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Mahika Mahikeng, GIMC – same WhatsApp group!

Publishing Date : 19 December, 2017

Author : DAVE BAAITSE


A lot of Batswana thronged the Mahika Mahikeng festival last weeked and it was home away from home. Botswana’s biggest festival, the Gaborone International Festival seems to have established a relationship with the Mahika organisers, but what were the take homes for us as a country? WEEKENDLIFE EDITOR, DAVE BAAITSE ponders.


 WeekendLife Editor DAVE BAAITSE was among the multitudes of Batswana who thronged Mafikeng over the weekend to witness the third edition of the annual Mahika Mahikeng at Mmabatho Stadium. Mmabatho stadium was nothing short of crazy last weekend - for me particularly, watching crowds in South Africa going crazy over our talent was a special moment!


All three who represented us at the festival, Amantle Brown, ATI and Leungo Pitse were outstanding by all accounts. Leungo, possibly outshined Somizi Mhlongo and has likely tapped into many hearts - in my view, I repeat he definitely outshone the diva in Somizi that night. Being among that crowd had me for a few minutes forgetting I was not home - particularly since that crowd sang along to every of our guys’ songs!


Seeing that things were going smoothly throughout the event-I could not help but compare our own GIMC to Mahika Mahikeng, seeing as both were crowd pullers, offered great entertainment and were trying to achieve the same thing- to promote cultural and heritage tourism.
Unlike GIMC the Mahika Mahikeng festival has been incorporated to the province’s objectives of rebranding of the province and is aligned to the rebranding, reposition and Renewal of Mahikeng to effectively will boost the economy growth within the province for those in the music and arts industry.


Having replaced the Maftown 60s which usually attracted multitudes of people from across South Africa and Botswana, Mahika Mahikeng has proven to be Bokone Bophirima’s game changer on its third year running. The four day festivities were all sold. The highlight of the show, the Jazz Festival left revelers with a lot to write home about. The likes of songstress Zahara with her new offering, Zonke and Mafikizolo did not disappoint. The show that started as early as ten in the morning finished in the wee hours of Monday but the crowd still stood through to the last performer.


Bokone Bophirima provincial government in collaboration with the arts department should be applauded for the good initiative and taking the entertainment industry seriously. This is something that lacks in Botswana; an initiative such as GIMC lacks government involvement and support. There were many lessons to take home after the event, from the organisation of the event to even the security detail. It would help our arts and entertainment industry if our government was to become an active participant - all for the good of promoting the country or city’s cultural heritage tourism. A lot of economies such as those of Lesotho and Swaziland have made strides and are thriving through this type of tourism.


After the experiences of Mahika Mahikeng - Here is to hoping for an even better GIMC in 2018, Fish Pabalinga was there, I know he got an idea or two. GIMC has been rated among the Top 10 events to attend in Africa. A lot of South African artists across all music genres and ages have performed at the festival’s various shows since its inception and have contributed to making in the success it is. It was great seeing our own lighting up a South African stage and owning it the way ATI and Amantle Brown did. Definitely the stuff dreams are made of!

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