GABORONE, BOTSWANA — Internationally acclaimed, Motswana ARTivist and human rights practitioner, Kat Kai Kol-Kes yesterday (Thursday) showcased her production, “My Tongue. My Noose” in Botswana as part of the 2019 Maitisong Festival for its African premiere. The production, performed in Setswana and English, is a poetry cycle which explores issues of freedom, power and identity through a de-colonial lens and is laced with sparks of rebellion in its interrogation.
Kol-Kes is a globally practicing development champion who merges human rights, arts and politics to elicit responses from audiences and develop dialogue spaces for community building purposes.
While the production is having its African premiere with two shows 25 & 27 April at 7pm at Moving Space (located on the Maru-a-Pula School campus), it came to fruition in 2018 when the Yale University African Students Association commissioned the work as part of Kol-Kes’ engagement in the ivy league institution’s Africa Salon – a conference pooling together the knowledge resources of African practitioners and scholars on the continent and in the diaspora. Some of the works have already been performed in England, Scotland, and United States of America.
After receiving positive responses to the work, Kol-Kes saw it fit to have the production programmed as part of the Maitisong Festival in order to “show people in Botswana why I keep getting called to do work around the world.” The multiple award winner – currently serving as a 2019 UN Religion Fellow with OutRight Action International, a Chevening scholarship alumnus and Botswana’s only TED Fellow – has factored in the festival performance as part of a busy work calendar for the year: “so that young people of the country can truly understand that their voices are relevant, worth space and fundamental to shaping the futures they desire.”
Kat, a sociology graduate of Goldsmiths University of London in Human Rights, Culture, and Social Justice, says the title, “My Tongue. My Noose” is inspired by an observation of the current state of self-expression and access to the human right of freedom of expression in a time where political correctness can become one’s undoing. “I want us to confront how we grapple with issues where some of us talk ourselves to our own hangings; because in this grappling we are able to establish ways of building a better world fit for everyone rather than a select few” says the ARTivist and educator. The production is the performative strand of a poetry book set to be published in late 2019, and aims to allow people access to some unexplored thoughts and politics.
Tickets are on sale at Maitisong, Spar and through webtickets for P120 (adults) and P100 (students/pensioners/groups of ten).