by Marita van Rooyen
In the heart of the Hardap Region in the southern part of Namibia, you will find the small town of Aranos. Aranos is known for the red dunes of the Kalahari, an abundance of trees and shrubs, and the Maiteko Cultural Group.
Established in 1995 by Perpertua Tshireletso Mokhatu, the Maiteko Cultural Group started off by performing Setswana cultural dances and songs for entertainment in the local community. It was founded to develop a culture of unity amongst the youth and to help the Aranos youngsters be aware of their cultural background and roots.
With their music and dances Maiteko (which means ‘try again’), is aimed at inspiring and encouraging young people to be creative and to use their talents to make something special of their lives. Further objectives are to keep the youth busy and off the streets, at the same time making them aware of the HIV/Aids epidemic and the importance of future planning.
After gaining recognition in the region, the group was invited in 1996 by the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture to participate in the Regional Cultural Festival of the Karas Region. The same year, the group was also invited to perform at the National Festival in Rundu. This was only the start of a long list of cultural achievements.
The Maiteko Cultural Group has since participated in other national and regional festivals and government functions, and in 2000 the group went to Paris in France to perform and represent Namibia at the Folk’s Festival. The group won first prize in 2005 in the best traditional dancing category in the National Arts Council’s Ai#Gams Festival.
The Maiteko Cultural Group continually promotes cultural activities to create income generation and secure job creation within the community, and organises young Namibians and interested and willing foreigners to promote and maintain the diverse cultural heritage of our people.
This article appeared in the April/May ‘09 edition of Travel News Namibia.