THE department of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture recently held a workshop on how communities can earn a living through intangible and tangible cultural heritages within their locality.
Tangible cultural heritages includes buildings and historic places, monuments and artefacts which are considered worthy of preservation for the future.
Intangible heritage includes traditional festivals, oral traditions, oral epics, customs, ways of life and traditional crafts. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) defines intangible cultural heritage as “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts”.
The trainees, who included district Culture and Tourism officers, were taught the methods by which they could mobilise communities to market the heritages at their disposal.
The Head of the Intangible Cultural Heritage section in the Culture ministry, Thabo Leanya, said the training was spurred by the need to raise awareness among culture professionals upgrade the quality and standards of the creative industry in Lesotho which complements the tourism sector.
Mr Leanya, who is also the Principal Arts and Crafts officer, said tourists to Lesotho usually leave without learning much about the country’s rich heritage of countless performing arts, indigenous knowledge systems and rich language traditions spanning generations.
“The idea behind this training is to ensure the district officers are able to mobilise communities to come up with activities and events within their communities using the Intangible Cultural Heritage to earn a living but not working in isolation,” Mr Leanya said.
“We understand that partnering with organisations such as Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (BEDCO), district administrations and other government ministries will grow this initiative and that’s why we encourage partnership.”
The trained district officers, he said, are expected to teach communities how to produce quality arts and craft products with quality, diversification and standards for the international buyers to buy.
“Now that the training is done, we are hoping for each district to have its own centre to house the creative industry which will showcase the Tangible Cultural Heritage,” said Mr Leanya.