Cul­tural fes­ti­val to daz­zle Maseru

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Mo­halenyane Phakela

NEWLY formed her­itage or­gan­i­sa­tion, An­ces­tral Col­lec­tive, is set to host its in­au­gu­ral event dubbed Li­faqane-mfe­cane Fes­ti­val, as part of ef­forts to rekin­dle Le­sotho’s cul­tural le­gacy.

An­ces­tral Col­lec­tive is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion formed to raise aware­ness among Africans of their his­tory and to cel­e­brate the con­ti­nent’s rich cul­tures, cus­toms and tra­di­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to An­ces­tral Col­lec­tive’s Public Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Khothatso Mo­let­sane the fes­ti­val, which will be held at Thaba Bo­siu Cul­tural Fes­ti­val on 2 May, will be in­spired by the great Li­faqane War and the Ba­sotho descen­dants who par­tic­i­pated in it. The Li­faqane pe­riod refers to a pe­riod of wide­spread chaos and dis­tur­bance lead­ing up to the for­ma­tion of the state of Le­sotho.

“I am a di­rect de­scen­dant of the great Makhothi Mo­let­sane, Morena oa Bataung. Morena Mo­let­sane was a revered ally of Morena Moshoeshoe, and chief com­man­der of the joint forces that de­feated the Bri­tish un­der Ma­jor War­den,” said Mo­let­sane.

“My fam­ily and fore­fa­thers have a long his­tory of pas­sion, pro­tec­tion, and devel­op­ment of Ba­sotho, so I am merely con­tin­u­ing in that re­spon­si­bil­ity and le­gacy through this project.

“I have al­ready em­barked on a sim­i­lar project in an at­tempt to unite and gal­vanise the na­tion of Bataung. My dream is to ex­tend this mission be­yond Le­sotho to the south­ern Africa re­gion and ul­ti­mately the whole con­ti­nent.

“To­gether with the team I am work­ing with, we be­lieve this will mo­ti­vate us to join hands and de­velop our com­mu­ni­ties in all sorts of ways. With the help and bless­ings of our an­ces­tors we be­lieve a bet­ter life can be cre­ated for all our peo­ple.”

Turn­ing to the Li­faqane-mfe­cane pe­riod, he said it was more than just a war but a tur­bu­lent and chaotic time in his­tory where south­ern African clan and tribal lead­ers were de­ceived by Euro­peans into fight­ing each other.

“The fes­ti­val is called Li­faqane-mfe­cane to pay trib­ute to that forgotten but very im­por­tant chap­ter of our his­tory, and to pay homage to those who fought and died try­ing to pro­tect our peo­ple and land,” said Mo­let­sane.

“It also meant to get peo­ple to think, re- search, and learn about this time in our his­tory. Once we truly know who we are and where we come from, we will then know where we are go­ing. Li­faqane-mfe­cane was a chaotic pe­riod start­ing in 1815, and now in 2015 it needs to be cel­e­brated.”

He said an­other ob­jec­tive of the group­ing is to re­ori­ent Africans about the col­lec­tive ethos of their fore­fa­thers, which is at odds with the in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic mod­ern day cul­ture.

“It is so un­for­tu­nate that in to­day’s so­ci­ety, when one be­lieves in and prac­tices their African cus­toms and tra­di­tions, lis­tens to cul­tural mu­sic, per­forms cul­tur­ally ori­en­tated dances, and dresses in tra­di­tional at­tire, they are usu­ally la­belled as back­ward, un­e­d­u­cated or even des­ti­tute,” noted Mo­let­sane.

“This has led to peo­ple be­com­ing ashamed of their cul­tures and tra­di­tions. So, through this event,` we are try­ing to chal­lenge those per­cep­tions by cre­at­ing a top class event where peo­ple of all walks of life can proudly in­ter­act and par­tic­i­pate in their tra­di­tional mu­sic, dance and cul­ture.

“We want to en­cour­age peo­ple to come out in their tra­di­tional out­fits and blan­kets and cel­e­brate their his­tory, cul­ture and her­itage. Other than just the artists singing, there will also be tra­di­tional dance per­for­mances such as Mekhibo and Me­ho­belo.”

Through song and dance, this fes­ti­val aims to re­flect on the his­tory of Ba­sotho and cel­e­brat­ing cul­ture.

“In line with our mission and be­liefs, we see song and dance as pathways to awak­en­ing our peo­ple’s spir­its, cre­at­ing unity and de­vel­op­ing net­works.

“In African cul­ture, song and dance are an in­te­gral part of our spir­i­tu­al­ity and way of life. How­ever, we seem to have ne­glected and or are ashamed of our tra­di­tional mu­sic and tra­di­tional dances.

The Se­sotho acts lined up to per­form at the fes­ti­val in­clude Man­tša, Tšepo Tšola, Apollo, Bhu­daza, Puse­letso Seema, Rabotso le Se­manyane, Se­fako sa Menoa­neng, Mothae, Le­soetsa, Mmapa oa Likhoele, Bo Mme ba Ma­put­seng, Mape­sela and Lit­soe­jane. They will be sup­ported by South Africa’s Than­diswa Maswai and Ntombe Thongo of Xhosa ori­gin, Phuzikhemisi and Sha­bala Rhythm of Zulu ori­gin and HHP of Tswana ori­gin.

The di­ver­sity in the lineup, he said, is be­cause Le­sotho is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to South Africa, phys­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally, po­lit­i­cally, cul­tur­ally and through blood re­la­tions, hence their artists be­ing fea­tured.

“My aim with this event is to cre­ate a plat­form to boost th­ese artists eco­nom­i­cally, stim­u­late and de­velop their pro­duc­tion by hav­ing them per­form in a ma­jor event, and also to change the per­cep­tion of their mu­sic by hav­ing them per­form on the same stage with renowned artists such as Than­diswa Maswai and Phuzikhemisi in an iconic venue.”

Than­diswa Mazwai is among the artists billed to per­form at the Li­faqane-mfe­cane Fes­ti­val.

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