ALL is set for the fourth edition of the annual literature festival, Ba re e ne re, which gets underway on 9 to 11 December at various locations in Maseru.
The event which was first held in 2011 is the brainchild of the late Liepollo Rantekoa, aimed at enriching the lives of Basotho through the promotion of initiatives which support literacy, encourage creative writing and facilitate connections between local writers and artistes and their foreign counterparts.
The festival was revived in 2014 by Liepollo’s family and friends who have since added activities that include the production of a revised Sesotho dictionary, spelling bee and essay competitions.
This year’s theme is “Finding Your Voice”, and some of the activities to look forward to on the first day include the launch of the Ba re e ne re short-story book titled Likheleke Tsa Pou and an open-mic poetry session at Rockview Gardens in Khubetsoana.
On the next day, the event will move to Maseru Preparatory School where activities will include literature panel discussions, children’s activities, a craft market, Nala Social Market and the Liepollo Rantekoa Keynote Address by South African author and motivational speaker Dr Sindiwe Magona.
The curtain comes down on Sunday with the Short Story Day Africa that will also feature a writing workshop facilitated by three authors, Efemia Chela from Zambia, Karina Szczurek (Poland) and Catherine Shepherd (Cape Town, South Africa).
Other writers expected to grace the three day event are South Africans Masande Ntshanga and Ace Moloi as well as Zimbabwe’s Joe Machina.
Machabeng College theatre teacher Liatile Mohale, media consultant and blogger Thato Mochone as well as writer Tumelo Moleleki are some of the local arts personalities who will feature at the event.
Ba re e ne re director Lineo Segoete said the festival would enable “Basotho and the youth in particular, to access training and outlets to practice literacy and share the unique stories Lesotho has to offer with local and international audiences”.
“Our mission is to cultivate the next generation of writers and storytellers in Lesotho through literary training and platforms for expression.
“We also aim to connect Lesotho’s literary arts community with creative writers from other African countries and beyond for creative exchange and improved publishing opportunities while encouraging the use of literature as a tool to address the country’s pressing socio-economic and political issues,” she said.
She also said the story book features 23 locally written stories (seven in Sesotho and 16 in English) while the workshop would accommodate around 20 local writers.
The festival is sponsored by Miles Morland Foundation, Vodacom Foundation, UNESCO, Maseru Prep School, Alliance Francaise, MXXL radio, Bahati Books, Short Story Day Africa, Nala Social Market and Rockview Gardens.