Thiba, Mhele and khweba to the fore!

  • BTSGC is a mission to take traditional games to the masses

Baitshepi Sekgweng

In their quest to promote, create awareness and revive traditional games, the Botswana Traditional Sports and Games Confederation (BTSGC) will embark on a countrywide tour to take the federation and its mandate to the masses, Global Sport has established.

Formed in September 2017, BTSGC has since affiliated with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).

The organisation has tasked itself with games like diketo, mhele, khweba and koi, to mention but a few.

According to BTSGC president, Kenneth Tebogo Middleton, plans are already in place to create awareness and take the association to the people. “We are a new federation and our obligation is a difficult one because we want to revive traditional games and make them competitive sports like your football and athletics,” Middleton said.

“All this will start with a countrywide tour that we are planning, even though we are not sure of the dates. The objective of the tour will be to conduct traditional games research and launch traditional game clubs in select schools. The tour will include all the capitals of all of Botswana’s 10 districts.”

Even though the organisation has not yet launched traditional game clubs in schools, Middleton says they perceive schools as important partners where more talent can be unearthed. “Our focus is to identify talent in schools,” he told Global Sport.

“Some of our regional traditional games have held tournaments at which we have crowned some champions in particular traditional games. So what we will do is make sure that we monitor these kids who have already tasted competition.”

Despite the association being new, it has already enjoyed the benefits of making a maiden appearance on the international arena. “I was part of the World Ethnosport Confederation‘s first forum that was held last month,” said Middleton.  “At the forum, we talked about internationalising traditional games, conducting research in our respective countries and the prospect of having a world traditional games festival.

“The festival is to be like your Olympic Games and Botswana will be able to submit its traditional games to be played by other participating countries.  We are now members of an international family of traditional games associations. Benefits will come as time goes on.”

Quizzed about the challenges that the new association has faced so far, Middleton had to say this: “Right now it is hard to talk about challenges. We have just started to strategise on how best to make national tournaments.

“We have a couple of plans but I cannot share them as they are still being developed and have not yet been approved. The idea is to also convert our traditional games into recognised sports through tournament rules development, applying sporting standards and developing and using specialised equipment to play.”

BTSGC was formed by the coming together   of four traditional games associations, namely Setso Games Association, Botswana Traditional Games Association, Botswana Mmele Association and the African Traditional Games Competitions.