The famous Setswana children’s hide and seek game, Black Mampatile, is set to make a return albeit played by adults, at a larger scale, with a twist, and involving an actual winner’s prize. Think the local version of ‘The Amazing Race’. Brought back by Sports Botswana, the organizers call it a “sports tourism” competition. “Something unique but close to the hearts of Batswana,” says Sports Botswana’s Victor Shabani.
“Through Black Mampatile we intend to elaborately demonstrate how media, travel, tourism and hospitality, food production and manufacturing, arts, culture and heritage, health and wellness can all come together to help us reach our goal of making sports profitable,” says Shabani.
He says his priority is to ensure that the initiative amongst other things engages private sector to support government in growing local sport and packages it into a lucrative tourism venture. “The aim is to ensure that the benefit flows to locals especially the youth who are currently hard hit by joblessness.”
He says the project is conscientiously crafted to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic diversification efforts in a manner that is felt by all in the various industries and areas of business, sports and tourism.
Shabani says they named the initiative Black Mampatile as it mimics the local traditional hide-and-seek game. “It features 80 people in teams of two chasing each other all over Gaborone in a modified hide and seek fashion with elements of the childhood game touch or tag as it is referred to in the western world,” Shabani explains.
He says starting and finishing in the Main Mall area, teams will within a six hour window run, cycle or take public transport through 21 checkpoints hidden throughout the city. Participants will have to rely on clues, guess work and their people skills to find the hidden points and make it to the finish line.
He says each team will be given P200 to spend on navigating through the city. “If they finish the money before they complete the challenge we will not assist further in that regard as we know for a fact the money should be enough to get the team around the city quite comfortably.” He says at each checkpoint teams will be expected to solve puzzles, take questions and navigate obstacles to proceed through the checkpoints and collect points which will be in the form of eggs. “We expect the winner to arrive at the finish line with 21 eggs still intact,” he says.
Shabani says another exciting aspect of their initiative is that they have chosen to launch the game as well as its final draw in the scenic Mogobane Village. “We discovered an amazing venue in Mogobane called Dipopolere and decided without flinching that it is where we should host the final draw of Boleke Mampatile in September. Prior to that we will launch our initiative still at Dipopolere and this will happen sometime this month. That is when we will reveal the grand prize, the dates of the game and how soon we will open for registration.” He says choosing a nearby village to partner with is in line with their vision of making sure that the benefits flow to as many Batswana as possible. “All the catering, stage and sound, security and so on will be sourced from the people of Mogobane and nowhere else,” he says.
Meanwhile Chairperson of Mogobane Development and Conservation Trust Victor Ruele says he is excited about the partnership with Sports Botswana for the obvious gains it will bring to his community. “We have amazing scenery in Mogobane and Dipopolere is just the tip of the iceberg. This concept is an opportunity for us to also sell Mogobane to the rest of the world as we will take full advantage of media coverage that is bound to come with both the launch and the final draw.”