Arts and dance

National culture follows the rythym of dance


In a fast-changing world, Batswana are rightly proud of a rich and varied culture that reflects the sheer diversity of this vast and under-populated country.

Given the soar-away growth of Botswana’s economy over the past 43 years, and its impact on traditional ways of living, it is remarkable how much time and effort has been focused on maintaining traditional culture in general and dance in particular.

Animal Skins

Dressed only in animal skins, the dance troupes are usually an equal mix of men and women. Dancers wear shells round their ankles and some male dancers also carry whistles. The only accompaniment is the beat of drums.

Traditional troupes ensure that dance styles are kept alive, and the San dance style ‘tsutsube’ and Setswana ‘setapa’ remain popular. The internationally known Mogwana, a professional dance troupe based in Gaborone, sets a high standard in terms of performance and adherence to traditional dancing styles.

Every August, dance aficionados head to the Kalahari to enjoy the Kuru San Dance Festival. At the festival, various San groups, including the Naro, the !Xun, the !Khwe, the Dxana/ Dcui and the Xhanikwe, seize the opportunity to show off their culture to an international audience.

Art Promotion

Government ministries already do much to promote Batswana art by buying paintings and other works from local artists. A permanent gallery has been established at the National Museum in Gaborone to encourage local artists and showcase their work.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture is looking to replace President Day with Heritage Day, which will promote the performing arts and culture of Botswana and will support traditional dancers.