Newsletter - March 2002
Maitisong, Maru a Pula School, P.Bag 0045, Gaborone,
Tel: (267)371809; Fax: (267)584946.
Edited by David Slater
Maitisong Festival 2002
12 - 20 APRIL 2002
Sefanyetso and Otto Oussoren have started working for the Festival as
the dash for the Festival week begins. It’s later this year being in
the school holiday. The Festival Offices are in place and the nervous
energy rises daily, fuelled by coffee and doughnuts.
Festival has some new features, especially in the Outdoor Programme.
For the first time we are going to use the TSHOLOFELO PARK as an
outdoor venue. That will be on the first weekend (12-14 April) when a
full programme of free outdoor shows will be put on. If this works
well, we hope to make it a major venue for 2003, even putting on main
shows there. The Old Naledi programme still remains and will be on the
second weekend of the Festival (19, 20 April). This has become the
most popular outdoor event of the Festival and is very important to
us. We will not have shows in Bontleng or the B.B.S. mall this year so
that we can concentrate on the new venue.
Indoor shows there are some good shows coming: the well-known South
African conductor, Richard Cock, who is famous for his shows at places
like the Zoo Lake and Kirstenbosch and who also conducts with Prof
Khumalo in the Nation Building concerts, is coming with his choir.
They will join with the Gaborone Music Society to perform the
ever-popular CARMINA BURANA. There will be some fine dancers to go
with the rhythmic music: Mogwana is choreographing dances to go with
some of the numbers.
The Alliance Francaise is bringing Salia Ny
Seidou, a fiver-person dance troupe, to perform FIGNINTO
on the opening show. They will be followed, in a special double-bill
by the BALLET THEATRE AFRIKAN from Pretoria. What a way to open the
Festival! The Soweto Symphony Orchestra and choir will perform with
four local choirs, including the K.T.M. Choir, the K.M.S. Trust Choir
and Dinare from Ramotswa on the last day of the Festival.
first this year is the inclusion of a BOOK FAIR. The British Council
is bringing ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH, author of the set of three books
on Botswana; THE NUMBER ONE LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY, TEARS OF THE
GIRAFFE and MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS. He will talk about his books
and other aspects of writing. There will also local writers who will
join in a panel discussion on writing and then the two ‘lion
children’ from Maun. These are the McNiece children who have lived
in the Okavango while their parents researched the lions there. They
have written about their experiences in a book shortly to be
is the main sponsor of the Festival and is presenting it. The Grand
Palm is a large sponsor who will be assisting us with accommodation.
Budget Rent-a-Car provided the Festival with a free car. The Alliance
Francaise and the British Council have helped with bringing
pictures are back in the Newsletter without bromides, scissors and
glue. This, courtesy of BASENET SOLUTIONS who fixed it in two days
when the big company took 4 months to do nothing. Just shows.
ON THE WEB
Maitisong Webmaster, Sebonego Sebonego of WEBSWANA, is going to keep
the newsletter on the Maitisong web page. Have a look and send us your
A PULA SCHOOL ARTS WEEK
- 23rd March
this week the Maru a Pula students plan a celebration of art,
literature, music and drama. There will be events, workshops and
performances around this theme. Shows and exhibitions will take place
in the afternoons and evenings throughout the week. Check with the
school closer to the time for details of these.
tenor in waiting
young Batswana singers are popping up where you don’t expect. First
there was Gape Motswaledi singing with Sibongile Khumalo at the
Maitisong Festival; then recently Regi Kopi sang in the CARMEN at
the Spier Festival near Cape Town; Angela Kerrison appeared on the front
page of the Johannesburg STAR singing DIDO AND AENEAS with
Sibongile Mngoma also at the Spier Festival and extremely favourably
reviewed; and now another young tenor is demanding attention.
OFENTSE SEGATLHE, currently studying at the University of Cape
Town Music School. He has already been there for four years and has
another two to go. Amazingly, he is not being sponsored by the Ministry
of Education but is one of two young Batswana sponsored by his church,
the Lutheran church of Botswana. In return for his six years at the
university, he will help with the music for the church when he returns.
