Film About People Of The Okavango Hits The Screens


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Locally made film Nkashi: Race for the Okavango has premiered in Maun and Gaborone, amid glitz and glamour that is usually associated with premieres of world standard films. The film has also premiere on national broadcaster’s Btv 1.

The world premiere of the film was held at a packed venue in Maun on Tuesday evening, followed by another one in Gaborone last night where President Mokgweetsi Masisi officiated.

Nkashi: Race for the Okavango is a locally made film that tells the story of the people of the Okavango Delta in Setswana through Batswana three mokoro polers, while behind the cameras Batswana played a pivotal role in making the film led by a Motswana producer and National Geographic Society Explorer Thalefang Charles.

There is no doubt, that this approach to the production has attracted all the attention that saw the screening arenas filled to capacity to view the first ever film that is about the people of the Okavango, told in Setswana by Batswana. A story that brings to the fore the elements of environmental conservation, their cultural heritage and livelihoods amid dwindling resources due to effects of climate change.

The excitement that filled the air at the Maun premiere, was true celebration of the story from the Ngamiland, that tells their story and livelihoods, while also appreciating their culture. The story features the people of the Okavango Delta, a shift from the usual blue chip documentaries that have always exalted wildlife over people. 

Elated at this production, various speakers indicated the importance of telling such stories that lie untold through the length and breadth of Botswana. Minister Philda Kereng, minister of environment told the collaborating organisations – National Geographic Society and De Beers that Nkashi film was just a tip of the ice berg to the untold stories of Botswana.

She highlighted that there are people living in other natural wonders of the country, whose stories are yet to be told in the documentaries, adding that the organisations should consider looking at those areas. She called on local story tellers and film makers to make the best out of opportunities presented by NatGeo to make films that would tell the Batswana story.

Kereng commended the production crew of Nkashi: Race for the Okavango to have used a vital tool in the lives of the Okavango people, that is the Nkashi, to share with world their livelihoods and culture.

Equally intrigued, Batawana acting Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi shared there could not have been a better place to host the first screening of the film than in Maun in the North West as this allows residents to appreciate and relate. She said with the film, that tells the story of the people of the Okavango Delta, the world will get to appreciate to existence of people, and not just wildlife.

Motswana producer of the film, Thalefang Charles a national geographic explorer has also expressed his excitement that while many world class blue chip documentaries have come out of the Okavango Delta, none has taken the people of the area on board.

“For the first time we will be hearing voices of the people of the Delta, we will be understanding that the Delta is not just about the amazing wildlife and hopefully it will also give a chance to film makers to start making films about people in the Delta.

Nkashi: Race for the Okavango and the annual Nkashi Classic race are made possible by Okavango Eternal, a five-year partnership between National Geographic and De Beers to help protect the source waters of the Okavango Delta and the lives and livelihoods they support. The film was created by the Impact Story Lab, an award-winning, creative unit within NGS, in close collaboration with Batswana filmmakers and local production company, Parable Motion. Several Batswana led key roles in the film’s creation, including cinematographer, producer, sound recordist, and drone pilot. The film score also features tracks by Motswana musician Thato Kavinja and the Nature Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF) Composers Lab.


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