Cultural festival to dazzle Maseru
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.