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.

Domboshaba Festival and Tour

Updated: January 28, 2014

The theme of this year’s Kalanga cultural festival in Domboshaba, Botswana was ‘Ikalanga kutanga’ (Kalanga first).

The representatives of Zimbabwe’s Kalanga Language & Cultural Development Association (Tshidzanani Malaba, Arnold Hlomani and Mr Stonehouse Maphosa) attended on September 27 and had the opportunity to go on an executive tour where they were driven to Tjizwina village (now written as Sebina in Setswana).

Domboshaba officials said the name corruption is causing a lot of unease to the locals. In the same locality there is a BB1 (Botswana Boarder 1) old detention room which was used by the Bamangwato to imprison baKalanga who were not willing to submit to their rule in 1940s.

Also part of the tour was ‘Mpani waSeretse’, an ancient tree where Seretse Khama used to take a rest whenever he was in buKalanga area. He used to carry out campaigns among the baKalanga people. The tree was however burnt to ashes in 2011 when government workers protested for salary increment to the current government of Ian Khama.

Nearby is Makuta Village which was a trade centre for baKalanga and the San community. The word “kuta” means to look sad. The name came about because the traders could not communicate with each other due to language barrier between tjiKalanga and the San language.

Traders would sit there quietly until they could identify fellow traders with products of interest. Sign language would be used to seal deal. The San community traded biltong, wild animal hides and wild fruits while baKalanga would trade off grain and tools.

The tour then proceeded to Nswazwi Royal Cemetery where the history of the Nswazwi people was explained dating from 1940s.  Some of the places toured are an ancient cattle kraal and first London Missionary Society School.

The group also saw a natural well called Mantenge an ancient and sacred well which remarkably formed in a granite rock, and is claimed to be home of a legendary spiritual snake ‘nkabayile’.  The well is believed to be 7 to 30 meters deep and it is also suspected to have a horizontal channel that goes under the surface granite.

After the tour, came the main event of the day, the festival, where there was an exhibition of a variety of Kalanga cultural dances, poems, songs and drama. The guest speaker was from University of Botswana, Professor Prof Lydia Nyati-Saleshando.

In her speech she emphasized the need to promote local languages in child development. She hails from marginalized language as well in Botswana and she has been pivotal in voicing for the promotion of marginalized languages even at United Nations forums.

It was made clear that since 1972 Botswana does not allow the teaching of Kalanga language or any other local language in schools except Setswana.

The gathering also assessed the progress made in the promotion of Ikalanga in the past in Botswana. It indicated that there was very little progress from government which has shown no signs of cooperation.

It was also noted that Botswana government has not ratified any United Nations conventions on the promotion of marginalized languages and was not willing to do so.

It was then resolved in part that government must be taken to court over the teaching and learning of Kalanga.

Mr T. Malaba was given the opportunity to speak about how far Zimbabwe has gone constitutionally in recognising minority languages including Kalanga. He outlined the successes of KLCDA ever since it was formed.

These successes include the writing of Kalanga primary books, Zimbabwe constitution written in Kalanga, organising and hosting of cultural festivals and the promotion and recognition of Kalanga language by the Zimbabwean government.

The festival ended with a mouth-watering feast of traditional Kalanga dishes and a little bit of modern food.



Another look at Domboshaba Cultural Festival and Bakalanga heritage (Part II)

Updated: September 27, 2013

by Bawumbe wa Chiwidi, Sunday Standard

This article provides further discussion on the Domboshaba Cultural Festival and Bakalanga heritage. Admittedly, this discussion appears to have angered some people, particularly those who do not subscribe to open dialogue, criticism and alternative views on how we need to organize, manage and develop the diverse heritage of Bukalanga.

I have read the rebuttal article authored by one Kangangwani Phatshwane in which he tried to address pertinent issues regarding Domboshaba festival covered in the article I put forward about 3 weeks ago. The views expressed by his rejoinder article on Domboshaba Cultural Trust’s (DCT) poor event, organisation and management skills evident in the last festival are not convincing at all. To set the record straight, the views expressed in the article entitled ‘Another look at Domboshaba Festival and Bakalanga Heritage’ are consistent with those forwarded by many youth in various Bakalanga social network groups that discuss and share Bakalanga history, culture, language and other issues.

