Earthenware pottery and Dikopelo folk music in Botswana

Phuthadikobo Museum

Our organisation works closely with practitioners of living heritage. The practitioners deal with Earthenware Pottery Making Skills which was inscribed on the USL in 2012, while others are involved in Dikopelo Folk Music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela which was inscribed to the USL in 2017.

Both sets of practitioners are unable to practice their living heritage because of the State of Public Emergency which was declared by the President. The State of Public Emergency declared simultaneously with extreme social distancing, also known as lockdown. The lockdown has restricted movement of people and public gatherings as well as placing living heritage in non essential services.

For practitioners of Earthenware Pottery, those who have soil resources are able to practice at home. However, they are not able to distribute their products because of restrictions on movement. The effects of this are not yet known. Practitioners are fearful that customers may not be able to pay for the products they requested once the lockdown is lifted. Such practitioners may find themselves with pots idling around. None of the practitioners are operating as a company and therefore they are not eligible for government bailout. They may however, be eligible for social grants as families that government will help.

For Dikopelo practitioners, no activities will take place during the SOPE because their practice requires more than two people. Gatherings of more than two people are prohibited and therefore the practice will remain dormant until the lifting of the SOPE. However, practitioners could be creative and use social media and other digital platforms to continue their practice. They could compose songs on the COVID-19 pandemic to educate the public on its preventative measures.

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