01 July, 2012

Performing to the heartbeat of culture and heritage

By  Kgowa Tiragalo

Performing at City Hall on 30th of June for the National Arts Festival, the Rustenburg Bafokeng Arts Theatre company showed that culture is close to their hearts with Moribo Wa Setswana, a music and dance ensemble  celebrating seTswana culture and heritage. Their show is a tribute to Batswana heritage by performing various styles of Batswana dance, music and song.
The performance group was formed in 1998 by Thabo Kgatje, who recruited young people to
start the group. Their first performance took place in 2000 when they showcased their talent for
FIFA management personnel who were in the country for the Soccer World
Cup preparations. The company also performed overseas, courtesy of
Johannesburg-based Victory Sonqoba Theatre company and Bongani Linda, who is head of the Rustenburg theatre company.

Bafokeng Arts Theatre is performing at the Festival for the first time. “It’s
our first time in Grahamstown and we are happy to be here to showcase our
culture on a larger scale,” said Kgatje.

Even though they had financial problems, they managed to attend the
Festival with the help of other companies which financed all their
traveling, meals and accommodation costs. “At the moment we have no
sponsors but several companies like Royal Bafokeng, Anglo American and
Kgokagano Communications helped us in achieving our dreaming of performing
in a big event like this,” said Kgatje.

He also added that though every organisation had problems, bringing up challenges and tackling them together as a team is important for the entire company’s success.
The writer  is  part of the Future Journalist Programme (2012), a project of Highway Africa at the Rhodes University School of Journalism & Media Studies.

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