THETSANE-based arts academy Basotho Intelligent and Creative Theatre Group (BICTG) has won an international entrepreneurship award for the second time in a row.
Formed in 2009, BICTG seeks to stem the rampant unemployment in Lesotho by empowering young people to utilise their talents to earn a living.
Last year the group, which consists of filmmakers, producers, writers and dancers, won the 2013 Saville Foundation Pan-African (country) Award for Entrepreneurship organised by the United Kingdom-based Teach a Man to Fish.
The non-profit making Teach a Man to Fish is fighting to end global poverty by fostering creativity and innovation among youths around the world. It is funded by Saville Foundation – an African-based association synergising with different organisations to promote education, entrepreneurship and community development.
Since 2007, Teach a Man to Fish, in partnership with the Sevilla Foundation, has been rewarding organisations that contribute to Africa’s long-term growth and development through an entrepreneurial approach to education and training.
According to BICTG founder, Molefi Ntsonyana, they won the competition again, although they are yet to receive the certificate and accompanying $1000 (about M10 873) prize.
“We recently received a message from Saville Foundation informing us that we will once again lift the Country Winner 2014 for Entrepreneurship, Innovation in Education and Confronting Youth Unemployment in Africa,” said Ntsonyana.
“We form part of the over 500 organisations from 38 countries across Africa, including South Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Namibia and Burundi, that will share a total of $50 000.”
He added that the group participates in the competition to help put Lesotho’s talent on the map globally and motivate local youths to work hard so that their efforts are recognised.
“BICTG’s vision is to ensure quality of life among youths through their talents including education and we are working towards empowering, uplifting, encouraging and motivating youths to showcase their creativeness and intelligence on stage,” he said.
The aforementioned objectives, Ntsonyane revealed, are achieved by BICTG’s hosting an annual talent show providing a platform for the unearthing and fostering of budding talent as well as awarding the winners with certificates. Their film, Bocha Ke Palesa, also won the Best Amateur Film award at last year’s Sesotho Media and Development Film Festival.
He said BICTG was the first organisation to host a workshop, facilitated by the Film Publication Board of South Africa, teaching local filmmakers about film ratings. Ntsonyane also said film buffs should be on the lookout for their upcoming production, Blessing in Disguise.
However, BICTG advisor Katleho Molise bemoaned the dearth of support for their initiatives from both the government and parents.
“The government is not doing anything to uplift the talents of Basotho children involved in film and music. The reason most of us in this industry produce poor quality material is due to low budgets that we work with,” said Molise.
“We are not just asking for money but even a permanent location for us to operate from. Most of us in this industry are still in school, so we sacrifice a lot to nurture our talents. To our parents, I say if you do not support us, you stifle the talents that God has blessed us with.”