The Premier of North West Province in South Africa, Supra Mahumapelo, says they plan to include Botswana artists in the annual Mahika-Mahikeng Music and Cultural Festival.
Speaking at the festival this past weekend, Mahumapelo said their plan was to include both cultural groups and any music from Botswana which fits any genre in the festival, “We have included artists from Botswana in our lineup because we have similar cultures, which in the long run will benefit both our province and Botswana. We would like to see this festival grow from a three day event to a weeklong event because our plan is to also share and include the historical background of our Setswana culture,” he said.
Mahumapelo added that they hoped the festival would attract Batswana back to Mafikeng, saying they were no longer visiting in high numbers like in the past. He however expressed satisfaction at the number of Batswana who attended, saying “There was an influx at the Ramatlabama Border Post this weekend, and according to the statistics the highest number of people who were crossing to attend this festival are Batswana, something we are very proud of because we are one and the same people.”
The long-term goal, according to Mahumapelo, is to increase the number of days of the annual festival each year to accommodate more cultural diversity and boost the province, “With the growth of event, jobs will certainly be created, business will get a major boost, and above all, the image and standard of our Province and Mahikeng will be improved. Our appeal is for everybody to embrace this platform, as it is sure to bring about change in our lives,” he said.
Cultural dances, Motswako, visual arts, crafts and art exhibitions, theatrical productions and jazz music took centre stage at the festival, and they featured performances from the Province’s finest Cassper Nyovest and HHP, including the legendary Caiphus Semenya, Nathi of Nomvula hit as well Botswana’s Sereetsi and the Natives.