Kome Beer Fes­ti­val in limbo

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Mo­halenyane Phakela & Mot­samai Mokotjo Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE an­nual Kome Caves Beer and Glamp­ing Fes­ti­val is in limbo as the or­gan­iser, Tan­ger­ine Inc, still owes the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties money for ser­vices ren­dered dur­ing last year’s edi­tion.

Tan­ger­ine Inc’s three-year con­tract from the Le­sotho Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, to man­age and ad­min­is­ter the Kome Caves Arts and Crafts Cen­tre, ex­pired in March and has also not been re­newed.

Ac­cord­ing to Tan­ger­ine Inc Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Mofihli Makoele, the lo­cal events’ com­pany still wants to con­tinue hold­ing the Kome Caves Beer and Glamp­ing Fes­ti­val, although they are no longer keen on man­ag­ing the cen­tre.

He said Tan­ger­ine Inc had suf­fered “huge fi­nan­cial losses” in man­ag­ing the fa­cil­ity and in­curred debts which they were still pay­ing to­day.

“We can­not re­new the con­tract as run­ning the Kome Caves is very ex­pen­sive since the op­er­at­ing costs are very high,” Makoele said.

“For starters, we roughly made M10 000 a month and then had to pay M4000 rent, staff salaries and con­trib­ute 10 per­cent of the earn­ings to the com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment trust.”

He said the beer fes­ti­val was launched to off­set the costs of run­ning the fa­cil­ity, although it had also proved to be ex­pen­sive.

The Kome Caves are a Na­tional Her­itage Site with a rich history dat­ing back to the 1800’s. The Kome Cave Vil­lage is built un­der a rock and served as a fortress for its first set­tlers who fled the Li­faqane wars that dev­as­tated much of the south­ern Africa re­gion in the early 19th Cen­tury. It also func­tioned as a hid­ing place for its in­hab­i­tants from can­ni­bals. The de­scen­dants of the orig­i­nal set­tlers of the caves can be found there to­day.

Since its launch in 2013, the fes­ti­val has at­tracted brew­ers, beer afi­ciona­dos, rev­ellers and adren­a­line junkies from around the world. Although the ti­tle sug­gests it is merely a beer fes­ti­val, it has since proved oth­er­wise since it also caters for those with an out­go­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous streak with horse-rid­ing, quad-bik­ing, ex­treme paint­ball, archery tar­get shoot­ing, and cave tours among other ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able.

“To host the fes­ti­val costs us more than M1.8 mil­lion as the site has to be main­tained ev­ery year. We also have to erect a fence to cover the area dur­ing the event and to main­tain the route that leads to the grounds. We also had to use so­lar energy for light­ing which is quite ex­pen­sive as well,” Makoele said.

“Our aim has al­ways been to un­earth and pro­mote lo­cal tourism des­ti­na­tions for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity ei­ther through hir­ing them or af­ford­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to sell their wares.”

Vil­lagers from the sur­round­ing ar­eas have ac­cused the com­pany of not hon­our­ing their prom­ise to pay them M600 each for work done dur­ing the fes­ti­val. Makoele said the com­mu­ni­ties were di­vided into three groups with each owed M25 200, “but we’ve only man­aged to pay one to date”.

He added that the fes­ti­val dates may be shifted from the cur­rent end of Novem­ber to the “more con­ve­nient” late De­cem­ber. BUD­DING gui­tarist, Le­hana John “LJ” Le­hana ( pic­tured), is set to test the mu­si­cal wa­ters with the re­lease of his de­but sin­gle next Fri­day.

Born and bred in Katle­hong, LJ de­scribes his mu­sic as a fu­sion of Afro Pop, Soul and Jazz which he mostly sings in Se­sotho.

His mu­si­cal jour­ney started off at a Catholic Church in Ratjo­mose vil­lage, although it took him a while to gain the con­fi­dence to be­come a per­form­ing artiste.

Ac­cord­ing to LJ, he was men­tored by Jazz mae­stro Fatere

On his part, LTDC CEO Mpaiphele Maqutu said Tan­ger­ine Inc could con­tinue hold­ing the fes­ti­val once they set­tle their obli­ga­tions with the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

“We have not yet re­ceived any propo­si­tion from Tan­ger­ine about con­tin­u­ing with the fes­ti­val, but we have no prob­lem with that.

“All they have to do is ap­proach us about the is­sue. They also still owe mem­bers of the com­mu­nity whom they em­ployed dur­ing last year’s fes­ti­val,” he said.

“Some of the mem­bers of the com­mu­nity were so an­gry that they even wanted the Kome Caves in­for­ma­tion cen­tre shut down say­ing it was of no ben­e­fit to them. What Tan­ger­ine has to do is solve its is­sues with the com­mu­nity be­fore they can plan another fes­ti­val there.”

the Kome Caves are a Na­tional her­itage Site with a rich history dat­ing back to the 1800’s.

the fes­ti­val also in­cludes mu­sic shows (left) and the sam­pling of var­i­ous al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.