Saturday, December 9, 2023

The popular Domboshaba Festival slated for October 3

Noting the disappearance of Kalanga culture and lack of awareness among Bakalanga of their historical heritage, Mukani Action Campaign (MAC), a society of writers (based in Francistown) that publishes Kalanga literary works initiated the festival in 2000. MAC was later joined by Society for the Promotion of Ikalanga Language (SPIL).

The festival has been held every year ever since and continues to grow in popularity. It is held near Domboshaba Ruins, one of the many architectural remains of the proto-Kalanga who inhabited much of the valleys of the Limpopo and its tributaries from about 900 years ago. Domboshaba gets its name from Dombo (which means hill) and shábà (which means red, in reference to the strikingly red clay that decorated the town). The architectural signature of this medieval Kalanga civilisation stretches from the Khami Ruins in present day Zimbabwe, through Domboshaba to Mosu on the south-eastern edges of Makgadikgadi Pans, and as far south as the Lotsane river.

Archaeological studies have shown that Domboshaba was a significant trading centre beginning around 1400 facilitating the exchange of salt, tobacco, game trophies, copper and gold for glass beads and textiles. Trade in Kalanga is ‘kush├áb├á. The Banyai – Bakalanga Empire fell into decline by the early 1800, was defeated by a splinter group of the Swazi around 1840 and supplanted by the Ndebele shortly thereafter.

Many Bakalanga today do not know their glorious history and some have even bought into the idea by some that Bakalanga are recent settlers in Botswana. Domboshaba festival allows all the opportunity to appreciate the heritage of Bakalanga and perhaps draw lessons on social systems, environmental management, metallurgy and architectural technology from this period of Kalanga history.

Ikalanga Language
One other example of Bakalanga’s heritage that has survived from the time of the last Mambo (King), around 170 years ago is the Kalanga language (Ikalanga).

Although Kalanga language was first written by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, the limited literature was lost during the political upheavals caused by the mfecane which precipitated the collapse of the Banyai – Bakalanga Empire around 1840, under pressure from Nguni settlers from the south. By the time lands previously occupied by this empire saw relative peace, new borders were imposed by the British effectively dividing the land into what is today western Zimbabwe and eastern Botswana. By 1900, literature in Kalanga reappeared mostly through the efforts of Christian missionaries. From 1900 to 1972 Kalanga was used as a medium of instruction in Kalanga schools in both Botswana and Zimbabwe. Some of the literature generated during this period is still available.

However, in 1972, the government of Botswana, citing financial constraints, directed that the use of Kalanga as a medium of instruction in schools should cease. A Kalanga community newsletter in Tutume was also stopped. This decision was to have far reaching consequences, one of which is a sharp decline in the volume of literary works in Kalanga.

Today some Bakalanga cannot speak Ikalanga. This is a sign that the language is beginning to die and with it the unique wisdom and knowledge it has accumulated over the centuries. However, this eventuality can be avoided if Bakalanga decide to use their language at their homes, their schools and other public institutions. The population of Bakalanga is large enough to make the publication of Kalanga literary works commercially viable. From history, no community has ever achieved meaningful development without decoding the instruments of development into their own language. It is through our language that we learn and understand the world around us better!

The Competition


Domboshaba Lodge (Tel: 2481071 Fax: 2481073) is 15 kilometers away from Masunga Village. The lodge has this Setswana touch, where you really feel at home with thatched rooms.
It has 8 rooms with hot water and television at very low cost.
Conference: Conference room which allows 150 people, large screen, television with video projector and air conditioning.

Restaurant: We serve a full a-al-carte, Setswana food, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for international standards. We also do outside catering for school, corporate functions, weddings, weddings photo shooting, tour guide at Domboshaba Ruins, and Mantenge Hills.
We will be celebrating Tenth Annual Domboshaba Festival and Ndingo Johwa will be entertaining.

Competition: Domboshaba Lodge is giving away 1 couple Breakfast,
1 couple dinner, 1 couple Lunch, while Ndingo Johwa is giving away 4 CDs for his album Tjibako and three tickets for the Domboshaba Festival.
To enter the competition, please send the answer to the following questions to [email protected]
The closing date is 23 September, 2009

Question: How many rooms does Domboshaba Lodge have?
Who will be entertaining at the Domboshaba Festival?
What does Domboshaba mean?


Read this week's paper