For many, culture seems to be clenching its last teeth in being relevant with our modern lifestyles. However, this reckoning dissipates when it comes to cultural festivals such as Letlhafula, which hosts a loyal patronage that has the event sold out each year. Orange LetlhafulaÔÇöas it is now called, held its fifteenth edition on May 9 at its home ground Botswanacraft. The festival, which is meant to preserve our old custom of sharing and celebrating a successful harvest, presented a colourful spectacle of traditional cuisine, music, games, poetry and attire under the theme ‘Letlepu tsina ya Letlhafula, re ja re ikgora menwana’.
On arrival, the event already had food starters such as mosukujane (wild mint tea) and dinawa. A variety of snacks ranging from wild fruits to fried ground nuts were also served to the delight of the attendees that don’t have access to them daily. Batswana flocked the festival more than non-nationals and it was a family affair for most people.
“Batswana love and appreciate the festival, which is why they always want to share the experience and bring their children as well to come and enjoy the vast variety of traditional food found in Botswana,” said Managing Director of Botswanacraft Oliver Groth in a previous article.
The atmosphere was definitely nostalgic of the old times, and many were clad in dashiki and leteisi cloths designed elegantly. The host kept the audience busy with a game of idioms and even gave away a few prizes.
This year had two stages facilitated by the event’s major sponsors Orange and Botswanacraft. People migrated between the two stages as performers entertained. This was fun for some while it grew tiresome for others. One of the event organisers, Kabelo Nkhwa, said the event gets bigger by the year. “The event has become part of the local cultural calendar for many families and we want to maintain that standard,” she said.
Highlights of the event were the performances and the food by the opinions of many. Gracing the stage were the likes of Ndingo Johwa, Moroka Moreri, Seragantshwane, Kgabo traditional dance group, Sibongile Kgaile, Donald Molosi’s ‘Phemelo’ play and Punah. More than 25 dishes were served at lunch to the indulgence of those who find traditional cuisine the cornerstone of the event. The food queue could have been better organised as the entrance was congested for a while.
“We love this festival. It comes once a year and the vast assortment of indigenous food is what keeps us coming for more,” said one of the guests.
“I enjoyed myself, but I feel the festival brings the same acts each year and not enough new dishes for us to treat ourselves. As the festival grows, we want to see it growing by what it offers us. New and exciting features would be great,” said Setso who said he has been attending the event for over five years.
The event was sponsored by Orange, Botswanacraft, The Voice and Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. It is expected to take place again next year.