Lamentations and utter disappointment among some youth expressed in these social networks and concerns of the majority of Bakalanga elders (as mentioned in the introductory article) provides motivation to continue this discussion. As an optimistic and patriotic Nkalanga, I am not going to fold my arms and wish for the best from Domboshaba Cultural Trust or any organisation that shows signs of derailment in the holistic pursuit to promote, develop and preserve our cultural heritage. Like the majority of the youth who are unshaken in their conviction that the Trust is not doing certain things right, I remain untainted by Kangangwani Phatshwane’s sarcastic personal response. I consider his views personal as his rejoinder article fails or omits any relationship he has with Domboshaba Cultural Trust. I hope that such omission is intentional and does not reflect personalization of the Trust to such an extent that he no longer sees the difference between himself and the DCT. As such, I will continue to critique and condemn, where necessary, unpopular decisions and approaches consistent in the organisation and management of Domboshaba festival. Alternative views regarding how Bakalanga heritage should be managed need to be taken seriously.

My substitute views of Domboshaba festival should not be regarded as a total dismissal of those who are organizing the event only. Instead, it reflects that I recognize the invaluable input made by all those who have been instrumental in the development of the Domboshaba festival from its infantry to where it stands today. I have no doubt that it is by far one of the largest cultural festivals conducted in Botswana. I appreciate that this festival stands out to show the need to promote and pride ourselves with our unique cultural heritage as different ethnic groups making up this nation.

If this festival was not at this advanced stage of development, I would not waste my precious time providing insights and advice on what needs to be done to achieve better results. Kangangwani Phatshwane and all those who found part 1 of these articles too negative and inconsiderate should subscribe to the views offered by Kabajan Sam Kaunda’s article titled Criticism and Opposition : critical premises for progress – Part 1, which was published in the Sunday Standard newspaper of August 18 -24, 2013.

Kaunda’s article stands out to support my view that the diversity of the Bakalanga heritage (as opined in my last article) warrants an opportunity for alternative ways of doing things. I am duty bound to remind those who shudder at the slightest mention of their inadequacies that questioning, dismissal or providing dissident opinion should not allow them to believe that such criticism is aimed at destroying them. Members of Domboshaba Cultural Trust should open up to all sorts of criticism, irrespective of whether it is constructive, destructive or instructive in nature. As leaders in the organisation of a cultural festival in which Bakalanga wish to showcase and appreciate their cultural heritage, they should learn to develop a thick skin that tolerates criticism. By eliminating their obvious phobia of being criticized openly and being emotional about how much effort they put in volunteering for the festival, they can certainly register progress and yield better results.

In the last article, I raised concern over lack of development at the Domboshaba cultural grounds and mentioned that there is little progress in terms of development at the site apart from few Ikalanga traditional huts and the wooden fence or bhakasa as it is locally known. By raising this issue, I was not suggesting misappropriation of funds as Phatshwane seems to believe. I was purely making an open and obvious statement that DCT needs to think outside the box. They obviously need to find alternative ways of raising funds for developing the cultural village. They also need to come up with other progressive initiatives that can help Bakalanga realize tangible benefits from sustainable development and management of their cultural heritage. The current physical outlook of the Domboshaba cultural festival location demeans the importance of the otherwise rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage of Bukalanga.

DCT needs to realize that Domboshaba festival is not identical to Bakalanga cultural heritage. In my mentioning of the 1000-year-old development of this culture, I wanted to highlight that the 13-year-old Domboshaba festival is certainly not the first cultural ceremony held by Bakalanga. Its existence today is simply a platform aimed at perpetuating certain aspects of Bakalanga heritage that were begun by our ancestors in Bukalanga as far back in time as 1000 years ago.

One cannot help but wonder why I should not be worried when the festival has now turned into a commercial centre where stalls that should be focusing on promoting Ikalanga culture are reserved for government organisations, NGOs and few individuals? Is it sensible for instance to chase away a small scale Nkalanga craftsman selling wooden spoons, bowls, pestles and mortars who needs to sell his craft inside the Domboshaba yard and invite Phafana beer company just because they can pay amounts that are required for putting up a stall? How many craft producers do we support at the annual Domboshaba festival?

If DCT and any other Bakalanga pride ourselves with our delele, thopi, mashonja, bhobola, tjimoni, swaye, dhobi and zembgwe, why does DCT prefer established companies like Curry Pot to continue to serve modernized versions of these dishes at the festival when we can support a group of Bakalanga women to produce original menus and sell at the festival? This is certainly a better way of ensuring tangible benefits to a wider group of Bakalanga than a situation where one individual is favoured at the expense of the majority. Does DCT have an answer as to why it has to engage Curry Pot catering company which is owned by the area’s Member of Parliament and fail to develop means of empowering ordinary Bakalanga women and even youth?

