• The ultimate cultural music festival returns after a two-year break
  • Up to 40% of revellers come from Botswana


Following its two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Chief Director of the Department of Art, Culture, Sports and Recreation in South Africa’s North West Province, Thabo Mabe, says Botswana will begin to reap the economic spillovers from the return of the Mahika Mahikeng Festival that is slated for 17 to 19 March 2023 in Mahikeng.
Mabe was speaking in an interview at the activation event of the music festival in Sandton, South Africa last week.
According to a South African Cultural Observatory report, the economic impact of the festival on Mahikeng and surrounding areas was estimated to be just over R7 million in 2016.
“Economic benefits of the festival do spill over to Botswana in terms of transport and fuel businesses,” Mabe told Time Out. “Mafikeng is on border with Botswana, so some of these services reach the town of Lobatse.
“As matter of fact, Mahika Mahikeng draws most of its support from Botswana I might not be able to give exact numbers but it is between 30 percent and 40 percent of revellers in 2018. Batswana come in large numbers, more so that we have a separate parking that ensures the safety of their vehicles while they enjoy the festivities.”

Three-day affair
Postponed from December 2022, the fifth instalment of the Mahika Mahikeng music festival will return to the Mmabatho Stadium Parking Lot Dome and is set to run over the three days, with a line-up of festivities. Mabe said the aim of the festival is to promote cultural and heritage tourism, celebrate artists and stimulate the local art economy.

The first day of Mahika Mahikeng will be a gospel music affair with the legendary Joyous Celebration headlining the show, supported by the exceptional Bucy Radebe, Manana Ramogae and Tumisang Seleke, to name a few.
The second day promises to be an incredible evening of soulful jazz, featuring iconic Zonke and Ringo supported by Ayanda Jiya, Dee Afrique and Aus Tebza.
Scorpion Kings will wrap up the festival in grand style on the last day of the festival featuring amapiano duo Kabza Da Small and DJ Maphorisa showcasing South Africa’s the genre.
The evening will also see performances from the likes of Mo Molemi, Maglera Doe Boy, Areece, DBN Gogo and other local artists.

Batswana artists
After the pandemic wreaked havoc on the creative industry for the past two years, North West born and bred legendary artist and actor, Stoan Seate, who is also the ambassador of the festival, sees the music extravaganza as a means to restore hope for the industry because many shows have not been as successful as they should have been.
The music fest has previously featured Batswana artists but this time around it only features award winning Motswana traditional singer Mma Ausi Lekoma. “Revellers coming from Botswana deserve a quality show and should expect a well-executed event,” Seate said.
“This event was initially set for December, so we will have a big showcase in December. The event happening this March is a precursor to the December event that will host international artists, hopefully Batswana artists will make the lineup.
“We will be having an activation in Botswana soon and I am sure Batswana are better placed to suggest who we can slot in the lineup.”