The Botswana Amateur Arts Festival (BAAF) continued to be a shinning beacon of the spirit that embodies the positively robust and talented amateur arts performers as they gave performers a chance to showcase their talent at the Maitisong Festival.
The BAAF chose their best two plays from last year to perform at Maru A Pula School’s Moving Space last Friday in what was an enthralling night of young performers showing off their skills.
In a more intimate setting, the Moving Space brings audience closer to the performance as you sit merely a couple of metres from the center stage as opposed to renowned Maitisong Hall where most seats distance the audience from the action.
The first play by Art of the Soul group was morbid with the central focus being a grandfather who has lost his son, Kgosi, and is left with his grandson, Wantla, who is about to be a father as his girlfriend is in labour but he has no father to guide him.
Throughout the play, Wantla is consistently reminded by his grandfather just how great his father Kgosi was when he was alive. Apart from the interaction between grandson and grandfather, the play had very little dialogue and the story is told more through monologues. Use of powerful and vivid imagery along with sexual innuendo had the audience spell bound and giggling throughout the show.
The play sees Wantla’s pregnant girlfriend give a passionate and yet sad account of the love and distance that she and the father of her child, Wantla, now share.
The second performance was by Literally Arts Association Botswana who gave a performance on modern day family that is conflicted due to traditional beliefs against modern day culture.
The play included a family of three, two sisters and a single mother. 20-year-old Anna, who has never been kissed, appears hopeless to her feelings for a boy named Thabo but is not able to pursue her feelings due to her mother’s controlling behaviour and her insistence that she can only be courted by a boy who wants to marry her. Anna must also fight peer pressure from her best friend to become rebellious.
Phatsimo, the younger sister, is lawless and seems to party the night away whilst her older sister is stuck being the good girl at home and reading the Bible and doing house chores. A fight ensues between the mother and Phatsimo after a drunken rant by Phatsimo prompts tempers to flare. As the arguments continue Anna becomes more torn between what she has been raised to believe and what her heart longs for.
The end is a bit of a cliff hanger as Anna storms off stage defiantly showing that she has chosen to express herself outside of the confines of her mother after her mother attempts to stop her from performing at a poetry session.
The night did not end there as the event was also accompanied by performances by a guitar band called the Noise Makers and poetry by Mandisa.
The Director of BAAF, Kabelo Rapinyana, told the audience at the end of the performances that their mandate as BAAF was to develop the talent that Botswana has. He revealed that the performances were great as the performers had been preparing since February and that they had struck a great balance on the night between music theatre and poetry. The Botswana Amateur Art Festival with the help of Maitisong hosts annual workshops where amateur performers showcase their talents.