Mr Kgosi Dijeje production presented by Letsatsi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the UB French Club was showcased at Maitisong on Thursday, revealing an emphatic authentic African spirit. This is a continuation of Letsatsi programme of developing Batswana youth as performance arts professionals. The cast of 35 UB students and outside artists were trained and mentored by a team that comprised of Austin de Droillard and Joe Matome. The African theatrical musical comedy was first showcased in May at Maitisong and Westwood International School. This time around it had the inclusion of traditional instruments which are segaba and setinkane which were played live by local musicians. “We are thrilled to bring another authentic African story to the stage with a group of extremely talented Batswana actors and musicians,” Droillard said.
According to Droillard, the story is originally from Francophone Africa and it is a take on Bernard Dadie's play ‘Monsieur Thôgô-Gnini’. The play has a commonality which resonates throughout Africa as it deals with colonial themes and situations. “For Mr Kgosi Dijeje we chose to focus on the dynamics and humour that one often finds when different cultures meet and sometimes clash,” he said. The intriguing play starts off with the lead actor Mr Kgosi Dijeje being approached by two white women during colonialism who were seeking to exchange goods. The story – set in Botswana – portrays the colonial times where Dikgosi gave away their natural resources to whites in exchange of lighter things like money, beer, clothes and even guns. This led the Africans becoming more of slaves in order to dig out these natural resources for their Dikgosi who were giving such to the whites.
Eventually, however, the law took its course and people like Kgosi Dijeje ended up in prison. According to Stefani Koyabe, the production also forms part of the BOT50 celebrations. The play is to be staged in various small towns and villages. The group had 12 months structured rehearsals to be able to come up with the play that blends contemporary African dance techniques with theatre. UB-French Club and Letsatsi Dance Theatre’s productions are inspired by both the present as well as the past to produce vibrant new dance forms.