Some Near, Some Far Auralgraphs from Botswana: Maun, Gaborone, and Borobadilepe.

Thamalakane River, Maun

Maun is the tourism capital of Botswana and the gateway to the famous Okavango Delta. In Maun lies the Thamalakane River. There are sounds; some near, some far. Frogs and water. Water is the source of life for people and animals alike in Ngamiland. After work, and during the weekend, people turn to this river to unwind with family, friends, and colleagues. Who would not with such calming sounds in this chaotic life? The sound was recorded on the riverfront at Crocodile Camp and Safari Spa. The camp is owned and run by Batswana.

Auralgraph: Thamalakane River, Maun, Botswana, 2022. © Keikantse Phele.


University of Botswana, Gaborone

The University of Botswana was partly built by donations of cows, chicken, eggs, and cash by our forefathers and foremothers. While recording this auralgraph in front of the Motho le Motho kgomo statue I had to ask my five-year-old son not to utter a word. The statue is a firm reminder of the resilience, determination, and vision shown by those who came before: to provide an education for their children. This year, the University of Botswana celebrated 40 years of existence. The university is called Mma-Dikolo, meaning “mother of all schools”.

Auralgraph: University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana, 2022. © Kenanao Phele.


Borobadilepe Village, Cattle Kraal

My home village; my parents have been living here for the past five years. In Setswana, one normally has three homesteads: one in the village or town, moraka (cattle post), and masimo (ploughing fields). Some families do not have this setup anymore, my parents do. Moraka is a place of pride because kgomo ke khumo: cattle is wealth. In important rites of passage and events, a cow is always central to them. Moraka is dominated by cows, cattle, sheep, birds and reptiles in some instances. It is a good place to be one with nature, to meditate and reflect on the day’s happenings.

Auralgraph: Borobadilepe Village, Botswana, 2022. © Chippy Phele.

Kenanao Phele is a co-founder and curator of the Gaborone Book Festival, the only existing literature festival in Botswana, which has been running since 2018. The curators use the platform to also celebrate and highlight the literary works of Batswana authors who are largely unknown.

Apart from running the book festival, Kenanao is a highly experienced marketing and communications specialist. She is studying for a master’s degree in entrepreneurship.

Cover Image: Justice Habane on Unsplash.