Africa is losing some of its cultures to westernization. However, Botswana is making stringent efforts to turn the tides through Olympic Day Celebration. The celebration will run until June 28. Consequently, residents of Mahalapye are encouraged to participate actively.
In a recent address, Oreeditse Marakakgoro urged the residents to own the event. Oreeditse Marakakgoro is the senior teacher responsible for sports development. Furthermore, she emphasized the positive messages shared through traditional games. According to her, the Olympic Day Celebration will help the community to showcase the positive values of their culture. Ms. Marakakgoro said,
“The event must leave behind positive memories.”
Push for recognition of indigenous games in Olympics
The push to preserve Botswana’s indigenous games is more than a national affair. However, with the introduction of many games across the globe, Botswana is taking steps to introduce some of its Olympic Day Celebration games to the Olympics federation for consideration. If this happens, it means that Botswana’s traditional games will be played globally.
The vice president of the Botswana Traditional Sports and Games Confederation (BTSGC), Iveans Kefiilwe noted that it is not easy to establish a game to be played in the Olympics or other big tournaments. Registering such games usually take a long process. However, the first step will be to make sure that more countries play the game. For a year now, Botswana has been trying to introduce Morabaraba and Mohele. So far, there has been a positive response from Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa. Kefiilwe said,
“It has been a year of hard work in trying to get these two games on the global map and we have managed to get SADC countries on board. In a year’s time, the two games will be registered for sure which means 2020 they will be available for play.”
Indigenous games of the verge of disappearing
One thing is for sure, indigenous games in Botswana are facing the risk of extinction. However, this might not be peculiar to Botswana alone. According to the President of BTSGC, Kenneth Middleton, the Olympic Day Celebration is a conscious move to prevent their extinction. Middleton believes Botswana is spending more time developing sports from other cultures than it does for its indigenous games. Middleton said,
“The west has sold their sports culture across the four corners of the world and they are slowly replacing indigenous games and culture. This is why BTSGC was established. Our traditional games are under threat and they need proper preservation and also to be developed to sporting levels.”
The Olympic Day Celebration is engaging schools to promote these traditional games. In just over a year of existence, BTSGC is already working with junior and senior secondary schools to actualize its goals. BTSGC is calling for help from volunteers from schools to keep the dream alive. It is unlikely that Botswana’s traditional games will make it to the Olympics. However, it stands a good chance at the newly established World Traditional Games Tournament. The maiden edition of the tournament will be in Kazakhstan in 2021.
Schedule for this year’s Olympic Day Celebration
The preparation for this year’s Olympic Day Celebration is at an advanced stage. Ms. Marakakgoro expressed her gratitude for the support by the traditional leaders like Dikgosi. David Headman, the sports coordinator mentioned the importance of collaboration of parents and teachers to the success of the event.
The host of the maiden edition of the Olympic Day Celebration will be Hatsalatladi Primary School. The event began on June 21. Consequently, the celebration moved to Rail Park mall in Gaborone on 23rd June. The Mahalapye event will be on 28th June.