Maitisong Festival is gearing up to wrap up what would have been an eventful thirty days of festivals that include the Hamptons Festival, Gaborone International Jazz Festival, and the Summer Explosion. Maitisong, Botswana’s longest running arts festival is scheduled to take place over a five day period commencing on April 22nd and wrapping up on the 26th.
Featuring a kaleidoscope of events that include poetry, jazz, comedy, theatre, and a music show, the festival promises something for everyone depending on what rocks your world.
If you are into theater Botswana’s Broadway export Donald Molosi, alongside Donn Swaby (Chad in Passions) will premier his acclaimed theatre production Today It’s Me. Based on the life story of the Ugandan musician Philly Bongole Lutaaya. The musical play tells the moving story of courage and determination that saved the lives of many people.
Philly Lutaaya was the first famous African personality to publicly declare his HIV positive status.
For a nation that is more famous for its high HIV/AIDS prevalence per capita than anything else, the play could not have been more appropriate.
For those in love with the aesthetics of word play and storytelling Dasha Kelly, a poet and writer from the United States of America, is back at Maitisong Festival after her successful poetry show in 2014. “She will run workshops and perform alongside TJ Dema, Berry Heart, Leshie Lovesong and many more local poets,” says a statement from the organisers. Local rapper and Channel O award winner Game ‘Zeus’Bantsi will also perform at the weeklong festival.
“Zeus will be ‘bringing it home’ to the Maitisong stage – the stage that has contributed to his career as an international award-winning artist.”
Not to be left behind residents of Old Naledi will also get to enjoy in their own backyard the flagship Old Naledi Outdoor Music Show which will take place at the Old Naledi Soccer Field. “This is a highly-anticipated show that always brings Zola to a standstill,” the organisers say. “The show has been supported by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture since its inception over 10 years ago. It continues to provide a platform for upcoming artists to share the stage with their more established role models in front of over ten thousand ecstatic spectators.”
For the jazz lovers out there what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with the sounds of Bhudaza and The Metrophones at the open space state-of-the-art Molapo Piazza? The two will be supported by the CAFCA and Tshwane Orchestras from South Africa, and Botswana’s Tsholofelo Foundation Orchestra on April 26.
Maitisong Festival is an annual event that started in 1987.
It has been the biggest arts festival in Botswana with international and local artists bringing theatre, dance, poetry and comedy to audiences in several venues around Gaborone at a fee, and music shows to thousands of revelers in under-privileged areas like Old Naledi free of charge. “The 2015 theme, ‘elevate’, aims to take the arts in Botswana to greater heights. It reflects clarity of purpose for the need to professionalise the arts by pushing the envelope and setting the bar even higher. This is in line with Botswana Government’s realization of the potential of the arts to drive economic diversification efforts away from diamonds. The Festival is moving in unexplored directions. We are excited by the possibilities ahead of us as a Festival, as a city, and as a country,” says a statement from the organisers.