Ghetto in motion

Kabelo Dipholo
SHOOTING IN PROGRESS: A scene from the WENELA cemetery

Francistown’s untold stories to beam on the small screen

Francistown’s fascinating history, and the rich past of the Ikalanga people, will soon be immortalised in a film documentary.

Dubbed Untold Stories: History and Diversity of Francistown, the documentary is being funded by the US Embassy through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Pioneered by Supa Ngwao’s curator, Jeffrey Matheakgomo, the documentary is expected to position the second capital into one of the country and Southern Africa’s heritage hub.

Francistown is home to some of the most fascinating ruins, and among the earliest cities to experience racial segregation.

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Speaking during the official launch of the documentary, Supangwao Chairperson – David Sichombo, who has lived in the city for 28 years, said the documentary will shine a spotlight on the natives’ different life experiences.

He said it is easy to forget some of the people who have made significant contributions to the growth of the city, and that the documentary is a platform to share such inspiring stories to be enjoyed by generations yet to come.

Similarly, the US Embassy Cultural Affairs Specialist, Naomi Tshosa, said they are proud of the part they’ve played in ensuring the history of the city and that of Bakalanga people are preserved.

The fund has also renovated the Supangwao Museum and built a new gallery and office space to the tune of US$40,000.

“We are happy, once again, to be launching this documentary which will showcase the diversity of this city,” Tshosa said.

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In his remarks, Matheakgomo said the inspiration was sparked by what he saw in the city when he first arrived in Francistown.

“I was intrigued by the many colonial buildings, the history of the gold rush here in 1836 to 1870, and indeed the rich history of iKalanga people,” he said.

Matheakgomo said after making his own research, he approached the embassy for funding, which was approved.

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“I hope this documentary will promote heritage tourism, away from wilderness safari, and turn Francistown into a heritage hub of choice,” Matheakgomo said.

The curator further said it was possible to emulate cities such as Mecca, Medina and Moria that receive millions of religious pilgrims every year.

“We have a similar place here called Patayamatebele where members of the Roman Catholic make pilgrimage every October. We can take advantage of that and turn this city into our own Mecca and Medina,” he said.

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