Culture industry under the spotlight

By Limpho Sello

MASERU — The Ministry of Tourism has expressed concern over Lesotho’s failure to generate as much revenue from arts and culture as other African countries.

According to the ministry’s Principal Secretary, Thato Mohasoa, Lesotho is lagging behind in upgrading its arts and culture as an avenue to attract tourists, thereby losing muchneeded
revenue.

Mohasoa told last week’s stakeholders’ meeting on the contribution of culture towards economic growth that even employees of the ministry were not working in unison “especially in relation to arts and culture”.

“I have observed that as workers of the ministry, we are not pulling in one direction and it’s the same
with different organisations we work with,” he said.

Mohasoa further said he understood this was not the case in other countries where culture is accorded the respect it deserves.

“Even policies that can improve tourism in our country are barely passed; the last time Lesotho had an arts and culture policy was way back in 2005.”

Mohasoa gave an example of neighbouring South Africa, which has about 30 laws on culture and
heritage aimed at improving the country’s tourism sector.

“Lesotho has about five laws, which still bring conflict as some people do not like them,” he said, further urging other stakeholders to contribute towards improving cultural tourism.

The Lesotho DJs Association representative, Tšepo Matseletsele, reiterated the point, adding even the country’s copyright laws are outdated which is why they are problematic.

On the other hand, Mpho Letima, the Director of Sesotho Media and Development, a civil society organisation tasked with community development through the use of films, said they were already working hard, as the film industry, showcasing the country’s talent.

Letima urged government to be proactive in looking after the interests of the industry for the betterment of the arts.

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