Tragic end to Gaborone International Music Fest

Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – The annual Gaborone International Music Festival and Culture (GIMC), which draws large crowds and international acts, claimed one life after a violent show at the National Stadium over the weekend.     

Organisers were left perplexed after the show, usually an incident free music festival, recorded its first fatality in four years.

A 21-year-old woman, Nametso Bogopa, was trampled in a stampede as fans fought their way into the venue while several others were injured.

The festival featured international artistes such as Prince Kaybee, Casper Nyovest and Mafikizolo, among others.

Gaborone’s central police station commander Superintendent Vincent Pitseetsile confirmed the death saying it was a result of stampede at one of the stadium gates.

“It appears the woman fell and others stampeded over her, resulting in her death,” Pitseetsile told the media after the incident.

The police officer said he had witnessed the incident where a large number of people flocked to an unused gate as they tried to gain entry.

“We tried to calm the situation but it was not easy due to the large number of people. We are continuing investigations into the matter,” Pitseetsile said.

Inside the stadium, six people were stabbed as criminals took control.

“Six people sustained injuries after stabbings, with criminals trying to snatch people’s valuables. Those who resisted were stabbed.”

The criminals took advantage of the huge crowd to rob people. The victims of the stabbings sustained minor injuries and some have already been discharged.

The annual festival, which is proving popular with a weeklong culture and music festivities, has attracted top acts such as Jonathan Butler and Mr Ibu, the Nigerian comedian.

However, organisers would have their work cut ahead of next year’s fifth edition, after several cars were reportedly broken into.

GIMC organiser Thapelo Pabalinga said they would investigate the incidents, sending condolences to the family of the deceased, who was a university student.

Meanwhile, Mr Ibu left scores of fans who attended his comedy show, deeply disappointed as he failed to live up to expectation. A popular figure on Nigerian movies, Mr Ibu was making his first appearance in Botswana and his midweek showing proved unpopular. He appeared overwhelmed as he attempted stand-up comedy and fans complained bitterly after high expectations.

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September 2017
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