The International Philatelic Exhibition (IPEX) hosted by the South African Department of Communications and Digital Technologies in collaboration with the Federation Internationale de Philatelie (FIP), Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) under the theme: The Road to Democracy presented the unique opportunity for Botswana to showcase her stamps to the world.
The event, expected to attract more than 10000 attendants, including exhibitors, dealers and Postal administrations was a weeklong programme from 8th – 12th November which saw the world converge in South Africa’s city of Captetown at the Capetown International Convention Centre over the fascinating ecosystem of stamps. Targeting dealers, collectors and stamp enthusiasts, IPEX 22 afforded the philatelic community and enthusiasts the unique opportunity to engage over the different philatelic collections that included stamps, First Day Covers, Souvenir Sheets and Postcards.
BotswanaPost exhibited its rich collection of philatelic products from the year 2016 to date. The consignment consisted of favorites such as Pel’s Fishing Owl in Botswana – The African Scops Owl, Fish Eagle in Botswana, The Big Five, Bridges of Botswana (Kazungula and Mohembo), Endangered Birds of Botswana; the Cranes, The endangered Birds of Botswana; Botswana’s Vultures, Endangered; The Bustard, Leopards of Botswana Birds of Botswana, Invertebrates of the Kalahari; Myriapods in Botswana and Places of interest in Botswana amongst others.
BotswanaPost aligned itself to this year’s exhibition theme with the release of the Mandela in Botswana Stamp titled; Mandela in Botswana - Road to Democracy stamp issue released on 18th July 2021. The releasee highlighted the significance of the time the late Former President of South Africa-Nelson Mandela spent in the town of Lobatse under the patronage of Rre Fish Keitseng during Mandela’s fight against apartheid.
An elaborate display of both the postal history and thematic topics covering the late former President Mandela’s journey captivated the imaginations of those that visited the exhibition. Expanding on his comprehensive display of his collection of The Road to Democracy in South Africa from 1834 up to 1994, Dr Gerhard Kamffer of the Federation of South Africa highlighted the relevance and interest of this vast history in modern day South Africa and the world, owing to the icon Mandela was. “The man is legendary, not only to South Africa but the world over, thus the continued interest in his journey”. Dr Gerhard Kamffer.
Parallel to the exhibition, UPU hosted a two-day (8th – 9th) workshop centered around the Digitalization of Philately and Business Model. Attracting presentations from across the globe. Delegates deliberated on the stamps value chain and the immergence of new technologies (crypostamps, NFTs and blockchain technologies) geared at the evolution of the stamp as we know it.
“As the world evolves, there is a compelling need to ensure that the basic principles of our existence are also aligned to the technological advancement of the sector, thus the value of the stamp should not be lost especially to the younger generation. The interest and evolution of the utility of stamps should not be restricted to collectors only but needs to cut across all spectrums as a stamp is an ambassador of a country. It transcends borders, telling the history of who we are as a people. Hence the importance of the deliberations by the sector to deploy means of incorporating stamp education in the Educational system as we drive the mandate of attaining knowledge-based economies”. BotswanaPost Chief Executive Officer – Mr. Cornelius Ramatlhakwane.
Although the exhibition was flanked by familiar names within the Philatelic circles including the likes of Spink Auctioneers, Stanley Gibbons Curators, Janseen Stamps Dealers and the South African Post, BotswanaPost stall welcomed new business thus fulfilling the organisation’s objective of growing its data base while engaging longtime Botswana stamp collectors. More so as the exhibition was the second installment hosted on the African continent, following the Africa Philatelic Workshop that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. Some of the exhibition highlights included the Botswana stall visit by the artist Helena Schussel, whom at the tender age of twenty at the time designed the Botswana 1997 definitive Bird stamp issue.
Reiterating the importance of the exhibition to not only the Philatelic Community but to a wider audience, the South Africa Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies during the official opening of the exhibition highlighted the investment made to engender an interest in the collection and preservation of stamps especially among young people. As such the department enlisted schools in the area to attend the exhibition. Thus, opening the exhibition to audiences beyond the expected visitors. “We wanted the exhibition to be inclusive and reflect the South Africa built on ensuring opportunity for all, a mandate shared by all nations.
The first adhesive postal stamp was issued in 1840, many years before all us were born. And yet in the glimpse of that first stamp, and many that followed, we can be transported back in time and history to events, persons, institutions and milestone. We have a responsibility to ensure this history is not only passed on but built on for generations to come”. Honorable Philly Mapulane.
Due to the magnitude of the customer traffic at Regional and International exhibitions, the exhibition afforded BotswanaPost Philately Unit a chance to network with different exhibitors and other postal administrators. Speaking on BotswanaPost’s participation, Philately Bureau Manager, Puleng Johnson said; “International exhibitions present a platform to interact with customers worldwide and recruit new collectors to grow the existing mailing list/database. Furthermore, attendance promotes benchmarking opportunities around the Philately business post Covid – 19, the exhibition also gives exposure to new stamp designs and innovations that BotswanaPost could implement, meeting with Stamp Agents and Dealers, reconnecting with collectors, selling of new and old stock and forging new relations with all Philatelic stakeholders including SAPOA Post Offices personnel”.
BotswanaPost Philately Unit was represented by two (2) Philatelic Officers; Ms. Karabo Maruping and Ms. Refilwe Makopo to deliver excellent customer service to those that enquired and bought Botswana philatelic products, also in attendance was a member of the Stamp Advisory Committee; Mr. Andrew Briscoe who is a known Philatelist, attended the Philatelic Societal meetings while the BotswanaPost Chief Executive Officer gave remarks during the opening of the Philately Digitalization and Business Model conference on 9th November. The Botswana delegation attending the exhibition also included the Chief of Staff; Mr. Thabo Matthews Mzwinila, the Marketing and Communications managers; Dr Gaone Marunyane and Ms. Tshepo Happy Maphanyane respectively.
The Minister of Communications, Knowledge and Technology; Honorable Thulagano Merafe Segokgo and Botswana Communication Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Martin Mokgware graced the exhibition gala dinner hosted to stimulate engagement by the organisers with key Philatelic players and the exhibition sponsors. Follow the link below for detailed information on events and schedules; https://capetown2022.org/
The international body of philately, the Federation International de Philatelie (FIP), was founded in 1926 in Zurich, Switzerland, to oversee stamp collectors and philatelists globally. Since its inception, FIP has worked with stamp collectors and preservers of philatelic materials, as well as designated postal operators who are mandated with the production and distribution of stamps.