When festivals become a crowd puller
The past couple of years have seen me chasing cultural festivals that help Botswana diversify its tourism from big game viewing. This weekend I decided to stay within Gaborone and not chase the adventure nor the city landscapes or landmarks.
Rather, I chose to attend the most prestigious spoken word and poetry festival in the capital city’s calendar, the Infinite Word Festival 2011. From its early days in 2004, the infinite word festival has been attracting masses of revelers and performers alike.
The two-day festival was held at Café Khwest, a popular joint in Gaborone Main Mall and this happens to be the first mall in Gaborone and also a major landmark. Wine vibe and verbs was the theme for Saturday night. As the night went on with beats from Dj Khenzo scratching his vinyl’s to the soothing sounds of Tebby, to the soft spoken folklore and poet from Onkemetse Clark one couldn’t help but get lost in the creative word art of Setswana poetry.
Colleague Tshireletso Motlogelwa, well known for his sharp words on paper in the world of journalism also gave an outstanding performance with his toddler son backing him up with cheering sounds of seeing daddy on stage.
Having traveled before with the MC for the night, Cutrite Moeng and laughed throughout the trip, I realized that the man is gifted in creating a light environment as he would not stop with his jokes. He kept everyone alive, as he would occasionally step on stage and hit a few poetry lines before introducing the next performer. Growing up as a huge hip hop fan, Nomadic and K.K sure toped up my night as K.K played the beat box while king of motswako and poet Nomadic set the stage alight. Some of the performances for Saturday night were from Joshua Machao, Phehello Mofokeng, Kayzee and Leshie
The second night saw veteran poet Rabojalwa being the first on stage to satisfy those with a taste of Setswana cultural poetry. I was left mesmerized and humbled by the old man’s word art. Ntirelang Berman, Botswana’s folklore musician who has made his mark traveling to Germany, China, Japan, Canada surely dished out a performance, as he never disappoints. TJ Dema could not go unmentioned. She has become the country pioneer of poetry.
My night was topped up by performance from Samantha Mogwe, a songstress who made it to Idols Africa finalist and My African dream 2003. She had me lost in my own world.
As the festival came to an end I drew a conclusion that Gaborone may not have all the tourist attractions but with the Infinite Word Festival, the city will have something to lure different types of travelers to Botswana.