The second annual Nama Culture Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday at Lokgwabe village, Kgalagadi North. The festival will attract members of the Nama community from Botswana and Namibia, as well as guests who include Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Kgalagadi South MP Frans Van Der Westhuizen and Gantsi North MP Noah Salakae.
Also expected to grace the event is a delegation from the University of South Africa Sol Plaatjie Institute and University of Botswana San Research Centre. Kgosi Molatole will welcome all the guests in a regal ceremony. According to the festival public relations officer, Nichodimas Cooper, the festival is growing in leaps and bounds. He divulged that opening a Trust has made it easier for stakeholders to come on board.
The German Embassy, European Union, Metropolitan Botswana and the National Museum sponsor the event. In an interview, Cooper told Vibe that they aimed to ensure that the Nama culture is celebrated and recognised.The Nama are derived from the Khoi Khoi. He explained that the event would begin with a trek to the Simon Cooper monument in Kaartlwe Pan, situated about nine kilometres from Lokgwabe. In 2011, the area was recognised as a national monument by the Botswana Museum. Simon Cooper, who passed on in 1913, is the chief who led the Nama people from Namibia to Botswana following the German wars.
“We always honour him and celebrate his legacy. In our culture we refer to chiefs as captains. Our Captain Cooper is celebrated for his resilience and strength in helping fight the Germans in Namibia,” he said. Cooper further noted that Simon Cooper, who is also known by his Nama name, /Gomxab, was the only Nama chief who died a natural death as the previous chiefs had all been killed by the Germans.
“He managed to evade being killed and would retreat to Botswana and fight the Germans from this side. We will share this history at the event,” he said. The Nama and Herero were amongst the ethnic African communities who fought against racial extermination and punishment meted on them by the Germans in then German South West Africa (now Namibia) between 1904 and 1907.
Approximately 10, 000 Nama people died during those wars. Cooper added that other activities at the festival would include Nama stap dances as well as other traditional dances, horse karding and parades as well as dramatic depiction of the German-Herero-Nama war and the cultural practices of the Nama people. “We will show how a boy child and girl child are raised. We will also show how we conduct affairs such as birth, marriage and so forth.” The Nama people are known for their colourful attires which they make themselves, and upbeat dance moves.
Making outstanding art through waste material
Following one’s vocational calling can be a tall order in a world that still believes that white-collar work is the only way to make a living. No one knows this better than 28-year-old Khumoyame
Addam Ndove, who is a police officer by profession and an artist by vocation. While he is committed to his work as a law enforcer he dedicates most of his free time to making art. Ndove runs a company called Craft-eyed Designs which specialises in upholstery designing, artistic furniture and décor ornaments, mostly made out of waste materials such as empty oil drums, tyres and pallets, among others. The Francistown born and raised lad tells Vibe that his artistic journey started with a passion he had for art and using recycled material to create distinct new pieces.
One day he got an idea to try out a few art works and he went out to collect raw material and got down to work. “I knew I was talented in hand craft but had never explored my potential. I was impressed with what I managed to do. My work was interesting and outstanding. I also received positive feedback from the public and realised that this was something I could do out of passion and to complement my earnings,” he says.
Ndove explains that Art is a way of expressing himself. “I enjoy art because that is how I communicate and share what is in my mind.” He points out that he is also a businessman so selling his craft was not too difficult as he has the acumen. He however notes that the biggest challenge he faces is that a large number of Batswana do not appreciate art and therefore do not recognise the value of his work. Other challenges he faces include lack of operational space and shortage of capital.
He says that shortage of raw materials limits him from unleashing his full creative potential. Ndove currently runs his company alone and juggles it with his day job. He hopes to one day get an investor to bolster his business so that he can employ other people and grow the enterprise. “I would like to get a spacious workshop and showroom, and also hire relevant employees.” But doing what he loves makes him content. “Bringing an idea to life makes me fulfilled. I always feel great when I see my finished products.”
BOMU awards go on…
The 10th annual Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards will be held on 26 January 2019 at GICC. Revellers should expect performances from Lister Boleseng, Nono Siile, Perion, Slizer, Matheke Letane and Kwaito Nation among others. Tickets are said to be already on sale through Webtickets.
The awards will also be broadcasts.
Over the past few weeks there has been confusion over whether the awards will go and this week Phemelo ‘Fresh Les’ Lesokwane officially confirmed that it is all systems go. Artists caused a stir this week on social media when they indicated that was confusion and miscommunication around the awards. But Lesokwane insists that there is nothing confusing going on as the interim committee had been planning the awards for a while now, and had even roped in sponsors.
He said that the awards had been organised since last week but they had to change the date due to a few glitches. Lesokwane says that they had opted for the people’s choice approach to awards. “We have given the public the power to decide who they want to vote for under the different categories. What happens is that when you vote you sms the category and name of the artist to 16565. We are then going to tally the votes when voting lines close on 23 January 2019.
We will then cut down the number of entries based on the number of votes. This will make the process easier for our judges, who will listen to the artists’ CDs and give them points.” He further said that having a high number of votes would not automatically mean that an artist makes it. “One might have many votes but with low quality music and we consider that. We are looking at quality
Lesokwane said that when former chairperson Pagson Ntsie was outsed, the awards were still open. “Registration is still on at BOMU office in Kgolagano at Main mall. Those who had registered can check their documentation.”
Last year BOMU was wrecked by infightings following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not the legitimate chairperson of the music body. The ruling was passed in August by the Registrar of Societies. The ruling came following investigations regarding adherence to the BOMU Constitution and corruption claims. Accusations of financial mismanagement and poor leadership also cropped up.
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