Kangangwani Phatshwane and DCT need to own up to the demands and aspirations of the modern day Bakalanga. Modern day cultural activists do not pride themselves on organising well attended festivals only. They go beyond that and find means through which they can develop, promote and sustainably utilise cultural heritage for the benefit of their communities. In the last article, I asked several rhetorical questions which were intended to help DCT and its committee to look at Bakalanga heritage beyond ndazula, woso, iperu, poetry and singing the National Anthem in Ikalanga. These are of course necessary, but should no longer be worried about their survival now. We need to focus on helping ordinary Bakalanga benefit from their cultural heritage.

We are tired of seeing a parade of University of Botswana (UB) academics at Domboshaba festival. The irony of this display is that while a majority of them spend a considerable amount of their careers in high and influential positions in this country, they do pretty little or nothing at all during those careers to drive the course of promoting critical matters such as the need to teach Ikalanga language in Bukalanga schools and development of Bukalanga at large.

Is it not ironical that it is only now that a group of retired Bakalanga are waking up to the fact that despite the high positions of influence they held for so long in the country, they failed to help develop Bukalanga? The UB scholars should be reminded as early as now that Domboshaba festival is not an academic gathering like a graduation ceremony where they are expected to be at the helm.
The festival is about promoting (not teaching) Ikalanga culture. My advice to them is to avoid falling in the trap of the ‘elders’ who recently petitioned the Office of the President to complain about a lack of certain developments that they clearly failed to facilitate during their prime time when they were still at the helm.

The academics should consider forgetting about their lust to be Masters of Ceremonies at the festival and organize academically oriented conferences on Ikalanga language, culture, history and other life challenges affecting Bakalanga. The last conference of this kind was held in October 14 and 15 1989 at the Civic Centre in Francistown. Since Bakalanga children born on this date have graduated from some of the courses they teach at the UB, they too need to graduate from their MC roles at Domboshaba and concern themselves with providing relevant answers to the development and management of culture of Bakalanga.

* Bawumbe wa Chiwidi is a pseudonym for a concerned Nkalanga

Domboshaba cultural festival and Bakalanga Heritage: A rejoinder

Updated: September 27, 2013

by Kangangwani Phatshwane, Sunday Standard

Domboshaba Cultural Trust (DCT) wishes to respond to an article (titled Another look at Domboshaba cultutral festival and Bakalanga heritage – Part 1) which appeared in the Sunday Standard of 11 – 17 August 2013 authored by a concerned Nkalanga using a pseudonym, Bawumbe wa Chiwidi.

DCT welcomes open debate as the author of the said article himself acknowledges allocation of time for an open forum at the annual Domboshaba Festival of Culture and History (DFCH), so-named deliberately in recognition of the significance of the pre-colonial Domboshaba Ruins in Bakalanga heritage. However, DCT wishes to correct inaccuracies and innuendoes which if left uncorrected might cause unnecessary discord among Bakalanga as well as besmirch the good name of the festival.

The formation of DCT was formally endorsed by traditional and community leaders at a well-attended and representative meeting in August 2005. Ever since all Bakalanga traditional leaders have been invited to annual general meetings of the Trust and have two ex-officio representatives on the board of trustees. In fact DCT has received significant support from traditional leaders across Bukalanga. DCT, therefore, finds Bawumbe’s claims of ‘rising levels of dissatisfaction by traditional leaders and communities…’ absurd given that the traditional leaders and communities referred to are free (and in fact encouraged) to participate in different fora of DCT.

The insinuation that DFCH is of little benefit to Bakalanga is also not accurate. The festival provides and will continue to provide a forum for the expression of Bakalanga culture and heritage. In addition, the festival has inspired many cultural festivals across Botswana, which in DCT’s considered view is a significant contribution. The direct and indirect spend arising from the annual festival events is significant to both formal and informal businesses most of which are either owed by or employ locals.

