CULTURAL movement, Ba re e ne re, is set to host a prize-giving ceremony tomorrow at the State Library for winners of its two writing competition which were held last August and in January respectively.
Ba re e ne re was founded in 2011 by Liepollo Rantekoa to advance literary arts in Lesotho and connect Basotho writers and artists with those in the region and around the world. After Rantekoa tragically passed away in 2012, her friends and family united to carry on her vision.
Director, Lineo Segoete, said the two contests were held to improve and promote a writing culture among Basotho pupils at different levels.
“The first contest, which was held in August last year, had been facilitated by the Peace Corps Lesotho at the hosting high schools, with participants competing at the district level,” Segoete said.
“Five winners from the competition, representing Forms A to E were selected by a panel of judges.”
She said the second contest was conducted online on the Ba re e ne re Facebook page and website last month.
“All Basotho living in Lesotho were welcome to enter by submitting a story based on the theme: “Freedom of Creative Expression”, from which three winners will be selected,” Segoete said.
“All eight winners will be invited to the American Corner at the State Library where they will be recognised for their literary works. The US Embassy and Friends of Lesotho are the anchor sponsors, with additional support given by the European Union (EU) as well as the Morija Museum and Archives.”
She also said the prize giving ceremony would also be attended by representatives from the US Embassy, Peace Corps Lesotho, the EU and creative performers.
Activities lined up for the ceremony include remarks by Segoete and sponsors as well as a performance by versatile musician Chino El Vito. Sekete Lesaoana will also recite some poetry just before the story readings and prize giving ceremony.
Among other things, Ba re e ne re promotes initiatives to increase literacy and inculcate a culture of reading, writing and publishing literary works, particularly those written in the Sesotho language. It also aims to facilitate artistic exchange between creative writers in Lesotho and Basotho outside the country as well as those from other cultures.
“Through these efforts,” added Segoete, “Ba re e ne re strives to support Basotho writers in publishing their works so that local and international audiences can enjoy the unique stories Lesotho has to offer.”
“It is dedicated to cultivating an active publishing industry in Lesotho and encouraging a stronger and more widespread tradition of reading amongst Basotho.”
She said since the cultural movement’s revival in September 2014, they had been working hard to ensure Ba re e ne re evolves beyond being merely an annual festival by formulating other activities to be held throughout the year.
“We have since introduced writing contests, a book club and an innovative Sesotho dictionary project,” Segoete said.
“We have plans for other initiatives as well this year including equipping libraries in Lesotho with books and training as well as organising an additional writing contest based on our dictionary project.
“We will also publish stories from our audience and, of course, host the 2015 edition of our festival. All these are efforts to popularise reading and creative writing in Lesotho and sharing the uniquely Basotho stories to people far and wide.
“We believe the impact of these initiatives will be huge for our country.”