In the hindsight installment of Sightlines [n. any of the lines of sight between the spectators and the stage.] we recount the highlights of the festival
The opening ceremony marked my first day at the festival although there were activations prior; Ditshwanelo Human Rights screenings and discussions, family fun day and Shakespeare double bill which were all thrilling and effective in getting the community interested in attending the festival. I especially appreciated the creative writing workshops that were held every day during the course of the festival. I got to learn about the benefits of improvisation in overcoming writers block, writing for the stage and how to effectively use your body to establish strong stage presence. The workshops were beneficial in providing a safe haven for word lovers and upcoming artists to share ideas, experiences and explore opportunities that can advance their personal and professional growth.
The highlights of the well attended opening night were the scintillating showcase of talent by young energetic dance crew Urban Empire , Leshie Lovesong and the talented Maruapula Marimba band that impressed their varied talents and vibrancy. Shakespeare wa Tshela! was a huge success and a crowd favorite judging by the fully packed Maitisong Auditorium. The ADFA Botswana film production and proved once again that there is much talent and hope for the film industry in our country and we all bear untold stories inside each and every one of us.
The panel discussion led by Mmabatho Motsamai and sat in by Robin Chivadzwe, Ann Gollifer, Levinia , Mbali, Miles hodges, great and effective in pulling artist from all disciplines in the same room discussing how to stimulate the arts industry in the country in order to benefit the economy. My take home was learning the importance of packaging projects so that the value proposition is well received, engaging and can be appreciated by the approached parties. But perhaps the biggest milestones we must overcome is branding our art to be able to compete on an international level, nurture creative talents from a young age and ‘be mindful of how we as society enable each other to present a unified front in effecting policy change and alter cultural perceptions that art cannot be a viable career choice’ suggested renowned artist Anne Gollifer.
The triple bill dance experience was exhilarating to say the least; Namibian dance troupe #OYO gave a stunning, informative theatrical music show touching on a number of pertinent societal issues and Mophato dance group stole the night with their multi art display of dance, song, and music arrangement.
My evening of poetry, spoken word and music at Thapong was fantastic, I got to mingle with new people, sing along to popular songs, and revel in the poetry punch lines. Overall the festival was fantastic and achieved its objective of engaging with artist and showcasing the diversity of the arts industry in Botswana, providing a platform for local artists to interact and share ideas and experiences with other international and regional performers.
In a nutshell, the entire Festival was a blast. The festival acted as more than a space of entertainment, but for creative to ignite their sense of creativity. For writers to be cured of writers block. For artists to create and nurture international networks and collaborations. I only suggest for the next Maitison Festival to be towards the end of the month when pockets are more swollen and ready to purchase multiple tickets.
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.