By Mpho Shelile

MASERU – With the aim of promoting Basotho culture and music the European Union (EU) through the sound connect fund donated M1.3 million to two film institutes to assist them in producing a locally made film called ‘Lieme ka Lekoa’ and ‘Morena Lerabe’ which will incorporate Sesotho music and culture while also competitive with other international cultural films for an Oscar.  

European Union initiative intends to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange between musicians and spoken word artists in the country. It will provide training to participants and offer them showcasing opportunities in South Africa and across Europe, while actively strengthening collaboration between South African artists and European festivals, bookers and programmers. Through its framework, content and methodology, the Global Cultural Leadership Program specifically aims to improve the skills of cultural managers, enhance collaborative peer-to-peer learning, network building and enable them to develop fresh insights into international cultural collaboration practices.

The EU head of delegation, Paula Amadei stated that there were 120 applicants and only 40 of those were selected by the foundation. Among the 40 selected, two of them were Basotho institutes, stressing that this will curb the high unemployment rate and create wealth in the country. “Culture is a sector which can give benefits no matter the size of the country, a country can be small with a little population but have a big culture and creative industry, and I think Lesotho can compete in this area”, said Paula.   

In collaboration with the Cultural Relations Platform, the project will also offer participants access to a tailored European festival directory, which they can use to explore new partnerships and opportunities. The program offers a set of learning modules, tools and manuals for practice-based learning, giving them opportunities to build meaningful collaborations at the global level and within the European Union (EU). But the production team are a little behind schedule due to lack of funds and will sadly miss this year’s European Festival but will be included next year.

The CEO of Gem Institute Miss. Mpho Letima emphasized that at least 60 families from Halebamang, a village located in Roma got to benefit during the production of this film , an estimated one hundred thousand maloti(M100,000.00) was spend during production in the area. “This may seem like some difference but one must understand the impact it bought to the community with what the villager’s had said when they heard we were done shooting and were leaving. What we aim to do is bring the ten tribes of Basotho into the film through the various designs of their cultural clothes and the kind of food they eat. Believe me this was just inspired by a flower found in the mountains of Lesotho called ‘mokhabebe’ which we are to incorporate in the designs”, said Mpho.

She further stated that they are not only focused in this film but have begun reaching out to other talented Basotho producers to bring in their movies, scripts so that more of their films and stories get to be played, “we are hoping their work will start being showcased and they too start earning through their hard work”. She concluded by pleading with investors and Basotho at large to pledge donations in support of raising a sum of one hundred and eighty five thousand maloti (M185, 000.00) needed to complete the film.

On behalf of Sky Alpha HD Kabelo Mollo stated that their project aims at promoting musicians by collecting music and videos created to promote and raise awareness on rap and famo music through the history of Basotho, by creating a film on which they have partnered with different countries such as Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia titled ‘Morena Lerabe’.  The film will feature the likes of Kommanda Obbs as well as Mahlanya.  As Sky Alpha HD they are proud to have produced many musicians and helped them earn a living through their talents. They further emphasized that their mandate is to help all Basotho upcoming artist reach international spaces like they did. “We believe in the power of music, being a radio station we are we see the potential Sesotho rap and famo has and how they are widely loved. The Lesotho rap archive is an indigenous creative knowledge for most of Basotho” said Mollo. “We are still short of a sum of two hundred thousand maloti (M200, 000.000) for further production and we are reaching out to all Basotho and sponsors to help pitch in. We are already raising funds as Sky Alpha by playing at Hip hop Café every Sunday”

His colleague Mr. Tello Leballo aka Dalas T who is a music consultant stated that they intend to sustain this project they are working on for the next ten years, they also wish to create avenues which will aid the creative sector and expand its growth and recognition. “It is our dream that when they step into international platforms they are immediately recognized as Basotho artist”, said Dalas T.