Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The 19th edition of the Kuru dance spectacular is slated to take place this August 4th-5th, at the Dqae Qare Lodge in D’kar. 

The festival marks and commemorates the full moon, which is very significant in the San Culture. They hold the strong belief that during this period, they are able to heal the sick through the power they receive from song and dance. The main festival takes place on August 5th. D’kar is located approximately 20km from Ghanzi. Leading up to the 20th instalment of the festival, this year, they have put together the crème de la crème when it comes to performing groups and are promising an event that will thrill festivalgoers. 

The line-up of performing groups comprises 12 San traditional dance groups, five non-San dance groups as well as three international guest groups. Although details of the international groups are yet to be released, organisers have disclosed that they have invited a San and a Zulu group from South Africa as well as another group from Namibia.

 Besides the music and dance, festivalgoers can also look forward to exhibit stalls for cultural products including veld fruits, craftworks and many more.  

Tickets can be purchased for P100 (in advance)/P125 (at the gate) at all webtickets outlets. Residents of D’kar and students have a special price of P50. This year marks the third consecutive year that Baclays Bank Botswana is sponsoring the event having first started in 2015. 

On Monday afternoon, Baclays Bank Botswana Managing Director, Reinette van der Merwe officially handed a sponsorship cheque valued at P300, 000.00 to the Kuru Development Trust. Last year, the event that is targeting 1500 revellers was officially included in the National Event calendar, which is seen as a testament of its increasing popularity and renowned standing. 

According to the Managing Director, the annual celebration has evidently become a renowned one in the Botswana calendar, and that it has continued to draw the attention of local and international crowds. “The festival is significant because it draws on the participation of communities from a variety of ethnic groups in our Botswana culture and attracts business to Dqae and wider Ghanzi area,” she said. 

She also said that her organisation’s sponsorship of the festival aligns perfectly with their strategic ambition to foster growth as a business in communities. “We support the conservasation of our dynamic heritage, as it encourages community trade and can ultimately drive development. “We look forward to engaging our stakeholders in the beautiful and historic Ghanzi district during the coming festival,” she explained. Speaking during the event, the Chairperson of the Trust, Arone Johannes pointed out that the event has grown over the years, and today includes other ethnic groups in the line-up. He also disclosed that while there have been some difficult years during which they didn’t host the festival, they were now looking forward to the big celebration next year when they celebrate 20 years of the event. Johannes said that the support that they get from Baclays Bank Botswana as well as other stakeholders such as Botswana Tourism, and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development were good developments for the festival.  

“All these partnerships are really beneficial to us. And we look forward to hosting a bigger event next year,” he said. He urged those who had either experienced the festival, as well as newcomers to take a trip to D’Kar and experience what the festival is all about. Johannes said there was accommodation, and that they can look forward to treats such as being able to indulge in game meat in all its various forms. 

“In the city, you are only accustomed to eating cows and goats, hence you need to come and taste some game meat,” he said. The Kuru Dance Festival is a concept of the Kuru Development Trust. 

According to the history of the trust, in 1986 a Missionary, the late Braam le Roux alongside board members Gaobolelwe Ngakayaja, Arone Johannes (current Board Chairman) and James Morris founded the Trust. In its early days, the initial focus of the Trust was on livelihoods and economic empowerment projects for the San but could never let go of their dances. 

The Trust later organised Kuru Dance workshops to promote song and dance. This elevated the dancing spirit of the San within the D’Kar community ultimately leading to a major highlight of the Botswana cultural calendar to date, the ‘Kuru Dance Festival’. 

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