This paper aims at examining the practical use of the melon dance by Basarwa (San) of Kaudwane village in the Kweneng West District of Botswana. Basarwa is a group of people who originate from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR). Taking into consideration the Basarwa traditional way of life, this research focuses mainly on women and girls as the main participants of the melon dance music genre. Some authors refer to this music as a game, whereas others refer to it as a musical genre. Basarwa women and girls have used this musical genre over the years to celebrate their hard work of search and gathering of veldkost from edible or medicinal plants. After two – three days of cumbersome work of gathering these plants, Basarwa women return to their place of residence to celebrate through melon song and dance. Data were gathered through several visits to Kaudwane village in 2008, 2010 and 2013 respectively to validate facts on this musical genre. Informants gathered at the village Kgotla (village customary administration center) for oral interviews by the researchers. It should be noted that the majority of the Kaudwane Basarwa speak Sesarwa which is their native language. To overcome this language barrier, a young lady who is the village pre-school teacher acted as an interpreter to the researchers. In addition to oral interviews, there were also video recordings and information from other repositories such as journal articles, books and internet searches. The informants also offered to practically perform the melon dance for the researchers to observe.
Key words: Tsutsube, Melon Dance, Women, Basarwa, Kaudwane, Kgalagadi Desert.
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