Botswana pushes for recognition of its indigenous games

03 Dec 2018

By Anita Rannoba

With as many games being continually introduced worldwide, Botswana has taken a step forward to also introduce its own traditional games to the Olympics for consideration to be played globally like any other game.

While the western countries are leading in the introduction of the type of games to be played, the Botswana Traditional Sports and Games Federation has stepped up their game to see to it that the nation’s indigenous games are also known and played. 

According to Iveans Kefiilwe, Vice President to the federation, it is not easy to establish a game which can be played at big tournaments as Olympics as there are many channels to follow before they can be registered.

He noted that there are mother bodies who are in charge of regulating the type of games that can be played in the country and outside, highlighting that as a nation, we cannot introduce a game which is only known by the citizens. He said for a game to be adopted, a number of countries should be able to play that sport or game.

Kefiilwe said Botswana has been on a process of introducing morabaraba and mohele for a year now, noting they had obtained a positive reaction to this as countries like South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho are very much aware of what the game entails and are in support of the initiative.  

 “It has been a year of hard work in trying to get these two games on the global map and we have managed to get SADC countries on board,” he said.

He added that between the two games, morabaraba is the better known and they managed to advocate to them in order to see Africa too introducing games. He said they are positive the games will eventually be adopted as things are looking bright for the nations.

It has also been noted that there are a couple of different paths to inclusion in the Olympics. The traditional way is for a sports federation to petition the IOC, with an alternative for local organizing committees to push favourite sports in their respective countries.  This local process was formalised in 2014 under the ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’.

Sports codes like Baseball/ Softball, Karate, Skate boarding, sports climbing and surfing have been added to the existing 28 Olympic sports but they have noted they are a one-offs for Tokyo only and they will not be a permanent part of the Olympics.  

“In a year’s time the two games will be registered for sure which means 2020 they will be available for play,” Kefilwe said confidently.