Formaion of Kamanakao Association
Kamanakao Association was formed in March 1995 to continue the work started by Mr. Pitoro Seidisa and Professor Ian Westphal in 1960, on the development of the Shiyeyi language as well as to address the socio-cultural needs of the Wayeyi. Its main aim is to develop and maintain the remnants of the Shiyeyi language and culture, as part of the overall national culture of Botswana. It was registered as a non-governmental and non-profit making organisation on November 9, 1995 (Registration Certificate number CR 2037).
Objectives, goals or mission statement
To develop and maintain the Shiyeyi language and culture.
To carry out and disseminate research on Shiyeyi language, culture, traditions, customs, life-styles, norms, believes and other related issues of the Wayeyi people.
To cultivate an appreciation and knowledge about the Shiyeyi culture.
To promote the storage, retrieval, dissemination, and development of the Shiyeyi literary and cultural materials.
To collaborate with other bodies interested in the promotion and maintenance of language and culture.
The Association has developed four major programs over the last 15 years, namely:
- Language Development – to develop the Shiyeyi language and develop reading materials. In 1997, an orthography was published after ten years of research. Adult literacy and pre-school materials are now readily available for teaching Shiyeyi.
- Literacy Development: to teach literacy skills in Shiyeyi to adults and out of school children. The goal is to have Shiyeyi taught in schools. A core of proficient Shiyeyi writers has been developed from form two school leavers and other retired professionals. Another core of trained teachers who are able to speak Shiyeyi joined the former group to learn to read and write Shiyeyi and formed the ‘Writers Workshop Project’ team, which meets three times a year to write and edit materials for publishing.
- Cultural development: A cultural centre has been developed at Gumare, where Shikati Kamanakao was buried. The Wayeyi Cultural Festival, depicting the song, dance, poetry, food, artifacts, traditional practices and educational activities is held each year and prizes are given for best performance. A number of cultural dance groups have emerged and a number of popular Shiyeyi music CDs and DVDs have been recorded.
- Human Rights and Advocacy: In collaboration with other organizations, the Wayeyi took the matter of discrimination to the High court in 1999 and the United Nations. They have described all the laws that discriminate non-Tswana speaking tribes such as the Wayeyi and shown that this discrimination violates the International Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other laws which Botswana has ratified. Both the court and the United Nations have asked the Botswana government to amend all the discriminatory laws, including Sections 77 to 79 of the Constitution, The Chieftainship Act, The Tribal Territories act and derogations in Sections 15 (4) (d) and 15 (9) of the Constitution.
The Structure of the Kamanakao Association
- The Executive Committee: This is the legal representative of the Association and its members appear in the records of the Registrar of Societies as an officially registered organization. It is elected every 3 years and oversees the governance of the Association.
- Branch Committees: In accordance with the section 6 ii (e) of the Constitution, the Executive Committee has established branch committees as its sub-committees in Xumu, Rakops, Letlhakane, Madikola, Motopi, Maun, Tsau, Nokaneng, Gumare, Etsha 6, Zhao, Ikoga, Sepopa, Shakawe, Seronga, Gunitsuga, Sankuyu, Ditshiping, Secaca and Shorobe. The branch committees are to promote and publicize the aims and objectives of the Association and hold such activities as will develop and enhance the Wayeyi language and culture at the grassroot level. They host the public education and advocacy program of the Association at the grassroot level. Chairpersons of Branch Committees report to the Executive Committee through the Wayeyi Chieftainship Council since most of their issues are of interest to the Council.
- The Language Committee: Again in accordance with section 6 ii (e) of the Constitution the Executive Committee has established the Language Committee to focus on the production of the Shiyeyi materials as stated above. This Committee meets at least three times a year (April, August and December) to produce and edit materials. The Chairperson of this Committee reports to the Executive Committee, which publishes the materials.
- The Wayeyi Chieftainship Council: This is another sub-Committee of the Executive Committee, established in 1999 to focus on chieftainship matters. It is the Committee that runs the public education and advocacy program of the Association, at the grassroot level. It holds a minimum of six meetings per year in different villages. It educates the public on the history of the Wayeyi, and updates them on the current status of the struggle for the recognition of their chief by the government and on UN action. The Wayeyi designated their Paramount Chief Shikati Calvin Kamanakao in 1999. He died mysteriously on May 6,2003. Shikati DL Samagabadi was designated regent of the Wayeyi and he died on January 11, 2005. On March 25th, 2005, the Wayeyi designated their Paramount Chief, Shikati Fish Malepe Ozoo ( Wuzuwo) and they will continue to work hard until he is recognized and admitted to the House of Chiefs and the Wayeyi enjoy all the cultural rights enjoyed by other recognized tribes. The Chairperson of the Council reports to the Executive Committee.