THE government regards the Maletsunyane Braai Festival as one of the drivers of tourism in the country and will render its full support to the event, a senior government official has said.
The second edition of the annual braai fiesta which was held on Saturday and Sunday in Semonkong, lived up to its billing drawing scores of revellers to braai in the vicinity of the world-famous Maletsunyane Falls.
The crowds began flocking much earlier than the 10am starting time on Saturday- proving they could not wait for the fun and festivities to begin.
The weather also seemed to have been primed not to disappoint as the bright sunshine was tempered by the moderate wind which swept across the area to provide a cooling breeze.
Revellers down their meat with copious amounts of their favourite beverages while the DJs kept the party going with up-tempo beats.
Patrons also took pictures against the backdrop of the enchanting spectacle of the Maletsunyane Falls, which they posted to various social media platforms.
The Maletsunyane Braai Festival was first held last year by OTB Exclusive Events Management and this year, they partnered with Back To The Woods, Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation and the local community to ensure and even bigger event.
Also in attendance were the Minster of Social Development ‘Matebatso Doti, Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, Kabelo Mafura as well as the Principal Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (MTEC) Motena Tṧolo.
Tṧolo told the Weekender on Saturday that such events helped to increase the popularity of the Maletsunyane Falls.
“When the festival was first held last year, the idea was for friends to get together and braai meat but due to the magnitude of people who showed interest, the organisers decided to add it to the national tourism calendar,” Tṧolo said.
“It is through this event that more people got to know and fall in love with the Maletsunyane Falls so the government, through the Tourism ministry fully supports the initiative.”
The local community also benefitted from the festival either through part time jobs cleaning the area and providing security, or by renting out horses for rides and photo sessions.
One of the community members, Kabelo Mosito, who was employed as a security guard for the festival, told this publication that they fully supported the festival.
He called on the government to erect a security fence around the area so that they could be employed on a full-time basis.
“The festival has given us jobs while others are making money by renting out their horses and selling crafts. It is however, a pity that it is held once a year, leaving us without jobs afterwards.
“The area is not secured and people can come as they please without any benefits for the community. The only way we earn anything is if the Semonkong Lodge guests need horses to visit the Falls.
“If only government could erect a fence around the area so that people can pay to enter, then we can be employed on full time basis. Regulating the influx of people who come here will also enable us to know the peak times and the kind of products we can sell to tourists,” Mosito said.
In response, Tṧolo said her ministry had already contracted a company to secure the area.