Dithubaruba Festival lives up to expectation

07th September 2017
Fun times: Polka dancers give their all Source:The Midweek Sun/ KEABETSWE MOTISI


By Keletso Thobega -

The fesitval has grown in leaps and bounds 

Groundbreaking for Ntsweng Heritage Site marks progress in preservation of culture and history

The annual Dithubaruba festival held in Molepolole on Saturday lived up to expectation. Held under the theme, ‘Ko re go yang, re ya ipatla, re ya ipatlisisa’ the festival, which has grown in leaps and bounds, was the most well-attended in the past several years since its inception. Throngs of culture lovers from across the country and beyond the borders converged at Ntsweng in the village, for the festivities that started as early as 8am and went on until the wee hours of Sunday morning.

The revellers were treated to sumptuous traditional food from bogobe jwa lerotse, morogo, kabu to serobe and seswaa, while traditional beer flowed like the perennial River Nile. By noon, revellers were being hyped up for the dance groups, who were introduced to the jubilant crowd. Participants featured dikhwaere, polka and traditional dance (phatisi and borankane) groups.

The 11th anniversary festivities coincided with a ground-breaking ceremony for the Ntsweng Heritage Site earlier in the day, which will among other attractions, house a museum. President Ian Khama graced the ground-breaking ceremony, as well as several dignitaries that included senior government officials and the chief of the Bakwena, Kgosi Kgari Sechele III, as well as elders from the village. In his remarks, Sechele III noted that the Bakwena are a people who have displayed resilience over the years and have have jealously guarded their culture.

“We pride ourselves in being a people who not only show pride in our own culture but also appreciate and respect other cultures from across the country.” The Ntsweng area is like a shrine of sorts for Bakwena and sister tribes. After all, it is here where the Bakwena, Bangwaketse and Bakgatla ba ga Mmanaana hid during attacks from the Boers. Historical documentation has it that Dithubaruba was the place where Sechele and his tribe folk retreated after the Battle of Dimawe that took place a century ago.

The area therefore carries grave historical significance that can never be eroded. The Dithubaruba Festival, the brainchild of Kgosi Sechele 1 Museum, was developed to promote social cohesion among ethnic groups in the Kweneng area by fostering intercultural dialogue. This festival is a leisure outing for revellers to enjoy traditional food, dance, music and fashion, as well as crafts. The multi-cultural and multi-religious heritage of the Kweneng was brought to the fore in a special treat that improves the preservation of the culture that will hopefully ensure a sustainable future for Bakwena Heritage. The festival also falls in line with the Molepolole Area Development Plan draft, which among other plans, aims to turn the village into a vibrant cultural hub in the southern part of Botswana.

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