The African Tourism Board has agreed to partner with Botswana on staging the 2023 edition of Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival in a deal that hopes to bring most member states within the continent and also beyond to participate in such a lifetime changing experience under the African sky that will be amplified by the glittering stars from the horizon, surrounded by hills of sand dunes thereby connecting humanity to nature.
This was part of the agreements reached between ATB and Botswana -a country that has been advocating for domestic, regional and continental tourism inclusion, having achieved a great success at the just concluded Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival that brought 8000 plus participants who converged on Kalahari desert from all corners of the country and beyond.
In his opening remarks during the event, H.E President M E.K Masisi of Botswana was visibly overjoyed, but acknowledged the effects of the pandemic that affected the whole world in which Botswana was not spared as the nation had its own share of the challenges especially when the new strain of the pandemic was wrongly tagged, which the country promptly voiced against vehemently.
He however affirmed to the cheering crowd that “Covid-19 did not steal the thunder from the community of Khawa” which generated an expected excitement from the passionate citizens that gathered at the newly and purposefully built stadium for the event.
He further expantiated on the infrastructural developments in destination Khawa which the festival has helped to facilitate for the village.
“The road traversing the village has been paved, when the evening falls darkness takes a hurried retreat back to its chambers as illumination of new street lighting takes over. Along the road, and in public spaces, dates trees planted within the village mount a guard of honor.
These developments sufficiently attest to the potential that the Khawa Dune Challenge Festival and Culture has in terms of accruing benefits to the community in and around Khawa”, President Masisi said joyously.
For certain, this is the beautification per-excellence the rural tourism destinations across Africa urgently need and also a dividend to the heritage sites especially for the custodians, who are the communities’ dwellers in which Botswana is also in the lead.
The government has walked the talk, developing a sustainable community based tourism. His Excellency has been a great champion, instilling that mindset of self reliance into the people of this great nation that has maintained a stable economy and a peaceful environment for investment and leisure travellers.
The uniqueness and great strides have been activated by Hon. Philda Nani Kereng, the Minister of Environment and Tourism who enabled the community value chain to fully participate as service providers shifting from the usual custom where services were provided by a few conglomerates in such big events.
Hon. Kereng has been so passionate about community based tourism in her speeches and actions, thereby ensured that the prestigious KDCCF sourced everything from tents, food courts, stage mounting, sound systems, catering, etc within and from the community’s small- medium enterprises which also facilitated many other activities at the event.
The Executive Chairman of African Tourism Board, Hon. Cuthbert Ncube also appreciated and applauded the strides that the leadership of Botswana has achieved in his deliberations with His Excellency during the Khawa Dune celebrations by affirming ATB’s roles in collaborating with Botswana in so many areas which include investment and tourism drives, specifically in the aspect of brand marketing Botswana and the entire continent as a preffered destination of choice in this wider offerings.
Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival is one of the main annual events that takes place in the Kgalagadi District in the South West Botswana lying along the country’s boarders with Namibia and South Africa which aims at showcasing the region and empowering the communities within that axis.
The resilient spirit of Batswana was indeed magnificent as they took their spaces by participating with their leaders in unique appreciation, acknowledging the undying African heritage, the rich culture embedded in the spirit of Ubuntu that pervaded the atmosphere in the heart of Kalahari desert of Botswana.