Lesotho holds within her borders a plethora of untold stories; stories from, of and for her children, the Basotho nation. The conveying of Basotho stories gives the advantage of giving direction and contributing to the narrative of our country and our people. This nation is founded on the shoulders of kings who cultivated a culture and traditions that are indigenous to Lesotho and make this country unique the world over. The forefathers of this kingdom built this nation whose roots run deep; with a history of triumph and loss, and a perseverance through adversity that keeps hope alive for the journey ahead. Lesotho is the Mountain Kingdom, a country whose stories contribute to her history and should be told to the world. As important as it is to preserve our heritage through the work of centres such as Morija Museum & Archives, and Lesotho National Museum and Art Gallery, it is important also that we continue to unearth beyond our past, and showcase the wide-ranging artistry of today.
From the performing arts to the visual, and across to the written word, art allows for telling of human stories. It stimulates thought, and in so doing, provokes conversation. It is the expression of the human spirit in all its beauty and imperfection, its simplicity, and its depth. Art is a conduit for the expression of the human spirit in various forms. It bridges my eyes to yours, permitting me to see things through the colours and textures of your perspective. The emotional reaction that can be brought about by a photograph, or a song, or even a meme signals the capacity of art to move people.
It is with the active participation of people on the ground that development of the Arts in Lesotho can come to fruition. Stakeholders across society, from the private sector, to civil society and community based organisations, can contribute to growth in this segment. Complete onus cannot fall on government. It is no longer an option to hold full expectations that the government is the sole executor of the mandate and actions that need to be taken to allow for a Lesotho that exudes her vast potential. It is those on the ground who implement the changes and development of sectors within our social communities at large. This requires support, guidance and skills advancement. Equipping people, particularly the youth, with the tools they need to hone their talents and make an impact with creative expression, will promote growth of this influential industry.
Several local initiatives have given native talent a platform to shine and in so doing, are giving the artistically inclined an acknowledgement and support in their capabilities. Basotho are given stages on which to express their spirit and their voice, in various artistic languages, including through fashion, music and cinematography. From Lesotho Fashion week, to Vodacom Step Up to Happy Nation’s Singing Bozza and the Lesotho Film Festival – these platforms give a stage for the aspiring local talent. Sustainable development of these activities is essential. The youth of this country are inevitably entrusted with the future of Lesotho; investing in them is crucial to the propagation of our culture, our future, and our legacy as a country. It is key to capacitate the youth with the skills to pursue their fields of interest and encourage them to know that whatever their field of interest, there is guidance available for their pursuits.
Even as Lesotho continues to face her trials and difficulties, it is imperative that her stories are captured, for future generations to draw knowledge and learn from. The Kingdom in the Sky’s tales are just as worthy of telling as any other in the world. Projects based in the Arts, where local talent is brought into focus and encouraged to excel, evoke a sense of pride in our people and renewed patriotism for our country. Ultimately, creative and artistic expression connects and unifies, through its potent messaging that can affect change and remind us of the beauty that dwells in this land.