All roads lead to Maun these coming Easter Holidays for the annual horse riding competition, the Mascom National Derby.
The event will be hosted at the Shashe Racing Track on the 30th of this month. The event, which will be entering its eighth year, is one of the biggest horse racing shows in Botswana and it attracts many local horse breeders and jockeys.
The derby is sponsored by Mascom Wireless Botswana.
Speaking in an interview, Mascom’s Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer, Tebogo Lebotse, said they expect an increase in participation from breeders and jockeys this year. She says over the years, the derby has shown positive growth and continues to be one of the ‘most exciting events in the calendar of events in Maun.’ “Horse racing is very close to the hearts of residents of Maun and Gantsi. However, over the years, we have seen horse owners from other areas of the country taking part in this event. Besides participants from these two areas, this year, we expect to attract participants from as far as Sehithwa, Charles Hill, Gumare and Palapye. We also expect to have participants from Namibia,” Lebotse said.
To ensure that the competition is open to all who have horses, Lebotse said the race is divided into two categories, namely the Tswana breeds and the thoroughbreds. With Maun being Botswana’s tourism capital, the Mascom Chief Communications officer said she expects the derby to continue growing as ‘many people flock there during the Easter holidays.’
Meanwhile, Lebotse said Mascom has invested over P3 million in the derby over the past eight years. She said as a company, Mascom wants to be closer to its customers and engaging in sports enables the company to do as such. She said the company believes sports can contribute to the growth of local economies while also promoting healthy lifestyles.
“This event also gives small business owners an opportunity to make some money as they are given an opportunity to buy stalls and sell their wares at the event. This, therefore, ensures that the small business owners get an opportunity to earn money from the event,” she explained.
On other issues, Lebotse said since last year, Mascom has taken a decision to use the event as a platform for the company to engage in other Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaigns to improve the lives of Batswana. The Mascom Chief Communications Officer said in the past year, the company donated computers to some deserving organizations.
This year, Lebotse said the company will make donations in the form of communication technology equipment as well as money to the Okavango Artists Association, which works with Visual artists.