Former Vice President of Botswana who is also the Kuru Dance Festival patron Ponatshego Kedikilwe said during the festival that was held at Qae Qare Farm that it is time Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) is approached in regard to the copyrights of the local culture. Kedikilwe said for the past years it has been evident that people envy Botswana’s culture to the extent that some end up claiming that they do the same practices while originally they are not theirs. He said with that happening they can’t say anything or do anything because there won’t be anyone who holds the rights to such dance or such a song. “We have to do that in order to be able to grow events like the Kuru dance festival,” he said. Kuru festival which had a two year lull was celebrating the 17th event. Kedikilwe said they are happy to have been able to come back in order to be able to revive the activity, the process, the dignity, self-esteem, group bonding and revive the talents for livelihood in the promotion of the San culture. He recognised the San culture as one of the cultures that richly adds to the diversity and the beauty of the national culture because there is no one that can talk about Botswana and not include Basarwa. According to Kedikilwe they have ben challenged by the donor fatigue and Botswana’s status as a middle income country in regard to the donations because the country is considered wealthy. With the notion of seeing challenges as an opportunity, Kedikilwe said he saw it fit to make sure that as the patron of the festival he mobilises financial institutions, fund managers and where possible private and public organisations to facilitate access to resources in aid of events like the festival.
He recognised this as a challenge that comes off as a good opportunity to use trained interns and ICT technicians for community sustainable income generating projects. “The challenge is a good opportunity to ultimately replace donor funding and foreign management both which are to an extent ironically virtual enemies of sustainability. He referred to Kuru festival as something that addresses national vision 2016 issues and beyond which are among them unity and pride, arts and protection of Botswana heritage and culture rallying point for young people who need role models. He said they aim for Kuru festival event to be at par with events like the Khawa Dune Challenge and Toyota 1000 Dessert race in terms of economic boost. He encouraged the Kuru Development Trust members to know that the ball is in their court in terms of effective and transformative leadership. He challenged them that it is time they resolve to restore the glory and original focus of their trust in order to regain everyone’s trust. He cautioned that they put away individual differences that are destroying the trust because then the whole structure of the organisation crumbles to the detriment of the cultural heritage. He said most of the time community projects always fail because of poor management. He implored all other members of Kuru trust to bury their differences in the name of the purpose of the organisation. He applauded Barclays bank for the vital sponsorship which resulted in a very good turn up at the event as the place was filled up.
Barclays Managing Director Reinette van der Merwe hailed the festival as a great project because the trust has committed all the gate takings to development projects in D’Kar village with a strong focus on social enterprise. She said with their involvement, this gives sustainability to the partnership and significantly expands its impact into the lives of the community. “The festival also contributes to the maintenance of the trust’s cultural centre, museum and Qae Qae game farm which further support the preservation of the san culture,” she said. According to van der Merwe Barclays Botswana helped Kuru trust achieve objectives which includes repairs to the dance festival arena and grounds, transporting and taking care of all 15 dancing groups and 20 individual performers and transporting D’Kar community members between their settlement and Qae Qae farm for the period of the festival. She recognised that for them supporting Botswana’s culturally diverse community and helping to preserve these arts for future generations as a worthy reward for their bank. Kuela Kiema of Kuru Development Trust agreed that they have now put their differences aside in order to do what is good for the trust. He said with the turn up at this year’s event they are assured of a great future because some of the potential partners who also came to witness were impressed with how the event went.