The festival was started by volunteers, continues to be organised by volunteers and adopted a organic model where initial resources to organise it were raised by the community of Bakalanga, until it grew to a level where sponsors could be brought on board. DCT remains a non – profit organisation whose financial statements are open for discussion at annual general meetings. The suggestion by Bawumbe that the festival is ‘turning into a commercial consortium’ is inaccurate and misleading. Another inaccuracy by Bawumbe is the assumption that the festival makes large amounts of money from gate takings and the sale of memorabilia. The fact is these two sources of income contribute less that the total cost of hosting the festival, which cost stands at just under P200 000 per annum.

Bawumbe raises a concern over the treatment of informal traders and suggests that there ought to be freedom of exchange like there was in pre-colonial Bukalanga. While he has got a point, the reality is that most traders attracted by the festival present not to sell traditional craft and Kalanga food (both of which are encouraged by DCT) but clear beer carried in deep freezers. The main challenge has been the attendant littering, the offence such littering causes to local authorities and the burden it places on DCT to clean up.

DCT’s mandate as correctly quoted by Bawumbe is the promotion of Bakalanga culture and language, mainly but not only for the people who have been living in that area of Botswana for more than a 1 000 years. To DCT’s knowledge, there is no division among Bakalanga save that some live west and others east of the Shashe River within the Central and North East Districts respectively but are in fact governed by the same laws of Botswana and therefore challenged in equal measure by any weaknesses in such laws and their administration, whether there are colonial or post-colonial in origin.

However, the culture of Bakalanga east and west of Shashe is identical as the culture had existed for centuries before the more recent administrative boundary demarcations in 1895. The suggestion by Bawumbe that for the purpose of promoting Bakalanga culture and language, these Bakalanga communities be treated differently or that DCT is insensitive to their location differences and/or as to whom they pay allegiance is also patently as absurd as it is shortsighted.

In conclusion, we acknowledge that community engagement could be intensified but remain confident that Bakalanga and other stakeholders recognise the significance of Domboshaba festival and will continue to support it. Could more progress have been made? Yes. To realise even faster progress, DCT invites all interested, including Bawumbe wa Chiwindi, to attend DCT’s annual general meetings, and influence and support the development and promotion of Bakalanga culture and language, submitting ideas that can be tested at such meetings for relevance, appropriateness and feasibility in pursuance of the DCT’s mandate.

Another look at Domboshaba cultural festival and Bakalanga heritage

Updated: September 27, 2013

by Bawumbe wa Chiwidi, repr. Sunday Standard

This paper provides a critique of the Domboshaba Festival of Culture and History. The opinions raised here result from a critical evaluation of objectives of Domboshaba Cultural Trust, the chief proponent and organisers of the cultural festival and general intentions of the event itself.

The need for this evaluation is compelled by sceptical reports, rising levels of dissatisfaction by traditional leaders and communities of Bukalanga at large on the future of what is arguably one of the largest cultural festivals in Botswana. In general, there is a public outcry that apart from a few traditional Kalanga huts built at the famous site where the festival is held annually, there is absolutely nothing more to show that this festival is of benefit to Bakalanga.

This is despite large amounts of money generated annually through gate takings, selling of various Kalanga regalia and even funds that are brought in through sponsorships and event donations. Many critics argue that the festival has now been detached from communities, lost meaning and is alarmingly turning into a commercial consortium that worries more about raising money than showcasing and promoting the culture of Bakalanga.

Digression of the festival from its original mandate, lack of active involvement of communities and sidelining of traditional leaders of Bukalanga as well as the apparent absence of a sustainable approach towards ensuring benefits to communities necessitates this paper.

As a result of the views advanced above, this year’s Domboshaba Cultural Festival should be more important to the organizing committee than any other held before. First of all, it provides an excellent opportunity for them to learn from last year’s poor attendance, lacklustre speeches reported in the Midweek Sun newspaper and unconvincing commentary provided by the area’s Member of Parliament and the few so called ‘prominent Bakalanga’ who spoke at the Open Forum at the last event.

The low levels of public participation at the Mayedziso (evening session) held at Kalakamati as well as the main event held at Domboshaba festival grounds should certainly provide a motive for improvement. This can only be feasible in the long run if the organizing committee can shift their focus from luring more people to the event for sake of generating funds.