Ofentse first fell in
love with classical music when he heard the Festival Concert at the 1997
Maitisong Festival. There was a massed choir singing LEISONG by
Gomolemo Motswaledi and other classical western pieces with orchestra.
‘That’s for me!’ he decided and resolved that his future was with
classical singing. Now he is in Cape Town singing with Sally Presant who
has also sung at Maitisong in the past. He has learnt the tough
technique of classical singing and mastered it well. He has also been
learning as much of the repertoire as he can so that he will be able to
market himself as an oratorio soloist or recitalist. While in Cape Town
he has sung at the Kirstenbosch Festival and in schools and churches.
Singing is a powerful passion for Batswana and increasingly young
Batswana are taking on the rigorous training needed to make their voices
blossom into fine instruments. And increasingly they are finding life in
classical music - what one newspaper writer recently called ‘dead
music’. Ofentse was quite offended by that and wondered whether the
writer would have said the same of literature by dead writers like
Shakespeare or Sol Plaatjie or of science by dead scientists like Newton
and Einstein or of philosophy by dead philosophers like Martin Luther
King or Seretse Khama. Who knows?
ISAAC LUNGU and BOIPELO MOAGAESI in BETWEEN THE RIVER AND
'BETWEEN THE RIVER AND THE ROCKS' READY FOR THE ROAD
When the Maru a Pula play, BETWEEN THE RIVER
AND THE ROCKS, was performed last year it was much praised. The
story was good, the production was lively and the costumes and scenery
was beautiful. It was the sort of play and production that should be
seen more widely, especially in Botswana. Everyone concerned felt that
it should tour. That needed money. In order to raise funds the play
was once more performed before an invited audience. It was successful;
but then came the question: what next? Now the hard part comes:
following up and trying to get enough money to take the thirty or so
actors on tour. They need money for transport and for food.
Tears of joy will flow as the long-awaited CD by the
Maru a Pula Marimba Band dances into the market. At last, all those
people who have been asking at the office where they can get a
recording of marimba music need ask no further! The MaP Marimba Band
is one of the very best in the country and the music they play is
sophisticated, catchy and authentic. Not for them the cheap
‘tourist’ music. This is marimba music of quality and music rooted
in the African culture. Many
of the tunes the Map Marimbas have made well-loved are on the CD: “NDINILILA”
(Tears of Joy), “RANCHERA”, “RRE PORQUI”
(the fishy one), “AMAXOXO” (frogs), “RUGARE 1 &
2” and “KANA CHODA” (when it feels like it). Some are
some catchy, some with throbbing bass line, most with weaving
The band has been touring to South Africa, the U.S.A.
and Brazil. Wherever they go they cause a stir.
“TEARS OF JOY” is
on sale at Maitisong for only P80
MAITISONG: NEW, CHANGED THINGS
It’s almost finished now and the
changes and additions to the backstage are looking good. The Festival
will be able to make use of the much improved facilities. Downstairs
we now have two change rooms with showers and a large storeroom (a
contradiction, I know: no storeroom is large enough). Upstairs there
are now three rooms with access by an external staircase. Two smaller
rooms will be music teaching rooms and the third central space is
larger: useful as a rehearsal space, a place to gather before gong on
stage or even a performance space.
And to go with all this is a new
main curtain on the stage designed by Ann Gollifer and made by Design
Afrika. The new wooden floor is here and ballet mats are on order. So
we should be able to entice the dance companies back!
CONTAINS OFFENSIVE MATERIAL
have in your hand a publication that costs us about P1000 per issue
to produce - and that’s only 1 of 11 we produce each year. We are
glad that you have it as we like to keep in touch with you.
would like it even more if you paid your part so that the cost does
not take money away from shows we could bring to you.
send us P50 to P.Bag 0045, Gaborone
flagrantly disregarded the instruction not to read the box and, having read it, sent the Newsletter their subs
We are very
grateful to them!
MRS J. SWARTLAND
Mrs G. WALIA
Last Updated: March 2002