The much anticipated third edition of Nkashi Classic will take place tomorrow (Saturday) at Sedie Riverside Hotel in Maun.
The event, which brings together all the winners from a series of heats that were held across the area will crown this year’s champions where the Okavango Delta’s fastest poler will walk away with a prize money of P40 000.
The annual mokoro race that is named after the pole that is used to peddle the canoe is hosted by the Botswana Wild Bird Trust (BWBT) in collaboration with the Okavango Eternal Partnership to create awareness about the importance of the Okavango River System and celebrate the traditional heritage of the indigenous people living along the Okavango Delta.
The Mokoro has been used for hundreds of years by the people living in the Okavango Delta as a mode of transport, and also for various activities in the water. The event creates an opportunity to unite communities from Ngamiland and take part in a competition which celebrates this age-old custom. The event is described as a truly unique and proudly Botswana event that brings together both locals and foreigners for a fun filled day.
The inaugural race took place in Maun 2018, while the second edition was held in Seronga last year following a three-year hiatus owing to the covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s event has grown both in value and number of categories, which would also see an increase in the number of participants vying for their share of the total prize money of P100 000. A turn-up of different expert polers from the villages of Maun, Boro, Beetsha, Gunotsoga, Gudigwa, Jao Flats, Etsha, Eretsha, Seronga, and Daunara is expected.
Some of the participants in the female race category will be the Ker and Downey employees Bontle Cindy Mothogaathobogwe and Bontle Beauty Tsele who are among the first female specialist mokoro guide polers in the Okavango Delta.
Race categories include the Male (age 18 – 54), Female (age 18-54), Veteran (age 55 and over, any gender) and the newly announced one for this year’s event dubbed ‘Doubles.’ This category, widely known as ‘Four-By-Four’ throughout the Okavango Delta, requires two polers to propel their mokoro with participants being for both genders.
The total take away prize money is broken down as follows for the different categories – Male (18 – 54 years of age) – 1st Prize: P10 000, 2nd Prize: P5 000 and 3rd Prize: P2 000.
The Female’s (18 – 54 years of age) 1st Prize: P10 000, 2nd Prize: P5 000 and 3rd Prize: P2 000. For the Veterans category for both Males and Females (55 and over, males) 1st Prize: P6 000, 2nd Prize: P2 500 and 3rd Prize: P1 000 Doubles (2 polers, any gender aged 18 and older) 1st Prize: P10 000 (shared between the two polers), 2nd Prize: P5 000 (shared between the two polers) and 3rd Prize: P2 000 (shared between the two polers).
The race is anticipated to be an exciting day of racing, entertainment, food for sale, and various artist performances. A kids’ tent will also be available with different activities that include arts and crafts, kid games, face paintings, photo-shoots by the photo cut-out boards and many more.
Attendees will also be spoiled to performances by different artists including legendary guitarist and folklore singer Stiga Sola, Ko Seronga hit-maker Koolkat Motyikyo, Mosakaso queen Charma girl and Dibatana tsa Bogosi Traditional Group. Entrace is free.