SIGHTLINES: Maitisong Arts Festival 2016 Opening Review

Journey with poet and writer, Maipelo M Zambane as she offers daily reviews and critiques of some of the 2016 Maitisong Festival offerings.

It is always a pleasure to be invited to engage with different Art forms as it inspires and fuels my own thought and writing process. I have always enjoyed drinking up Art from other performances and acts but this time I would have to offer my own reflections.

The festival comes at an opportune time in our country as government department, private companies and other stakeholders are recognizing and appreciating the contribution the creative industry is making to our economic development.

In the first installment of Sightlines [n. any of the lines of sight between the spectators and the stage.] we take a look at the official opening of the festival.




I was grateful for having been healthy enough to attend the opening night as my health had been touch and go the entire weekend. Concocting a mixture of feelings, anxiety and excitement both erupted in my belly, at the thought of mixing and mingling with all the artist. The show opened by sultry acoustics as a prelude to Kaone and Umbambi Ndinwenyu’s brilliant hosting, introducing Maruapula High school’s Andrew Taylor, who made his first (in 12 years) political statement, giving his views (and apologizing) for US Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s bigoted views on people of diversity, just before he began speaking on the exponential talent and growth in the arts industry in Botswana.


DSC_0057-001As the opening performance, Leshie Lovesong captivated the audience with her long flowing Grecian gown and transcended voice backed by a powerful acoustic band, which included Cedric on the guitar and supporting vocals. The young, energetic and multi-talented Maruapula Marimba Group mesmerized the audience with their original compositions and afro infused up-tempo tunes. The highlight of the night had to be the daring yet thoroughly entertaining performance by Urban Empire when they gave a martial arts skit which flowed into a dangerous fire throwing act before the entire group came on stage to give an edge of the seat Hip hop dance choreography.


Overall, the opening of the festival was thrilling and concise in line with their theme to #engage. Because of the lack of long speeches and the electrifying performances it felt like the night ended too prematurely but it surely left the audience panging for more art – but we’ll cure that in the next coming days . I’m delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to attend the opening night and look forward to catching more of the billed acts and performances.


Maipelo M Zambane is a poet, writer, businesswoman, social media enthusiast and co-founder of MOscripts a literary advocacy group that wishes to preserve our culture through written and spoken word. She loves hanging with family and friends and is a sucker for a perfectly grilled T-bone. Follow her on twitter, instagram and her blog.