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Summer 2014 Issue I: Experiencing Culture in Bahurutshe



On Friday, June 13th the students and CIEE staff headed to Bahurutshe Cultural Village to learn about the Bahuruthse way of living and have themselves some fun. The village is located near Mankgodi village, which is about an hour’s drive from Gaborone.

Image13Napping on the ride to Bahurutshe (Meaghan, Bianca and Sophie)

Here's what's in this issue:

Hill Climbing
The Cultural Site
Activities Around a Bonfire


We arrived at Bahurutshe at 9:00 in the morning. After dropping off our bags in our new accommodation, we were transported to Molepolole, a nearby village. Molepolole is one of the largest villages in Botswana and is home to some huge caves. We were all geared up for adventure and excited to climb the hills and to get into the caves.

Image13CIEE students Alex, Brett, Katrina, Michaela, Caitlin, Abbey, Meaghan, Asia, Emily and Rachel
and local student volunteer, Kuda

Image13Rachel, Sara, Maria, Alex, Abbey, Kate, Katrina, Kylie and Michaela soaked up the sun

The caves have an interesting history. In olden times, women who were suspected of being witches were thrown into the caves. Legend has it that if one was to go into the cave today, they would disappear and never be seen again. Luckily no one disappeared, but we did have a lot of fun relaxing on top of the hill after our climb!





Kylie doing yoga; Sophie, Ashley and Michaela riding the wind





From the hill top, the view is gorgeous. There, high above the world of cities and civilization, we paused and looked across a natural world ruled by nature and her raw beauty. It was a nice break from the hectic schedule of classes.




After the trip to the caves and a great lunch, we returned to Bahurutshe to find out more about the tribe's culture. Bahurutshe is a trip in the south eastern part of Botswana. Like all tribes, they have their own traditions. In the late afternoon, we sat down with Bahurutshe elders to listen to their wisdom.

Image13In the Setswana culture, during official gatherings in villages, men sit on chairs whilst women sit on the floor. However some women still practice this even during unofficial gatherings. Traditional huts seen in the background are made from materials indigenous to the village and its surroundings.

The elders told us that the Bahurutshe's totem is the Baboon. That means that the baboon is sacred to the Bahurutshe people, and they cannot harm it.

Some of the Bahurutshe elderly women demonstrated various female roles of pounding sorghum the traditional way. Our students were even able to try it themselves!

Image13Emily pounding sorghum

Image13Abbey grinding sorghum into a power that can then be used to make soft porridge (motogo) for breakfast and thick porridge (bogobe) for eating with meat at lunch and dinner

Image13Katrina filtering the powder from the larger sorghum seeds

Everyone had a great time participating in these traditional activities. We were told that women go to gather food, come home and prepare the food. The men, on the other hand, went to the kgotla (the traditional court) and discussed important village matters.


After dinner, Brett (one of our students) helped the elders make a fire.


Fire is an important aspect of life. It used to be very common to cook every meal over an open fire. Nowadays, some families in villages still do it, but cooking inside on stoves is also becoming more popular.

As day turned to night, we were entertained by traditional Bahurutshe dancers. They danced various forms, including phathisi and tshutsube.


We then joined; sang and danced the night away!


 Until next time, sala sentle (stay well)!


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