Mochudi — Botswana has made yet another significant milestone by inscribing Dikopelo folk music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in the UNESCO urgent safeguarding list.
Speaking during the official handing over of the inscription on February 28 in Mochudi, Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Kefentse Mzwinila said it came after the country requested for inscription from UNESCO under the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
He said it was a significant milestone for Botswana and Kgatleng communities, as it was the second achievement that the country attained from Kgatleng District after UNESCO inscribed "Kitso ya go bopa Dinkgwana tsa Bakgatla Ba Kgafela" under ICH in 2012.
Mzwinila said the decision on inscription was taken last December in Jeju, South Korea, by a UNESCO inter-governmental committee on ICH. He further noted that the significance of the inscription into the urgent safeguarding list was that it would increase the visibility of the element both at local and international level.
He said the continuous growth of dikopelo provided prospects for Kgatleng District as a tourist attraction destination.
The assistant minister said government was committed to helping communities in diversifying the economy of the country.
He noted that dikopelo could be used to earn a living and change the lives of people who sing them.
He also noted that part of the mandate of his ministry was to promote, preserve and develop a national culture.
The assistant minister applauded Bakgatla for preserving and respecting their culture, adding that the inscription should be safeguarded through transmission.
He said his ministry has a number of programmes that promote the transmission of ICH from one generation to the other, and that among them were the National Culture Day, Languages Day and President's Day Competitions.
Mzwinila also thanked Bakgatla for putting the country on the global map, saying being inscribed on the heritage list meant a lot for the country.
Giving the project overview, the chairperson of Kgatleng District ICH, Kgosi Segale Linchwe said consultations for ICH dated back to 2008, and that the district was represented by the district commissioner's office, Phuthadikobo Museum and the chieftaincy office. He noted that research was carried out in 23 villages in Kgatleng, and that they decided on three ICH of skills on pottery making, use of bojale drums and dikopelo.
Kgosi Segale noted that during the research they worked with the Kgatleng Performing Arts Commune and Baikopanyi Choirs Association, dikopelo veteran singer, Thibe Nyepetsi together with Rangers Marena, Sedibelo Choir, Thola o Mamele and Matlapa a Leloto.He commended all those who took part in the project until UNESCO decided to inscribe dikopelo in the USL.
Giving a vote of thanks, Mabodisa ward councillor, Fisher Palai said dikopelo in Kgatleng were in need of plots in which they could undertake their music.
Source : BOPA