As people across the land prepared for the Independence Holidays this week, Francistown’s Indian community were in a similar celebratory mood, gathering at Adansonia Hotel on Saturday to commemorate Gujarat Day.
Colour, culture and fabulous food were the order of the night as the hotel’s Goliath-like Convention Centre – the biggest in the land, with a seating capacity for 10,000! – was lit up with song, dance, laughter and fashion.
Gujarat Day is normally celebrated on May 1st, to mark the day the state of Gujarat officially came into existence in India in 1960, when Bombay State was divided into Gujarat and Maharashtra.
However, Indian High Commissioner, Rajesh Ranjan, explained this year’s festivities were held back as the threat of Covid-19 still loomed large.
Ranjan added the timing was actually perfect as it precedes Navratri, an annual Hindu festival honouring the Goddess Durga that runs from 26th September to 5th October.
Looking splendid in their sarees, ladies and children took turns on the stage, keeping the audience entertained with their rhythmic dancing.
There was also a business side to proceedings, with Francistown Mayor, Godisang Radisigo, praising the economic impact Indians living in Botswana have had on the country.
“The Indian community and diaspora in Botswana has contributed significantly to the development and economic progress of Botswana over the years. They have made their contribution in all walks of life, be it education business, social welfare etc. In addition, the work ethic, skills and business acumen of Indian diaspora have been outstanding examples for Batswana to follow,” said Radisigo.
Similarly, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Director Business Service Francistown Office, Gaorekwe Gaorekwe, noted the Gujarati people were famous for their entrepreneurial spirit and business know-how.
Challenging them to do even more, Gaorekwe closed, “We have a challenge of unemployment. I implore the Indian community to play a significant role in helping the government of Botswana to create jobs for the people of Botswana.”