They should instead work on establishing ways through which they can use the festival to generate a pool of relevant ideas which can be used to send the message to the ordinary Bakalanga people; the young, elderly and even physically challenged who do not go to the festival. This focus will require the organizing committee to revisit the mandate set up for Domboshaba Cultural Trust

At its inception on the 26th March 2006, the Trust sought to preserve and promote both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Bakalanga through a number of interrelated objectives. Of paramount importance among these are; organization of the annual Domboshaba Festival of History and Culture, resuscitation of traditional Kalanga craft production practices, enter into strategic partnerships to foster fundraising activities, development and management of a cultural village, to establish and maintain links with local authorities, Department of Culture, community organisations, land boards and any existing bodies that deal with promotion of culture including external bodies such as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This list forms the essence of major objectives that the Trust exists to achieve in Bukalanga.

The second major point of introspection that the organizing committee and The trust should do, is to try to understand their major stakeholder, Bakalanga people living in Botswana.

There is serious need for those at the helm to appreciate the fact that Bukalanga of North East District and the one falling in the Central District differ politically and culturally. While the former enjoys some degree of political autonomy, the latter falls, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, within the jurisdiction of Bangwato chieftainship.

This point shall be discussed further to elaborate on the need for an open minded, as opposed, to radical approach in mobilisation of communities to promote Ikalanga culture and language.

Another point that the Trust needs to appreciate is the relevance of Domboshaba Hills and the Domboshaba National Monument in the all-important process of reviving Ikalanga culture and language. Is it pure coincidence that the festival is held at the Domboshaba Hills not far from the nationally acclaimed monument of Domboshaba Ruins? If the answer to this question is in the negative as one would expect, then we need to question whether this festival resembles the exact meaning of what these two prominent places hold in the history of Bukalanga. Domboshaba Hills are significant in that they are a prehistoric area openly used for trading purposes in the whole of Bukalanga found in Botswana today and beyond.

One cannot help but wonder whether the present day Domboshaba provides Bakalanga of today an opportunity to trade openly ( instead of freely) at the area during the festival.

This point will be clarified later to elaborate some egocentrism displayed in recent times when the festival’s organisers chased away members of the community selling crafts, Kalanga meals and other essential commodities that the organisers did not even provide. Instead of viewing and treating these people as traders to resemble and therefore revive the prehistoric trading practice conducted at Domboshaba in the past, these poor people were cast out and labelled as vendors.

The third factor deals with the need for recognizing the role that community leaders play in preservation and even revival of cultural practices. There is need to realize that Bakalanga chiefs are traditional custodians of the culture of their people. From as far back as the early days of Bakalanga civilization around AD 1000, chiefs played the all-important role of determining the direction in which the culture of their people had to take.

They did this either by allowing foreign influence or discouraging it. They have always managed to do this as they are perpetually empowered by the virtue of their hereditary position in society to influence acceptable behavioural patterns in their communities. Failure to consult and closely work with them, as is the case now at Domboshaba festival, results in mistrust and alienation of Bakalanga people from making meaningful contribution in the otherwise good course of reviving their culture.
As mentioned above, there is general failure (perhaps deliberate) in the organisers of the event to appreciate and even understand the dynamics of chieftainship in the Bukalanga area falling within the Central District. The chiefs in this region have no authority to make a collective and final decision regarding certain issues revolving adjudication of the area which traditionally or culturally belongs to Bakalanga without consulting their ‘superiors’ at Serowe.

This is worsened by the fact that their positions as community leaders has become a fully paid job that is regulated by policies just like any other that is held by the organizing team.

Radical, unpopular and misguided approaches in the revival of Bakalanga culture and addressing sensitive issues like the need for political independence from Bangwato rule has potential to steer unnecessary tribal wars in the country. Apart from that, it is considered offensive within the realm of their job descriptions as it will be tantamount to insubordination.

To engage these chiefs and win their support in promotion of Bakalanga culture and language requires patience and understanding of their unfortunate positions. Today, many people living in the North East District label chiefs and fellow Bakalanga living in the Central District as sell-outs due to their lack of appreciation of these critical matters.

The case of the Baka Nswazwi and the ultimate results of their struggle against Bangwato domination during the 1940s remains a deep and ugly scar in the memories of elderly people in the Bukalanga part of the Central District. This therefore calls for Domboshaba Cultural Trust to adopt a different approach when dealing with these chiefs. Alienating and labelling them as Bangwato puppets will not help in addressing the issue of promoting Ikalanga culture.

Domboshaba Cultural Trust also needs to understand the dynamics needed in reviving and promoting Ikalanga culture. In the 7 years of their existence, what plan do they have in place to ensure that Bakalanga people do not go back to their respective homes and continue their normal lives each year after the annual Domboshaba Cultural Festival?

