The breath-taking Serokolwane Lawns situated in Oodi in the Kgatleng District became a beehive of activity this past Saturday when a plethora of cultural buffs from all walks of life gathered for the 11th edition of the indigenous Son of the Soil. Batswana, both young and old, from all over the country, dressed in their alluring and colourful traditional attires turned up at the lush Serokolwane Lawns to be part of this event which aims to promote and preserve the various Setswana cultures.
Now on its eleventh year, the event has not only grown in leaps and bounds but also accords Setswana cultural enthusiasts a platform to shine and showcase their beautiful and inspired customary attires. The Botswana cultural attire being synonymous with the German print, Jeremane (or simply Leteisi in Setswana), everywhere one cast his eyes, the patrons looked pristine decked in various Leteisi-inspired designs with matching doeks ( a square of cloth worn mainly by African women to cover the head, especially to indicate married status).
Their male counterparts on the other hand wore various African-inspired attires among them the traditional Zulu headband, traditional shawl-inspired shirts with some having borrowed a leaf from other neighbouring African cultures such as the Basotho and Xhosas. However, despite the event turning out to be a colourful fashion spectacle, there’s more to it than meets the eye all thanks to the fun and interactive games that patrons get to participate in throughout the day, as well as tasting a platter of numerous traditional food and drinks.
Son of the Soil Chairman, Jerry Mwendapole revealed that the event has since become a beacon of hope for the preservation of Setswana culture adding that quite humbling is the fact that even its followers have seen the need to comply with all the event guidelines including the strict adherence to the traditional wardrobe.
“Most people now understand that we are a sole Setswana cultural event and they all come dressed accordingly. Please note that we are also open to other cultures beyond just the standard Leteisi. We are fully aware that our cultural fashion has evolved over the years hence why we are always happy to see the various and creatively inspired ethnic attires across our Son of the Soil patrons.”
Furthermore, the Chairman added that as the event continue to grow year-in and year-out, they have since introduced stalls where various traditional foods are available on sale to the copious masses. He said in this way, Son of the Soil further assists local business to grow as well as get noticed.
Meanwhile, one of the custodians of the Setswana culture, Kgosi Mosielele of Moshupa who was part of the day’s proceedings said he was happy to see the youthful organizers of Son of the Soil being in the forefront of preserving culture as well as instilling a sense of belonging to various Botswana citizens.
“For me culture is you! Who you are as a person is your culture because we are able to tell where you come from. It’s our forefathers who set the tone and gatherings such as this confirms it. I therefore applaud these youth (organizers) for continuously hosting this event, which continues to grow yearly. I wish it grows furthermore and becomes a force to reckon with.”
Several followers among them, Goitsemodimo who was attending the event for the first time could not hide her excitement adding that the traditional occasion is an extremely fulfilling experience.
“It is without doubt that I am enjoying myself here. I have always wanted to attend but failed several times. After seeing this event on television in the past forced me to attend this one and I’m not disappointed. The people are lovely and have truly dressed up. I had the opportunity to eat samp, pounded meat (seswaa) and wash down with a cup of ginger beer (gemere). This has been nothing but a super day for me,” concluded the youthful Goitsemodimo clad in a long skirt which she confessed symbolized her true African identity.
The Saturday event included free breakfast and lunch for all the VIPs. Traditional beer (bojalwa ja Setswana) was also on offer and was unlimited throughout the day. The day’s proceedings were punctuated by various Setswana games including Morabaraba, koi, mhele as well as traditional song and dance.