Sunday, August 21, 2011


Once in a while the city of Gaborone shakes the dust off her pretty feet, startling her dancing rattles (matlhoa) into a staccatto whisper, she crawls up from under her own weight and yells "le rona re teng ka kwano".

On Saturday afternoon I attended a Writing Association of Botswana short story workshop by Wame Molefhe you can read about it here. We had lots of fun working our way enthusiastically through the practical execises before some of us shyly read the results out loud, and then this evening another treat. Maru A Pula art teacher and renowned artist Steve Jobson, and live performance artist Moratiwa Molema who is also a member of the Artfunctionz crew alongside Monsieur Polk and The Unseen DJ hosted an open multimedia performance at the Thapong Visual Arts Center.

Titled Bargain Boom Bust it is based very loosely on English artist William Hogarth's A Rake's progress - a series of eight paintings depicting 'the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell the spendthrift son and heir of a rich merchant, who comes to London, wastes all his money on luxurious living, prostitution and gambling, and as a consequence is imprisoned in the Fleet Prison and ultimately Bedlam'(wikipedia). All, most, some of this is translated into an organic fusion of dance, poetry, installation art, music, sound, projection and light in a very engaging and individualistic manner. Its not a wholly cohesive project but I think that was either deliberate or was a natural outcome of the working process. Artists all wrote or choreographed their own material which was then linked into a sequence of sorts. Other than the great craftsmanship exhibited by whoever penciled/charcoaled the figures projected onto white sheets (I suspect its Jobson) my favouite scene has to be the silhouette striptease-dance because it was ever so cleverly done, with none of the too-muchness that an outright undressing in the open might have held for some folks.

Jobson says this production has ambitions to grow within and beyond Botswana's borders by involving additional local and international artists. The closing video clip was sent in from outside the country by Friedeman Luka and though not integrated fully into the production speaks to that process having already begun.

The cast boasts of both well established creatives and promising young talent; Moratiwa Molema, Karabo Maselela, Sibongile Phiri, JB, B Note, Bundu Lama and off 'screen' Kgotla Ntsima, Steve Jobson, Inga Ritter, Andrija Klaric, Vivek Kamokar as well as Nikola Gaytanjie.

Although the event was held at Thapong, Maitisong provided technical assistance in support of the production. Let us hope this is only the beginning. I will put up some photographs of tonight's contemporary interpretation of 18th century sequential art when I can get them, I think they'll show a better story than I could ever tell. Goodnight world

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