By: Nthati Moerane


Embracing one’s culture and tradition is not only a step towards an improved industry but brings endless possibilities of what we can become as a nation.

A non-governmental organization based in Lesotho named Gem Institute commemorates creative economy international day and World art day, at Avani Lesotho, Maseru, on April 26th 2024.

The purpose of the event was to have an honest conversation and deepen our understanding as Basotho.

The objective of the event is to deepen the creative cultural industries entry points on experiences, opportunities and challenges on financing and investment. That and the digital showcase of different art forms representing Basotho culture and creativity.

“Basotho are artistic, also they are entrepreneurs, and this nation was founded out of entrepreneurship and a lot of changes were made.

“It is because of these two days that we are convening here to rethink ourselves. The rethinking process from the creative space, artistic space will give us a chance to know who we have in the room so that our conversation is no longer just a Basotho conversation but a Basotho everywhere, whether its Basotho that we adopted or just Basotho,” says Mpho Letima, founder and Executive director of Gem Institute.

Indeed only a human-centred approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting, inclusive and equitable results.

The sector focuses on two priorities being to protect, safeguard and manage tangible and intangible heritage, and to promote diversity of cultural expressions.

According to Jerry Makhetha – Mofokeng, an Artist, being creative is when you create something out of nothing, meaning until you put your mind to what you are doing, it did not exist.

As an artist, you are able to move people with what you do, which impacts people in their minds, in their hearts, and in their feelings in ways that they never thought they could.

He explains that they start from their hearts but somehow they are called upon to have a discipline that takes this passion to their heads and make sense of it, and then take it to their hand so that what you think and feel and what you think and do are consistent to each other.

So, Basotho artists can find themselves in the market theatre despite of where they come from.

He claims that as long as Lesotho makes up its mind to tell its story and do so with dignity and excellence, but until or unless Lesotho decides to tell its stories, other people will tell Lesotho’s stories and they will do so in their own terms. 

 Gem Institute is a social enterprise (NGO) and innovation impact hub. It partners with youth and women, interrogating policy through research, promoting advocacy for active civic engagement, innovation through activity, technological adaptation; incubation, acceleration and financing of social and cultural enterprises.

All of the above mentioned in an effort to break the cycle of inequality and unemployment thus building peaceful communities.

In partnership with private sectors such as the United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Gem institute also addresses men and boys challenging gender stereotypes, youth innovation and entrepreneurs, omen’s economic empowerment and community leadership, and research advocacy and policy.

It promotes youth and gender empowerment, volunteerism, servitude and active citizen participation and accountability.