Searching for a place: identity and displacement at the Maitisong Festival
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
RightsCopyright (c) 2016 Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies
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This paper examines two contemporary theatre productions that were staged during the 2014 Maitisong Festival in Gaborone, the performed ethnographic narrative Morwa: the Rising Son written and performed by Tefo Omphile Paya and Keneilwe: a Dance for the Given choreographed by Tumisang Baatshwana. As examples of contemporary performances produced by Botswana youth, these productions give an insight into some topical issues that the nation is grappling with, specifically issues to do with constructions of identity and how identity is tied to place as well as normalized practices that inform Botswana gender politics. Morwa brings to the stage issues of masculinity and the search for the Self in contemporary Botswana society. Keneilwe, inspired by the removals of San communities from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, deals with issues of displacement. This production brings to light how the long-lasting process of ethnic stratification colludes with the silencing by Government through policies of displacement and relocation of the San. It dramatizes moments of displacement and shows how the displaced strive to create new identities and ways of re-connecting with each other as re-aggregated communities.
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