Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Dull closing ceremony leaves poor impression

After the mouth-watering hyped up Opening Ceremony of the 2nd African Youth Game, Batswana left last Saturday’s Closing Ceremony showing disappointment and unhappiness.

Just when the ceremonial fireworks were made, some spectators who came for this much-anticipated event were already descending down the stands, looking disappointed.

The event which came with high expectations had everyone demanding for tickets.
By Friday, the closing ceremony tickets were sold-out. Batswana came from all parts of the country to witness history being made but the overall reaction at the stadium showed that the event did not leave up to expectation.

By 4pm, the time when the National Stadium gates were closed, the stadium was almost filled to capacity. Batswana started the afternoon by clapping hands, whistling and singing, waiting with bated breath for what would unfold.

Remember last time during the opening ceremony they were taken by a huge surprise by Botswana African Youth Games Organising Committee and VWV, the company that was given a task to do the closing and opening ceremony. The duo produced what many who witnessed called “an exceptional show.”
When the performing artists entered the centre of the stadium pitch around 5 pm, the spectators were already showing signs of exhaustion after long speeches from the dignitaries.

Local house group Oni Korota could not liven up the event as expected. However the youthful and fun-loving among the crowd cheered the Botswana group. As was expected the theme song performance followed, done by Vee and Zeus, who are crowd favourites.

The event was so dull that even an international act by the Algerian songstress Shakira did not get the thumbs up. She tried to mix her native language with English but she got a cold response from the seemingly anxious audience.

Sello Tatolo, a Maun self-employed farmer was not amused at all. He expected an event better than the opening ceremony.

“Being disappointed is an understatement. This is worse. Is this how our P8 million was spent. I expected a better treatment as I came all the way from Maun,” said Tatolo.

After boycotting the opening ceremony in protest, Gaborone Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa decided to attend the closing Ceremony. Unlike many, Nkaigwa did not seem to be having high expectations on the day. The Mayor said he did not watch the opening ceremony on television, so he could not compare the two ceremonies.

However Nkaigwa said he was disappointed that he was not given a chance to welcome the guests in the opening ceremony. He said protocol dictates that as the First Citizen of the city he should be the one to do the welcoming. Nkaigwa was also disappointed that the Acting Minister of Sports Vincent Seretse was speaking both in the opening and closing ceremony.

“To me it is because of some political influence for the Minister to be speaking in both events. The government was involved in this setup, not BAYGOC,” said Nkaigwa.

The Chairperson of BAYGOC, Regina Vaka said they have long explained to Batswana in local radio stations that the closing ceremony is going to be a low key event.

After they saw the opening ceremony being big I understand Batswana would be disappointed by the closing ceremony. However that is not the case….the opening ceremony should be bigger than the closing ceremony,” said Vaka.

Vaka added that the closing ceremony is just a way of saying thank you and good bye. She said for the opening ceremony guests are being made welcome and free, so a huge showdown should be expected. She further stated that she would not divulge the breakdown of the P8 million used for both the opening and closing ceremony. She aid initially they wanted P20 million but they done a good job with the limited budget.

Vaka also corrected that as BAYGOC they used the Olympics protocol as in those games it is not the Mayor who welcomes the crowd. She said people should not confuse the Games protocol with what is usually done locally.

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