Sightlines: Maitisong Festival 2016, April 13 Review






Journey with poet and writer, Maipelo M Zambane as she offers daily reviews and critiques of some of the 2016 Maitisong Festival offerings.
In the second installment of Sightlines [n. any of the lines of sight between the spectators and the stage.] we take a look at some of the acts from the previous day.


13th April 2016

I started my morning by attending the creative writing workshops hosted by Mandisa and facilitated by Miles Hodges, Aether, and Ngozi Chukura. To be in the same space with word-lovers willing to share their ideas and experiences felt and tasted absolutely invigorating.  Through the brilliant facilitation process, the workshops created a safe space for everyone to share their art.

From the creative jolt I headed over to Maitisong for the showcasing of Shakespeare o a tshela project; spearheaded by Alastair Hagger in commemoration of 400 years of Shakesperian influence on literature and the arts. The energetic and passionate MC Lali Dangazele welcomed Katy Ransome, the British high commissioner to Botswana who gave a rousing opening speech and gave way to the first act of the evening.

Basadi baga Shakespeare  gave a reverting performance of a scene from Othello and the first scholarly production by actors from St Joseph’s College performed exquisitely, akin to professional theatre particularly  with their fluid movements on stage. The audience was in stitches of laughter during the entire showcase because of the placards that had comical yet introspective quotes about life and the human psyche. The first Maruapula group took to the stage and gave a convincing performance of the three witches in MacBeth with drums for acoustic and a smoke machine to depict the atmosphere. Naledi Senior Secondary School and Kagiso Senior Secondary School, Ledumang Senior Secondary each performed their interpretations from Twelfth night and the audience filled with teachers and proud parents roared with applause after each act.

The AFDA Botswana team under the direction and production of Tefo Paya delivered a powerful motion picture inspired by Three of Shakespeare’s sonnets (15,127,129) the central theme being about lust, worldly temptations and what the future holds for the next generation. The short film depicts the moral decay of our society of young people’s incessant partying, clubbing and drinking every day. Furthermore, it raises awareness against the dangers of pursuing the fast life and lusting after worldly possessions without considering the imminent risk and consequences and the effect on the future.

The interpretation of Measure by Measure by the actors hand selected by the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture was my highlight of the evening. The performance was heartfelt and resonated with the audience as the actors celebrated the sacrifices and hardwork that their mothers, aunts and sisters put in for them ( their safety and wellbeing) .

Award winning Poet and writer Barolong Seboni,Hip hop sensation Zeus and setswana praise poet Moroka Moreri each gave stellar pieces and performances much to the elation of the audience.

Overall I was fascinated by the sheer success of the project considering its magnitude and logistics. Major props to the costume designers of all the different acts that took to the stage,  it takes effort and unwavering determination to invest in the visual as much as the vocal.

The evening closed off with the last interpretation of the Twelfth night by The University of Botswana drama ensemble. The infusion of modern day pop songs and Shakespearian narrative made the performance relatable to many people in the audience. It was an exhilarating experience being showered with of a night theatre and poetry and I’m looking forward to the rest of the Maitisong Arts festival.

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.