The Setswana group that does cultural poetry and songs fully realise it is still a long way before their dream of elevating poetry as well as Setswana culture is realised in Southern Africa.
Hence, this group from Botswana is embarking on a tour of the entire 15 countries in Southern African Development community (SADC, presenting Setswana poems, cultural performances, dances and music.
Founder, Moroka Moreri, says on May 11 and 12, the band will be in Namibia for the rebranding of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)’s Tsetswana language radio station. Moreri has had a relationship with this station for some time now and has been a regular call-in guest to help promote the language in that country.
This year though, the main focus would be celebrating culture and taking poetry to the people through music festivals. Moreri has forged relations with various stakeholders who will work with them in celebrating Setswana Culture. “Culture is broad and it should be celebrated by all. We believe that the church can be instrumental in driving our culture values, and it can help in the celebration of our culture, either through our food, artefacts and crafts,” says Moreri.
Cresta Hotels, he says, has also come on board and they are organising Letlhafula Day for the hotels, targeting the whole of SADC. “We have already started planning Letlhafula Day with Cresta Phikwe this May. The event is highly likely to boost tourism in the country, being an event hosted by a hotel. Setswana cuisine will be offered on the day and people will get to enjoy our local music as well as our poetry.”
Another culture day is billed for August in Maunatlala, which will be the second since last year. Moreri adds that two other schools, Oodi Primary School and Tsholofelo Primary school, are also working with the organisation to host similar events. Other than culture day celebration events, Moreri says there are plans to honour some selected individuals through poems, which will be delivered to them. Radio veteran, Lesego Mohutsiwa, will have the honour of a poem being delivered to him in his home village of Kanye. Another beneficiary will be a young poet, Kebarileng Advocate Keitaile of Diloro. Diloro showed great enthusiasm at last year’s Setswana/Swedish Exchange.
“He is just a young man who impressed me because he just heard about the exchange on radio and demanded transport fare from his mother to send him all the way to Gaborone to join us. The mother then contacted us and we received him, he joined us and even presented a poem while here,” Moreri says. His band, Nkokowe, will also have an active year promoting his debut album, Nkokowe.
The tour will also extend to Sefhophe, Mogoditshane, Molepolole and Orapa among others, and South Africa at Mafikeng Recreation Centre on September 15 where they will share the stage with Culture Spears. Finally, the band will end the tour in November at Mmakanke where the country’s greatest artists will share the stage with them alongside the Motlhaolosa poets. The artists include Sereetsi and the Natives, Lizibo and Culture Spears amongst others.