This year’s annual Olympic Day celebrations are to be celebrated in Gabane Village in the Kweneng District. It will be celebrated on the 15th June under the theme; ‘Move, learn and discover’.
The Communications Officer of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), Obakeng Matlou, revealed in an interview with Sunday Standard that the event is meant primarily to educate the general public about Olympics and the importance of the Olympic activities.
“We want to motivate, especially the youth in rural areas that they can have big dreams which might end up being true. For instance, the group that the nation so much celebrated its achievement in the past world Olympic Games is not from Gaborone. They originate from rural areas. So, even someone from Gabane can become something in the Olympic world,” said Matlou.
He said that is why the event is celebrated at various areas in the country to take the Olympic to the people. In fact, since the people out there produce the athletes and other participants, taking the Olympic day there is giving back to them. That is why also, they involve the communities that host the events in the preparations for the activities. They suggest the kind of activities they wish to be part of the event. The event also promotes culture promotional activities.
In the case of Gabane, Matlou said that they used raffle to decide on which school to represent Botswana schools. The competition was exclusive to junior Certificate schools since their students’ ages fall within age bracket for participation at the Africa Youth games. Gabane Community Junior Secondary won the raffle. And the school is going to take part in exchange of cultural educational activities starting with next year’s African youth Games scheduled for 22-31 May 2014 in Gaborone.
These are continental competitions for youths between ages of 14 to 18 years. The school’s students would be twined with their Chinese counterparts from Nanjing. The world youth competitions will be held in China.
“It is not a flashy event and we do not intend it to be. We just want to ensure that the villagers partake in the plans and preparations of the event. The leadership in the village has embraced us and we are meeting them – Village Development Committees (VDCs) and the chief on a weekly basis,” he said.
It was in one of these meetings that the Chairperson of BNOC Education and Culture Committee, Modise Maphanyane, informed the villagers that the event was previously scheduled for the 23rd June, but since the weekend coincided with that for the Desert Race (1000km), it had to be rescheduled. Concurrent occurrence of both would incapacitate the Police force, whose security services both events needed.
Maphanyane also informed residents that there will be 10km race on the day. The Badminton game would also be brought into the village. Elders were advised to guide on the jokes that would be said on the day. It was for all and healthy jokes would be welcome.
The BNOC is going to sponsor the events of the day. It is meant to be accessible to non-residents of the village. So far an amount of P5000 has been raised.