After a three-year hiatus, Ntimbale Challenge is back again in Masingwaneng on 28th and 29th February.
The exciting annual event staged at Ntimbale Dam covers the villages of Masingwaneng, Mambo, Gulubane, Botalaote, Sechele, Makaleng, Matenge and Toteng in the North East District.
According to the event’s founder, Oteng Mokowe, the Ntimbale Challenge was conceptualised in 2013, but they had to wait until 2016 to stage the first event.
“I had to delay the event because most people thought I was using it to campaign for the 2014 General elections,” explained Mokowe.
In 2016 however, the long anticipated event kicked off in style with over 20 riders competing, and cultural nights held on Friday and Saturday.
“After the event, royals from the involved villages approached me with the idea of using the event to raise money for the Village Trust Fund. I gave them a go ahead to host the event the following year, and all the money made was handed over to the village leadership,” Mokowe told Voice Sport.
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He said together with three others, they had to pop out P20 000 each to sponsor the event.
However to his disappointment, the Ntimbale challenge did not take place in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“This meant we had to come back as the originators of the event and revive it. I can assure you, this year it’s going to be big,” said an excited Mokowe.
He further told Voice Sport that they started the event to promote tourism and to boost the economy of the north east by using the facilities available in the area.
“We’ve increased activities and have included camel rides, hiking and canoe racing. We are also trying to get skydivers – our challenge is that the country has only two dive masters who will be engaged on the said dates,” said Mokowe adding that they’re however still hopefully of getting the divers at least for the official opening day on Friday.
According to Mokowe, bikers will do two 50km laps on a treacherous track starting from Ntimbale dam, going past Vukwi, Gulubane, Matenge and back to the starting point popularly known as The Ark.
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The official opening, expected to be performed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, will be on Friday 28th in Masingwaneng, followed by a cultural night featuring Dikakapa, Dipela Tsa Ga Kobokwe, City Polka, Matambanadzo Cultural Group, Kenny Mackenzie, while negotiations are still ongoing to bring on board Tjilenje Tje Ngwao.
There’ll be another cultural night on Saturday and a music festival at If Not Why Not Club in Makaleng featuring the likes of La Timmy and DJ Gouveia.
“We’ve also invited revered Muvhango actor Macdonald Tshifhiwa Ndou populalrly known as ‘KK’ who’ll hold motivational sessions with Francistown based actors and drama groups from schools in the area,” revealed Mokowe.
This event will be carried out in liaison with Botswana Tourism Organisation and Water Utilities Corporation.