Apart from the Trust’s assumed office in Francistown and the cultural festival grounds in the Domboshaba Hills, where else do we have structures in place to ensure continuous implementation of the objectives of the Trust in all parts of Bukalanga?

As we do not have satellite offices or even desks at Tati Siding, Masunga, Mosojane, Mathangwane, Nata, Gweta, Sebina, Tutume and Maitengwe, can we certainly claim that an event that is attended only by those who have money to pay bus fees or use their own transport to go to Domboshaba Hills is enough to spearhead a revival of Ikalanga cultural practices? Do we see the impact caused by failure of the festival’s core values and messages to reach children aged between 4 & 15 and elderly people who are usually left behind with them? Is it not ironical then that the messages and important cultural practices conducted at Domboshaba do not reach the major targeted group; our children?

*Bawumbe wa Chiwidi is a pseudonym for a concerned Nkalanga

Japanese Ambassador honoured guest at Dombashaba

Updated: September 22, 2012

by Chenjenali Baraedi from the Voice

Japanese ambassador to Botswana, Hiroyasu Kobayashi will this year be the guest speaker at Domboshaba Ikalanga annual festival of culture and history to be held towards the end of September.

Since Japan has strong cultural believes and documented history the festival’s organising committee found it befitting to invite Kobayashi to officiate at the event which is meant to celebrate Ikalanga tradition.

The chairperson of the Domboshaba cultural trust, General Moetedi revealed that this year’s theme is; Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education adding that it was chosen to bring out Bakalanga people’s outcry to the Ministry of Education to consider using their language as a medium of instruction at schools especially in BaKalanga areas.

The celebration which would take four days would commence with an evening cultural show to be held on the 28th of September in Kalakamati village.

After the main festival on the 29th to be held at Domboshaba ruins, Nswazwi half marathon follows on Independence Day from Sebina to Nswazwi junction. It would finish with a contemporary music show which would be held on October 1, at Domboshaba site from the morning till late in the evening.

Domboshaba Festival grows each year

Updated: September 22, 2012

By Mpho Tlale (reprinted from Mmegi Online)

The Domboshaba Festival is the Kalanga festival that is aimed at promoting and preserving Bakalanga culture; now in its 13th year running, the festival has grown to become one of the largest cultural festivals in Botswana.

This year’s event which will be held from September 28th to October 1st around the Domboshaba ruins and is expected to attract between 7,000-10,000 people. Speaking at a press conference for the event, Tjakabaka Matenge from the Domboshaba Cultural Trust (DCT) said they are expecting more people than ever before to attend this year.

Looking back at the history of the Domboshaba Festival, Matenge said that in its early years,  it only managed to attract around 500 people and they have seen that number grow to the 7,000 who attended last year.

He further said that the festival has managed to position its place in society which is why it is doing well: “Domboshaba offers diversity because all communities in Botswana must be recognised and should take pride in their culture. This recognition can only be done if people from different cultures live, speak and uphold culture in the ways that they can; how can you promote a language and not speak it?”

Matenge also said that it is therefore up to people to improve their cultures and promote them to others. He announced that the theme for this year is, Mother Tongue as a Composite of inclusive Education and emphasised the importance of people knowing their mother tongue. He added that: “Speeches will be delivered in Kalanga.

However there will be translation available to cater for non-Kalanga speaking people who will be present at the event.” The Domboshaba Festival will celebrate Bakalanga culture, religion, food, language, music and dance among others. Botswana Tourism Organisation has been a sponsor of the event since 2008 and is still closely associated with the event.

Entrance to the Domboshaba Festival is P40.

Related article from the Daily News.

See also on the 2011 festival.

Botwsana Tourism Organization supports Domboshaba festival

Updated: September 22, 2012

As part of diversification efforts by the Botswana Tourism Organization, BTO says it is supporting the annual Domboshaba Festival of Culture and History.

Briefing the media this morning, BTO Marketing Manager, Obenne Mbaakanyi, says the organisation entered into a partnership with Dombashaba Cultural Trust as a way of promoting and developing sustainable cultural-tourism products.

She says the partnership will also help grow small and medium enterprises in the area in terms of increasing their revenue.

Mbaakanyi says the community will benefit by selling local I-Kalanga artifacts which will be showcased during the event.