Award-winning arts ensemble Khaya Arts were among cultural activists from Southern Africa to participate at this year’s A Re Itsaneng Ma Africa exchange programme in Botswana which took place in the neighbouring country on 4 May.
The annual event was organised by Dinkgwana Chillas Pub and Grill and the exchange programme ran under the theme — Connecting Africa Into One Family.
At the festivities, Khaya Arts performed alongside ensembles including Zinyanelebenguni from Eswathini, Chifire Cultural Ensemble and Arts Academy from Zambia, Hollo Platform from South Africa, among others.
Khaya Arts director Future Dube said they were honoured to have their craft appreciated outside Zimbabwean borders, as their trip to Botswana was a learning curve and gave them an opportunity to appreciate other cultures.
“It was the first time for Khaya Arts to travel outside Zimbabwe and we are happy and grateful for the opportunity presented to us by A Re Itsaneng Ma Africa. We feel honoured that other countries are now realising our works.
“We got a call from the organisers to attend the event and it seems they went through our previous works and they were happy with our displays.
“The trip was a milestone to the group hence the members were so excited because some of them have never been outside Zimbabwe.
“We had super fun in Botswana meeting other countries, appreciating other cultures we have never seen and performing for a new audience.
“We presented three dances — gumboot, muchongoyo and isitshikitsha.
“We tried our best to perform and create more opportunities and allies.
“We also managed to share notes with artistes from South Africa, from Botswana among others,” Dube said.
As they learnt a lot from the exchange programme, Dube said they wish that locals in Zimbabwe start appreciating Zimbabwe’s diverse culture and customs as the country is rich, therefore, these philosophies have to be preserved and protected at all costs.
“We learnt a lot from the Botswana trip but what I realised is that our culture (Zimbabwean) is not marketed enough. Other countries support, cherish and add value to their artistes.
“We also learnt that culture is a tourist attraction and we can bring revenue to the country, the world now is hungry for traditional foods, traditional wear and traditional lifestyle,” said Dube.