Mahikeng, known for its interesting history, rich culture, wildlife, cultural spots such as Kortkloof Cultural Village, and the iconic Mafikeng Game Reserve, holds a special travelling experience for city slickers such as myself.
The name Mafikeng (Mahikeng) means “the place among the rocks”.
The name was given to the area by early Barolong chiefs who had settled along the Molopo River near the present day village of Rooigrond after a period of inter-tribal war.
My excitement was palpable. When I finally found myself alongside other enthusiastic journalists from Johannesburg, I knew this was going to be memorable as I sat on the bus.
We finally arrived in Mmabatho three hours later. The trip was part of the recently held Mahika Mahikeng Cultural Music Festival and organised by the province’s department of tourism.
It all began on a rather rainy Thursday morning when guests were treated to a three-hour bus drive from Randburg to Mahikeng going through small towns and absorbing their unique tranquillity and way of life absorbed through peeping from the windows.
I found myself in awe of travelling through small towns such as Potchefstroom, Lichtenburg, with glee, sense of wonder and belonging at the same time.
The pace of life seems to slow down during such travels and three hours later, I felt the need to have prolonged the travelling for yet another three hours of sightseeing, but it was not to be as we had reached our first destination, Protea Hotel by Marriott Mahikeng. Here we checked in and a late lunch awaited us.
We then headed off to the Mmabatho Convention Centre for a bit of spiritual revival at the hands of award-winning gospel ensemble Joyous Celebration.
The four-day adventure of Mahikeng Mahikeng 2017 began when we arrived at the Mmabatho Convention Centre where we were welcomed by the Batswana Traditional Dancers.
At 8 pm, Joyous Celebration kicked off the Mahika Mahikeng 2017 Festival.
Joyous Celebration took their fans on a musical journey from their recent album which is both spiritual and prayerful. Later that night, and in the spirit of the festive season, all cars headed to a pre-party at Mmabatho BRS where the likes of DJ Tira, Distruction Boyz did their thing on stage.
On Friday morning, we headed to Mmabatho Convention Centre for a media briefing with acting mayor Mpho Khunou, singer TS and Morefe’s Towdee.
And after the briefing everyone we were told to get on the tour bus.
At first, everyone was a bit confused as to where the bus was going to as we were not briefed as to where it was going. But as people saw alcohol being loaded onto the bus, no one wanted to ask any questions but enjoy the ride to Qgom music and a glass.
The bus stopped at Barolong where journalists got an opportunity to meet and greet the recently crowned Barolong Chief Kgosi Jeff Montshioa who shared the story behind Mahikeng and the chiefs.
Later that day, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for Maftown Heights, which had been hosted in Johannesburg since inception seven years ago. Awesome.
-Simangele Legodi / email@example.com