato regent.

Some accounts state that the Bangwato regiment constructed kraals and made ba-ka-Nswazwi pay their tax before releasing them.

Some say that there were no physical kraals but that the ba-ka-Nswazwi were rounded up in groups and made to pay.

Whatever the case, the kraaling incident ended with the death of a pregnant woman Luvano Mpapho.

Some detractors of Tshekedi claim that the man personally built and kraaled the Bakalanga.  The heritage site offers opportunity to those who want to know the details of what transpired during the era.

This year, the tour will head to Gandanyemba in Nlapkhwane, which has remains of grinderies, used in the olden days. The tour will start the festival on September 26.

After the tour attendees will be treated to a night around the fire, in Marobela, where the audience will be treated to story telling and IKalanga poetry.

A number of traditional games will also be played.

The main event will take place this month at Domboshaba Cultural site, and will have speakers, who for the most part, will align their speeches with the theme ‘Local Languages for Global Citizenship’.

The day will also have entertainment by a variety of performers including Kalanga performers Bayei, and Basarwa amongst others.

Performers will include Bana Ba Ntobgwa, and a number of traditional groups. The day will end with a music festival billed for Domboshaba Lodge.

On Sunday there will be the FNB Foundation Nswazwi Marathon, which will start from Tjizwina Post Office and end at Makuta junction.

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