Thibe Nyepetse teaches practitioners of Dikopelo tsa Sekgatla how to enact the male voice, 'Tinoro'

Kgatleng District ICH Committee is the implementing structure of the 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It is chaired by Kgosi Segale Linchwe representing Kgosikgolo Kgafela II, the Deputy Chairperson is the Office of the District Commissioner while Phuthadikobo Museum acts as the Secretariat.

The Director of Phuthadikobo Museum Lesego Pearl Maano who doubles as Secretary of the Kgatleng DICH Committee explained to Botswana Guardian that the Committee comprises different stakeholders such as government departments, community organisations, and practitioners of ICH.

It has a total of 24 members. The Committee is supervised by the National ICH Committee. Asked about some of their projects that were successfully completed, Maano mentioned that in the 2020/2021 period, the Kgatleng District ICH Committee, through Phuthadikobo Museum, requested funding from the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development to implement Safeguarding Plans for the inscribed elements.

The Committee formed a Task Team to implement the activities on a daily basis while Phuthadikobo Museum dealt with the financial management.

Maano said that projects done under the element of Kitso ya go bopa Dinkgo tsa Sekgatla (Earthenware Pottery Making Skills in Botswana’s Kgatleng District) include the Prioritization Workshop for Earthenware potters that were held to discuss the safeguarding activities for 2020/2021 Financial Year. The takehome from this workshop was that practitioners agreed to form a membership-based association to which all potters will subscribe.

The second project under the same element was the Schools Pottery Boot Camps in which students in Modipane Primary School and Molefi Senior Secondary School were trained on the element by two (2) Master Potters and one (1) 2017 Trainee. Twelve (12) students from Modipane Primary School and eighteen students from Molefi Senior School were trained.

The third project was the Promotional Materials in which exhibition panels were bought to document the project and showcase its implementation through an exhibition at Phuthadikobo Museum.

As for the element Mmino wa Dikopelo tsa Bakgatla ba Kgafela (Dikopelo Folk Music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela), Maano mentioned that another three projects were undertaken.

These were the ICH Training Workshops at which Dikopelo practitioners were trained on the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Sixty (60) choirs were represented in the two workshops.

The other was the Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Management Workshops through which Dikopelo leadership were trained to become effective leaders and managers. The training reached sixty choirs.

The last project was the Constitutional Review, in which Maano says Baikopanyi Choirs Association was assisted to review their Constitution.

Maano said that the ICH Task Team also requested funding to implement Safeguarding Plans during the current Financial Year and that the request was successful. She said the activities were implemented between October, 2021and March 2022.

As for projects for the element Mmino Wa Dokopelo tsa Bakgatla ba Kgafela (Dikopelo Folk Music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela), Maano said that the Periodic Report for Mmino wa Dikopelo tsa Bakgatla ba Kgafela was produced.

Every four years Botswana has to report the status of the element to ICH Intergovernmental Committee on ICH. Maano said that MYSC funded the research and report writing exercise. The report was submitted on December 15, 2021 and will be presented to ICH Intergovernmental Committee in December 2022.

The other activity was the Copyright Workshop in which Dikopelo composers were trained on copyright and neighboring rights to guard against the infringement of their copyright works.

Maano also mentioned the projects undertaken for the safeguarding of the element Kitso ya go Bopa Dinkgo tsa Sekgatla (Earthenware Pottery Making Skills in Botswana’s Kgatleng District).

She said that UNESCO had sponsored the National ICH Expert of Botswana to report on the status of Kitso ya go Bopa Dinkgo tsa Sekgatla during the Intergovernmental Committee meeting in Paris from December 13 – 20, 2021. And I order to comply with Covid-19 regulations, the meeting was held online.

Another project was the holding of a Pottery Association Workshop at which practitioners of the element discussed the formation of their association.

There were also Pottery Boot Camps held at which pottery skills were transmitted to twenty –four (24) out-of-school youth. Again Maano, said that as a result of Covid-19, the project could not be implemented in schools.

Maano was upbeat, however, that there are projects underway one of which is the Pottery Exhibition. Among the objectives of the Boot Camps was to showcase the products produced by the trainees.

The exhibition was not achieved in 2020/ 2021 because of the Covid -19 pandemic, especially in schools, and is now scheduled to be held sometime in July 2022, Maano said. Potters from Kgatleng and Trainees will be invited to showcase their products.

Another interesting project is what is known as the ‘Technical Training on Tinoro’.

According to Maano, the Master Practitioner had identified one of the threats facing Dikopelo Folk Music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela as the declining number of practitioners who are able to enact one of the music voices; tinoro.

This training workshop of four (4) days will be led by the Master Practitioner, Thibe Nyepetsi who was discovered in 2010. He will be assisted by two female practitioners. This workshop was held on the 28th and 29th of June 2022 and will continue on the 01st July and 02nd July 2022 at Phuthadikobo Museum.

The last project that Maano is upbeat about is the ‘’Documentation of Dikopelo Living Human Treasures’. Maano said that it will be done to update the Dikopelo Inventory by identifying other Living Human Treasures.

Maano says that with the elements enthusiastically practiced, there is a need to identify and document Master Practitioners. The project will be led by community researchers who were trained in the 2010 Pilot Project.