The University of Botswana main campus is currently hosting the annual BOLESWA games popularly known as Intervarsity games, which are scheduled in a rotator manner between the University of Botswana, University of Lesotho and University of Swaziland. In an attempt to unpack the different talents that come together during this event, this year promises more diverse events, one of them being a series of poetry nights.
On the evening of March 8, PoetiPella in collaboration with UB Poetry Society showcased poets from these different countries in what is a first show of its kind. One of the organisers, Thokgamo Nkganetsang, said it must be understood that even though Intervarsity games are centered on sports, other talents need to be explored during this time. “There are so many people of different talents who are not catered for, poets being one of them. It is important to understand that poetry is a talent like any other talent that one can make a living out of hence it should be taken into a greater consideration like others. This is a platform where poets and poetesses can assemble together in a single room not only to utter their poetic sentiments but also to share skills, ideas and experiences,” said Thokgamo, who is also a poet.
The inspiration behind the show came about after seeing how poetry can be a medium through which these three countries can creatively work together. “Poets of multicultural and multilingual ability and skill must exchange different ideas to diversify their knowledge and pattern techniques they have. The general public vary in interests hence those who are lovers of spoken word will also have the opportunity this year to have a platform which they can witness such an event. Poetry is a growing field of art and there is a need to cultivate talent in this economy,” he added.
Due to unexpected rain, the show moved from an open amphitheater to a much smaller space in a lecture room. This gave the performances a more intimate ambiance. Although there were abrupt showers on the opening night of the show, the few revellers still came to witness this poetic exchange. The line-up comprised of mainly Batswana poets as it was mentioned that participants of other countries are arriving and will grace the audience as the show progresses. Themes ranging from heritage to love were expressed in performances that kept the audience engrossed. Some stunning folk poetry also made the audience want to ululate in what was a thrilling use of Setswana. The show also featured a vocalist named Tshepo Leepile who serenaded the crowd.
One of the poets, Poetess Ella, said she was thrilled to see people come as the venues changed last minute. “Even though we had to start some minutes later than planned, the show was good. The poets performed beautifully and I must say that I look forward to even better performances tomorrow and other nights,” added Ella.
This series of poetry nights is expected to showcase from March 8 to March 12 at 1700hrs till 2000hrs each evening. There is no entrance free and the organisers encourage the public to be free to come witness some of the emerging poets from Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. “I feel that by having this show, potential sponsors will realise that it’s important to have this kind of show and it’s possible to grow the various talents that flock together during these exciting games,” said Thokgamo.