The rich and diverse Botswana culture will take centre stage courtesy of the acclaimed Setswana musical play ‘Kgolo’ affectionately known as “Tlola Pitsa” at the South African State Theatre in Pretoria for a full season run, which begins tomorrow (Friday 6th until 29th October 2017). The venue, The South African State Theatre is a national flagship that facilitates the arts and entertainment, and encourages diverse cultural provision.
The musical features one of the country’s international stage and screen keys such as Seputla Sebogodi who just recently joined Peter Mashigo, Ontiretse Manyetsa, Gaolathle Mathenyane, Segomotso Modise, and Gaoimelwe Mokgakala to name a few on stage. The multi-award winning writer and director, Martin Koboekae offers a rare glimpse into a rich tapestry of Batswana culture and takes viewers on a journey that allows them to stare deep into Batswana’s darkest taboos, theories, myths, faith and convictions.
The Botswana international, Ntirelang Berman is expected to fly the Botswana ‘Blue, Black and White’ flag high as he brings a lot of fresh air to the play with his richly textured music and dance choreography. Berman, a 36-year-old Ramotswa native has been a consistent force in Botswana’s folklore music and has in the past taken this music globally as shown by his invitations to perform in Germany, China, Japan and Canada , just to mention a few.
Berman was also part of the My African Dream Talent Search in its formative years. A couple of years ago, the young man released a key folklore album (Maloba) that won Best Folklore award at the second Botswana Music Union (BOMU) Awards.
He’s a hard-core traditionalist whose aim is to revive the waning and wanting traditional music and the culture associated with it. The Ramotswa-born musician is undisputedly one of the leading traditional musicians Botswana has ever produced and has in the past described the music that he sings as ‘classical Tswana poetry’. The young man is a rare gem.
He is so much endowed with musical talent and his angelic voice aside; he can play different guitar strings – the four-string guitar made famous by Stampore, five and six Balete string and the standard string. And as if that is not enough, Berman can also play both segaba and stinkane.
The producer of the production, Karabo Kgokong was this week happy to extend an invitation to Brand Botswana (Botswana Investment and Trade Centre) to witness the production live, which for the first time will feature exclusively four (4) talented band members from Botswana namely Ntirelang S. Berman, Lemogang N. Moagi, Kebalefetse Maotwanyane and Samuel L. Gape.
Kgolo – is a Setswana written fictional story inspired by true events. It revolves around Oganne, a rebellious young man who is endowed with mystic powers but who relentlessly refuses to surrender to the call to lead his clan to glory and prosperity. Kgolo (a Setswana word meaning Growth) is an honest but light-hearted drama represented in the mould of satire. It stares deep into the darkest taboos, theories, faith and conviction of the Batswana people and seeks to reduce the rigidity with which these views have been espoused.
The tradition an culture of one clan are laid bare and dissected in a bitingly humorous way and even the most delicate issues are treated with so much light-heartedness and respect that no one will feel offended. The play is set in 1940 in an imaginary rural village and is presented in Setswana with a bit of English. It captures vividly the rich and dramatic nuances and pathos of Batswana and their allegorical prowess. Setswana music and traditional dance are central to the unfolding of the story and the execution of such will only assist to enhance the quality of the story.