Mafitlhakgosi and Chinese
Mafitlhakgosi Traditional dance troupe gathered with a group of Chinese nationals this past weekend in a cultural exchange session held in the form of a dance fiesta at the Old Naledi Kgotla.
Most of the Chinese present came donned in Setswana traditional dance attire and moved effortlessly as if they were born to dance borankana. The chemistry between the group members proved the cordial relationship that exists between the two cultures. The coordinator of Mafitlhakgosi, Joseph Ikopeng told VIBE that they collaborated with the Chinese group last year.
He said that the evening was a farewell event for one of their friends Tiantian Guo, who is leaving the country. Guo, who is the Director of Chinese Charity Association in Botswana, said that it was amazing to work with Mafitlhakgosi as they both shared a common goal of cultural exchange and also involving in charity work together.
Ikopeng said that the group has donated them school uniform and blankets that they gave to the needy in the outskirts of Old Naledi township. This past weekend, the group donated stationary to Mafitlhakgosi. Said Ikopeng:
“The group motivated Mafitlhakgosi as they highly appreciated their work and always invited them to their embassy whenever they had an official event,” he said. Guo said that material and spiritual support is very important to any initiative. He also said that her departure would not make her forget Botswana, adding that she had learnt a lot from local artists, particularly Mafitlhakgosi.
“Although I am sad to be leaving the country, I will forever cherish the memories and the experiences that we had with Mafitlhakgosi. I believe that you need to empower people, give them a sense of belonging and boost their confidence and so it is an achievement because we had a common goal since I am also a good dancer,” she said.
Mafitlhakgosi learnt Ballet Dance from the Chinese group. Their ‘lit’ performance said it all as they strutted their stuff like professional ballet dancers, much to the audience’s delight. Ikopeng said that he was happy with endeavours that strive to sell Botswana’s culture on the international stage. He however expressed regret that people say that Old Naledi, which is often referred to as Zola is dangerous yet a lot of good things are mushrooming from there and everyone is safe in the place. “Gone are the days when the township was seen as a dangerous place. We have moved forward and are now ready to elevate the country in positive ways,” he said.
He added that during his visit to Botswana in January, US rapper Rick Ross, visited the township and even gave some locals money. “No criminal offence was recorded and that shows how the township has changed,” he said. Former Miss Botswana Rosemary Keofitlhetse-Brock was also present at the event and she joined the dancers to demonstrate her agile moves.
The stunning beauty said that she enjoyed herself. “It was amazing to showcase our respective cultures. It shows that our culture still has the essence and can sell outside the country. It was great to have fun with China through traditional dance of Botswana,” she said. The Malaika Brand Ambassador promised to work with Mafitlhakgosi in future.