The energy is palpable. The 11 female dancers from Botswana and 20 men – also very experienced artists in the areas of dance, music, and theatre – are proud. Together they make up the #ilovebotswana ensemble, selected by Andrew Kola, artistic director of the Mophato Dance Theatre.
They are probably hard at work rehearsing at this very moment, their goal in sight. Together, they are preparing to represent their country as cultural ambassadors at the World's Largest Travel Trade Show. They will do their part to firmly establish Botswana, ITB Berlin 2017 partner country, in the hearts and minds of tourism professionals and international travellers from around the world at the annual industry gathering of 180 destinations in Berlin.
For their opening-night performance in Germany, in distant Europe, they are rehearsing a show that will introduce the southern African country and its diverse cultural heritage as "Africa's best-kept secret." This is how David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, described Botswana when signing the contract last year's ITB Berlin in March 2016. The #ilovebotswanaensemble will surely do their best during their three additional performances at the show as well. They will create a great atmosphere at the ITB Book Awards ceremony on 10 March and on stage at the weekend in Hall 4.1 in the Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism sections. As cultural ambassadors, they will also be part of the grand finale, which is open to the public. In the style of the Delphic Games – the cultural equivalent of the Olympics – the ITB Grand Finale is the culmination of ITB Berlin 2017, a vibrant mix of music and dance. It will take place on Sunday afternoon at the Palais am Funkturm.
10 March 4 p.m., ITB Book Awards Ceremony guest appearance, Palais am Funkturm
11 March 12.30 and 3.30 p.m., Botswana Show, Stage Hall 4.1
12 March 1.30 and 3.30 p.m., Botswana Show, Stage Hall 4.1
12 March from 4 p.m., ITB Grand Finale, Palais am Funkturm