Jul 15, 2021
The Okavango Delta is what happens when people pay attention to the environmental wealth of a place. It’s the world’s 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage site. And for its animals and its immeasurable feeling of wilderness, it is a major tourism destination. But not all residents have been included in its success. What starts with a hippo hunt continues with a journey through Botswana’s past to understand what makes a place a rightful home for a group of people. And who should benefit when that land reaps a profit?
This podcast is hosted by Kerllen Costa, with help this time from Thalefang Charles and Gobonamang Kgetho. This story also features renowned Botswana voice actors Batho Molema and Donald Sejo, who spoke for Mr Monnaaphuthego Oja and Kgosimoriti Keikanamang. Human Rights Lawyer and Mandela Washington Fellow Keikantse Phele provided grounding in the Botswana legal framework for understanding more about the WaYei’s official status. Photographs of archival documentation of the Moremi Game Reserve Declarations are available at the Wild Bird Trust podcast page.
Faya Chune Republik and Crania Audio studios captured interview tape of the WaYei in Gabronne. Newsreel tape of from the formation of Botswana was used from a fair use public clip entitled “Bechuanaland (Botswana) 17 March 1965.” Botswana music for this episode was performed by the WaYei tribes women of Seronga, and the Reed Harp which is also known as the Seorooro was played by Tom Rethio.
This podcast is hosted by Kerllen Costa. It is written, recorded, and directed by Cat Jaffee and House of Pod in partnership with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project. Funding for this project comes from a National Geographic storytelling grant and the Wild Bird Trust. Fact checking was conducted by Aimee Machado. Juliette Luini is the producer. The audio editor and sound designer is Jason Paton. The Angolan producer is Kerllen Costa, and the Motswana producer is Thalefang Charles. Story editing comes from Rebecca Mendoza Nunziato.
Music: The Guardians of the River theme song was created by Victor Gama. Victor is a composer and designer of contemporary musical instruments for new music. He performs solo, with his trio or with ensembles playing his large pieces from small to big halls such as the Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall or Centro Cultural de Belém. INSTRMNTS - Victor Gama, his award winning interactive exhibition with workshops and concerts, has been installed at London's Royal Opera House, Madrid's Fundación Carlos D'Amberes, UK's National Center for Design and Crafts and many more.
The theme music of this podcast is a journey of sounds from the villagers of Tempue preparing food and drumming on bomb drums while celebrating their faith in village churches, which is interwoven with a greeting song by the children of Tempue sung before the community meeting. There is also a reed harp played by Tom Rethio, a WaYei musician who lives near Seronga in Botswana. Victor also used a number of his own instruments including the kissanje, which is one of the most important traditional instruments in Angola and is found especially in Moxico and the Lundas. Most kissanji have small metal rings on their tines which produce a rattling noise as the musician plays, creating rhythmic patterns. In the music, we aspire to communicate that nature is ever present, that the history of the land has a sound, that learning is joyful, that elders tell stories non-linearly and give their knowledge permission to wander, and that young voices are ready to be heard. In addition to custom pieces from Victor, the music featured in the series also comes from Victor's 2010 album Pangeia Instrumentos. The tracks included on the podcast are O Pescador De Sonhos, Homem Vermelho Homem Verde, A Guerra dos Homens Répteis, O Olho No Anzol, O Diálogo Dos Pernetas, Mibanga.
Art: The episode art for Guardians of the River was illustrated by Fernando Hugo Fernandes. Fernando is an illustrator and graphic artist with over 30 years of experience living in Campinas Brazil. The episode art for the series was meant to encapsulate some of the Guardians of the Okavango River Basin, from the long-standing human residents and indigenous tribes members to the hippos and elephants and bats and dragonflies. There is also a plane. And the hidden dragon-like demon legend, Mukisi. Remember, Mukisi can't be seen with human eyes. How many guardians can you spot? And what makes each of these elements a guardian? Keep listening to find out.