During the weekend, as hordes of people flocked to Ebat Lodge in Tati Siding Village, a few kilometers from the city of Francistown, to celebrate the annual Letlhafula festival, North East Paramount Chief Thabo Maruje Masunga III, called on Batswana to recognize culture as an important step towards development.
Masunga said that the North East District is one of the richest districts when it comes to cultural practices saying that it is imperative that such practices are constantly revisited and safeguarded.
“Annual cultural festivals, like Letlhafula, that we are experiencing here in Ebat Lodge give an opportunity to people, especially the youth to enjoy and access African dishes and understand their culture,” he said.
The chief went on to say that culture is dynamic and broad as it covers history, tradition, arts, women, men, life, beliefs, food, marriage, customs and population.
He also said that the law of the country and culture go hand in hand as each is determined by the other.
Masunga added that Botswana is one of the few countries in the world where customary law has legitimacy through the constitution, which gives the country a dual legal system.
“We are Batswana first and then follows our tribal affiliation, which means that every culture needs to be treated equally,” he added.
However, the chief went on to acknowledge that although Botswana is a democratic and plural society, the country still has a challenge of some laws being discriminative and ethnocentric.
He further said that, as chiefs, it is their endeavor to make sure that all such laws are amended.
Ebat Guest Lodge is an out of town state of the art resort which is located 15 km south of the City of Francistown.
The annual Letlhafula festival, hosted by the lodge, the fifth of its kind, is aimed at promoting local cuisines, which form part of the culture of Batswana.
During the festival, there was sampling of traditional food like millet, sorghum, Mupane worms, traditional vegetables and meat. The management organized the show in collaboration with the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), which also used the festival to promote its products to the participants.