The initial invitation for the 21 Ngwao Letshwao artists to participate in a Canberra, Australia, National Multicultural was performed by the group’s Director, Odirile Rammoni from February 7 to 9, 2014 due to the scarcity of funds from sponsors back home.
Upon his return from Canberra, Rammoni told this publication that he had to go out with a limited budget, board a plane at the 11th hour to attend and perform at the multicultural event alongside some of the world’s renowned cultural dance troupes.
“Against all the odds, especially lack of funding, I attended the 2014 National Multicultural Festival and played a fair share of marketing Botswana as an investment and tourist destination of choice. The extravaganza, despite the paucity of time, gave me the unique opportunity to meet and participate in tandem with some of 20 cultural dance troupes drawn from as far afield as Russia, Burundi, Brazil, New Zealand, Ghana, Senegal, apart from 200 Australian counterparts.”
There is little doubt that a lasting and positive impression was made during the festivities.
“The Australian Office of Multicultural Affairs Director, Mr. Nic Manikis has extended another high level invitation to the entire Ngwao Letshwao Dance Troupe to participate in the 2015 National Multicultural Festival,” said Rammoni.
He showed a signed copy of the invitation dated February 10, 2014.
Giving a brief narration of his experiences while at Canberra, Rammoni said he met Deputy High Commission of the Botswana Mission to Australia, Wame Petlhu Dechambenoit, who collected him from the airport and invited him to attend the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales which was held at the Canberra ACT Pavilion, Northbourne Avenue on February 8.
She slotted him to present a piece entitled: “A Journey through Botswana’s culture, music and dance”.
The audience he said was impressed by the traditional attire he was wearing. It was the same one he used for the performance.
He made a one-man dance during the dinner hosted for 300 women from New South Wales.
“I was interviewed by the media who were overwhelmed by my attire, bow and arrow, which they saw for the first time. Most of the media practitioners said they only knew Botswana for diamonds and not as a tourism or investment destination,” said an excited Rammoni.
He said there was no problem in the presentation and performance during the Multicultural Festival because there was ample time in between. Moreover he had made preparations when he was still at home.
The Festival managed to partner him with the Australian Aboriginal groups, who shared the stage with them and at the end gave him their traditional wind instrument blown like a horn.
“Some of the audience promised to come to Botswana as tourists, investors. I commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation for facilitation of my visa application and Consulate Honorary Mr. Sabbet, for having facilitated visa application and giving me information of interest on Australia,” he said.
He thanked the Botswana Australia Mission for promoting Botswana culture and their hospitality.
Since his main challenge is funding, he appealed to the Government be more sympathetic to cultural groups intending to perform abroad as a way of promoting the country culturally as a tourism selling point.