Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Chobe Artists pledge(d) for charity: Tshwaragano Arts Festival roots in Kasane

Chobe Artists pledge(d) for charity: Tshwaragano Arts Festival roots in Kasane by Mambo OPB Ntema, Independent Writer

'The spirit of mankind gathers in one basket like seeds of golden trees in their time, and when mankind gathers to share and care for one another, their deeds shall prevail for ages come beneath hearts (minds and souls) of dozen faces...' Onalethuso Petruss Ntema, 2015

As goes the adage, blessed is the hand that giveth, on May 1, 2015, Chobe resident performing artists pledged their craft for charity to fundraise for a citizen-with-disability Mr. Mpho Sibanda. The ideal, which is a Vision 2016 'compassionate and caring nation' brainchild, and beyond, was conceptualized and spearheaded by a group of local business, social and government-aided entities and is planned to be an annual event, as incepted on Friday (Labour Day), at Seboba Nature and Recreational Park in Kasane, Northern Botswana. 

The Tshwaragano Arts Festival featured a unique musical showcase from different local performing artists such as Mambo Ntema (Roots-Dancehall), Mwathiya Thicho (Cultural dance), Twayuva (Cultural dance), Matsetse (Cultural dance), Bana ba Ditlou (Marimba), DJ GreenK (HipHop), Chomi & Zosky la Dance (Rhumba), Chingerengere (Rhumba), Joseph (House Gospel), Skinny Boi (HipHop), Abuti Gwalume (Kwaito), Wellington (Pianist) and many other creative performers who thrilled the show with rare artistic skills and punchlines. Revellers at the fun filled festival expressed their delight and 'wanted more of events as this one' in the tourism town; which is located at the four corners where four countries (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana) meet. 

A local freelance photographer Masule Kachana maintained that 'people and the greater community need to be informed on the importance of their involvement in such events. It was a great night, I admired the turn up by the youth (and old) and the performing arts groups that caught the attention of the Nature Park's management and other stakeholders present. I hope they work as a team to empower and collaborate with the arts industry in Chobe for international tourism, I believe the park is ideal for such...' he observed. Another attendant, Cindy Nkonjera shared that 'it was a great evening even though I did not stay to the end..'

However, such sentiments are echoed by #Creative tourism enterpreneurs and advocates, who strongly posited that 'it was a night to remember, a line to remember, a voice to remember; a moment...an arts moment for charity. It is about encompassing creative arts into tourism as socio-economic commodities for social businesses and community livelihood improvement. It is a movement for arts and culture in tourism, hence #CreativeTourism. Besides involving the arts in theory, we ought to collaborate as partners (arts and tourism) to make it happen in Chobe. We have since, as you may be aware, embarked on an aggressive campaign for an Arts council here, and as is, such a structure would elevate our concerns and ideas to such heights of advocacy and practice. Art is life and such means are necessary in the transformation of crude tourism. We have been trying and still are, to urge relevant bodies in Chobe and Botswana, and hopefully will see the light at the tunnel's end. #CreativeTourism is the in-thing, some call it domestic or cultural tourism... At the moment, we are (also) in the process of forging partnerships with such structures as National Union for Botswana Artists (NUBA), Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU), Copyright Society of Botswana (CoSBots), Botswana Guides Association (BOGA), BOCCIM, HATAB, Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture, Botswana Tourism Organization, Department of Tourism, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Department of Forestry and Range Resources, business community, Community Based entities and international agencies for the establishment and sustenance of an arts council in the greater Chobe. Also, building networks with corporates and collectives such as POETAVANGO, Ngwao-Loshalaba, Okavango Artists Association, Ngamiland Council for Non-Governmental Organizations in Botswana and in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and the world large..' 

A visitor to Kasane who is volunteering with JICA, Etsuko Nagayama (Naledi) expressed joy over the enthusiasm displayed by performers in support of the cause. She expanded that 'in Letlhakane, we have a remote community income generation model through Gift from Botswana which is a market portal for crafts and mateisi jewellery, hand bags, ties. So, I am transversing through Botswana terrains to mobilize business relations and market our products further beyond the villages we serve, and such profits benefit the creative hands of villagers involved, thereby reducing rural poverty and improving sustainable livelihoods...its art.' 

According to one of the event organizers and Seboba Trust Chairperson Mr. Ferney Chibiya, he indicated that 'we need to keep on hosting such creative events in Kasane to give back to our underpreviledged members of the community. I hope to engage with creative artists and relevant bodies to embark on such activities in order to create and stimulate local economy whilst creating a conducive environment for entertainment and lifestyle in Chobe, for residents and tourists. It is a cultural exchange initiative...'

The event was directed by MC Garry, whose artistic mantle kept the audience mesmerized by each moment of the night.

Credit to: Mr. Scheffer, BTO Kasane, SEBOBA (Board, Staff and Management), participants and supporters.

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