The ever tranquil and serene foyer of Airport Junction mall was transformed into a little ‘China Town’, as Chinese nationals in Botswana from different walks of lives converged to celebrate the second Chinese lunar New Year dubbed ‘the year of the goat’ last weekend.
The soothing sounds of Chinese music serenaded the crowd as proceedings of the day went by. Chinese artists, with a little help from their local counterparts, kept the crowd on its toes with their well-crafted and exquisite Chinese dances, with performers taking to the stage for group dances, solo dances and instrumental performances meant to capture and showcase Chinese culture. Colorful costumes and a shimmering Chinese dragon dance, traditional lion dance and martial arts completed the evening's performances.
It is perhaps the warm welcome that the locals were received with by the Chinese community that is worth noting. Not only were all invited to celebrate with the Chinese community as no fee was required to access the celebration point but Botswana artists also perfomed and local music played. While kids were treated to the youth sounds from the likes of LaTimmy of the Nanzala vuke fame, adults would later enjoy a more relaxed performance from Jazz sensation Nnunu Ramogotsi.
Entry points into the parking bays where the celebrations were staged were sealed, allowing for various stalls to be lined along mall interior - in turn providing a picturesque mini market centre; a Chinese one. Traders, who ply their trades in Botswana, all converged under one place to promote and sell Chinese goods and services to attendees. ‘The made in China’ tagline was not only expected but was for once appreciated and embraced by all who attended the celebrations in support of the Chinese community.
No one can ever dispute the fact that Chinese cuisine is one important constituent part of Chinese culture. Chinese dishes are famous for color, aroma, taste, meaning and appearance, hence for Chinese food lovers, the day did not only provide them with an opportunity to buy and taste various Chinese dishes from different chefs under one roof but the food came at a cheaper price too
The popular "Chow mein"; stir-fried noodles which generally consists of noodles, meat (usually chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork), onions and celery which is popular among locals was on offer from most food stalls in small take-away containers for all to eat and even pack home. Spring rolls, dumplings, kebabs and rice were also on offer.
The year of the goat which apparently has a symbolic meaning of Peace, Harmonious co-existence and Tranquility perhaps lived true to its meaning to the Chinese community in Botswana judging by what transpired at this year’s celebrations.