Ngwao Letshwao Performing Arts Group yesterday (23rd June) left the country to kick start their cultural exchange tour in the Netherlands before heading to other countries. “Over the years the group has made it its goal to put Botswana on the map by exchanging our culture with other nations. We will be attending organised multi-cultural festivals comprising of more than 22 countries in the Netherlands to sell our crafts, our culture and give our group exposure on an international platform,” said the dance Troupe Managing Director and core dancer, Odirile Rammoni.
On July 6th, the group will jet off to France to take part in a cultural festival and move on to Switzerland on the 18th of August. “We will showcase various dance styles that emanate from different ethnic groups in Botswana. Dance styles such as tsutsutube, selete, setapa, phathisi, hosana and mokomoto are some of the styles that represent different cultures found in Botswana. These dance styles not only provide entertainment but also inform and educate on the history of the different ethnic groups, survival strategies in their co-existence with their environment and acts as the cultural window in tourism promotion. We have gathered that Botswana is not known to the outside world, yet when we perform they are always fascinated when we showcase our culture. This helps to sell the country” Rammoni said.
He went on to say that since the group has close to 75 members they always choose a certain number to attend festivals outside the country and are thankful to their loyal sponsors who make their trips possible. “Since there are many of us in the group, different people go for different trips but the major deciding factor on who gets to go is determined by dancers discipline and a good attendance of rehearsals. Since we are number one at this year’s Presidents’ Day Competitions some of our members will be remaining behind to participate. Our proud sponsors include the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Botswana Tourism Organisation, Human Resources Development Council and the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre,” he added.
The tour will not be the group’s first international outing as they have performed in countries such as Belgium, China and Australia among others. Rammoni revealed that he works around the clock to find more opportunities for the group and travels to benchmark in different festivals around the world.
“We have performed in Australia a couple of times because they feel our culture is similar to that of the Australian Aborigines. In our last trip there I was made the cultural Ambassador of Australia and my role is to recommend African artists to their market. I was also given the honors of being the National Representative of Federation of International Dance Festival (FIDAF) Botswana in Korea and I am responsible for encouraging local art forms to showcase their crafts outside the country. I am currently working on having FIDAF Botswana as other countries have the association and I am still in talks with relevant authorities,” he said.