Cultural troupe Mafitlhakgosi from old Naledi in Gaborone were like the icing on the cake during this year’s independence celebrations.
The group looks poised to take the cultural music front by storm, shinning at all the shows they are invited to perform at.
Having graced so many big corporate events lately, the group is establishing its presence among the best traditional groups.
This past week, the troupe, comprising both young and mature dancers, managed to add to their growing fan base during Tuesday’s Independence Day celebrations.
Mafitlhakgosi’s strength lies in the high-energy, enthusiasm and charm of their mostly child-dancers, and the diversity of their dances. The dances range from Setapa, Phathisi and Hosana.
Another interesting addition the group displayed was when the members imitated to perfection some of the biggest local performers on stage such as Vee, ATI and Dramaboi.
Seven-year old Tshiamo is by far the star attraction of the group. This little performer always exudes confidence whenever he dances and is not shy to engage the audience. All this makes people fall in love more with the group.
The group’s coordinator and founder, Joseph Ikopeng said the troupe started in 2009. He explained that after his departure from Mowana group, he decided to form his own group in his home town Zola.
“At the beginning it was only me and my family in the group,” he said. “Then other people, mostly children who saw my nephew Tshiamo, also wanted to be part of it so I allowed it and the group members increased to 40.”
The main reason he decided to form the group, he says, was to help keep the community from being involved in vices like drugs, alcohol abuse and stealing.
“Our neighborhood is best known for pitiful things like a high rate of theft and the youth here mostly tend to indulge in alcohol and drug abuse at a tender age. That is why I included people of different ages in the group so that they encourage and inspire their age mates to live positively,” he said.
So far the plan seems to be working. The group is already making a lot of money and as a result he managed to open bank accounts for all members of the group.
“I always encourage them to make good use of that money and so far I have not heard that the money was not used properly. We are adults and the only way God can bless us with more money is if we continue to improve our living standards or if we help improve other people’s lives,” he said.
As their peers see them making money for themselves through dance, they are encouraged and motivated to start their own groups. There are a few more groups that are emerging from Old Naledi because of Mafitlhakgosi.
The future looks bright for the group, Ikopeng said, with recognition coming from other parts of the world.
“Just last month we were invited to perform in Europe but we could not go as our visas were approved late,” he said.
“However, we may be leaving next month for China although it is as yet not a done deal,” he added.