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Khoesip Remmogo top Namastaap Polka competitions

22 May 2023

Reigning National Arts Festival champions Khoesip Cultural Group of Tsabong proved their prowess by snatching position one in Namastaap category with 80 per cent during the Polka and Namastaap competition in Tsabong on Saturday.

I’hunikam, also from Tsabong, came second with 78 per cent, followed by the newly established Tibasen Cultural Group of Tsabong in the third position at 76 perc ent, while Ikharakhoen Cultural Group from Lokgwabe came fourth at 70 per cent.

The folk dance of the Nama people, which resembles Tsutsube traditional dance - Namastaap category, had eight  groups battling it out to move to the second leg of the competition.

The Polka and Namastaap groups wowed the spectators with their spectacular artistic excellence, displaying the rich cultural heritage to secure a slot for the national arts festival slated for July.

“Namastaap is a native dance which originates from Kgalagadi area and is relatively new in the nationals and so we shall send four groups to the nationals as it is not widely spread.

We had groups from Tsabong, Ghanzi, Lokgwabe and Ramotswa competing.

All of the four groups shall proceed to the national arts festival to be held in July,” said Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, acting district coordinator for Tsabong, Dintle Kenosi in an interview.
In the Polka dance category, Remmogo Culture Group from Ghanzi scintillated the crowd with smooth rhythmic romantic moves, which landed them comfortably in position one with 83 per cent, seconded by Tsabong Polka Group with 78 per cent.

Gareng Ga Dithota from Khawa got position three with 77 percent and Maqdieding Polka Group from Struizendam finished in the fourth place with 75 per cent.

Kenosi said 14 groups participated and since the dance has spread nationwide, Ghanzi and Kgalagadi region shall send position one and two only to the nationals.

“Other regions are also holding competitions as we speak and the two districts shall send position ones only,” she said.

She said the theme for this year is; Creative Economy, Botswana Future Redefined, and the key objectives of the competition was to unearth artistic talent, develop and preserve cultural heritage, hence the competitions served to provide a platform for the artistes to express themselves and pass it on to the next generations.

The regional Namastaap and Polka competitions, she said, were successful with about 330 artistes of both genres participating.

“It was well attended, we started on time.

We are happy that all groups invited showed up.”

In an interview, Remmogo Polka Group leader, Jackson Dekop said they had a lot of challenges in preparing for the regional competitions and under pressure to prove themselves.

“We were the underdogs as we started from the scratch.

Our motive was to come and represent our district, come and show people what Polka is.

Polka is about Love, respect, loyalty and kindness on stage.

You have to respect your partner and your group mates and we were able to achieve that,” he said.

For his part, Khoesip Cultural Group leader Tshepang Vanweyk said they managed to win because the group started preparations early.

They were rebuilding the group from a split, which occurred last year after the National Arts Competitions victory, which led to the birth of Tibasen Cultural Group.

“We split because of internal conflict and lack of financial accountability.

Now we intend to improve our administration, do better and perform beyond Botswana borders,” he said.

He appreciated the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture for empowering traditional dance artistes through National Arts Festivals competitions, which gave them a platform to express themselves. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Calviniah Kgautlhe

Location : TSABONG

Event : Polka and Namastaap competition

Date : 22 May 2023