A famous recite by the founding president of Botswana, the late Sir Seretse Khama that narrates as a nation without a past is a lost nation, and people without a past are people without a soul could be a fitting omen for the passion and enthusiasm the people of Kgalagadi in Ghanzi through Kuru Development Trust had continuously without fail hold the annual Kuru Dance Festival in the past 20 years of its existence.
Kuru Dance Festival is an annual cultural event where different Basarwa groups from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa come together to celebrate and share their rich cultural heritage of storytelling, song and dance. It is hosted in Dqae Qare Farm in the village of D’kar just outside Ghanzi. On its essence, it is the heat, the dust, the clapping and the rhythmic stamping of feet that add to an intensely spiritual experience of their rich cultures.
Beyond mere cultural appreciation of Kuru Dance Festival, there is intrinsic value in the festival and how it serves to grow and develop the local community and her people. For the past 20 years, the renowned festival has brought together a variety of diverse communities from across Botswana, and even beyond our borders. Kuru Dance Festival is a celebration of the diversity of our tribal cultures, as the performances, businesses, and further audiences engaged, come from a variety of communities across Botswana and beyond.
When speaking during the press briefing last week to launch the 20th anniversary, the Managing Director of Barclays Bank Botswana Reinette Van Der Merwe said as the bank and the headline sponsor of the festival for four consecutive years, there is much business potential and developmental opportunity to be exploited through in Ghanzi though this cultural event, as it is an important tool for driving intra-community trade and encouraging the growth of Botswana tourism thus their efforts to continue to giving back to the community of Ghanzi.
“It is once again wonderful to mark and celebrate the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Kuru Dance Festival. We celebrate the Kuru Dance Festival, an event that we care deeply about at Barclays Bank of Botswana not only because it is the fourth year in which we so proudly partnered with the Kuru Development Trust, but because of the rich cultural heritage found in a celebration such as that of the Kuru Dance Festival. We are excited about this year’s event as it marks its 20th anniversary, and it has been a remarkable journey seeing this event gain traction year after year. Kuru Dance Festival continues to attract local and international audiences. One of the Trust’s proud moments came when the festival was included to be part of our National calendar during the Botswana 50 years celebration, making it locally and internationally recognized, as it rightly should be.”
For his part, the patron of the Kuru Dance Festival, Ponatshego Kedikilwe said on behalf of the Kuru Dance Festival, they share gratitude for the unwavering support over the years from different entities particularly Barclays Bank Botswana. He said continuity to support the Trust and the Festival into the future will indeed stringer and even more diverse ways.
“As the proud Patron of the Kuru Development Trust, it is indeed a privilege to be speaking about this festival so many years after its establishment in 1997, for it means a proven two decades of our efforts as a collective coming to fruition. The work of the Trust goes hand in hand with members of the community who work tirelessly to make this Festival a reality. The Kuru Dance Festival is undeniably an important platform to celebrate and preserve the heritage of the Basarwa, who form part of the diverse culture in Botswana”
Kedikilwe further said the festival is a platform that celebrates the heritage of the Basarwa people through a number of dances that tell the life story of the Basarwa who reside in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Furthermore he said these dances touch on numerous topics such as rites of passage, puberty, hunting and gathering, courtship and trance healing.
Kuru Dance Festival is billed for the 24 and 25 of August and has received over a P338, 000 contributions from Barclays Bank Botswana to facilitate and bring the festival to life.