Local artistes unhappy

artistsBy Mohalenyane Phakela

MASERU — Lesotho Music Rights Association (LMRA) feels it is unfair for organisers of the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival to field more foreign musicians than local artistes.

LMRA said it was unfairly treated by MMA during selection the list of artistes to perform at the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival which started in August and ends next Sunday.

“We fail to understand why there are more foreign musicians than our own on the festival’s line-up while the event should be about Basotho culture and arts,” said out Nyakanyaka Makakole speaking on behalf of LMRA.

“SA artistes are given priority over us as they are paid higher rates yet we share the same stage. It is totally unfair!”

Makakole also said they had to ask the Minister of Tourism ‘Mamahele Radebe to intervene.

They reached the conclusion that since the festival is about to start there was no time to revise the line-up so they would have a proper meeting after the ceremony but they were allowed to add four more local artistes.

On the other hand, MMA says the allegations are unfairly presented and they tarnish their image.

“It has always been our priority to showcase and highlight the best of arts and music performances in Lesotho ever since the beginning of the festival in 1999.

“The overwhelming proportion of performers are Basotho,” the museum’s media relations officer Makhozi Foko said.

“MMA’s commitment to local arts, culture and music is very extensive therefore we have to make painful choices when trying to balance the expectations of the sponsors, partners, the community and the festival’s management.

“Because of deficiency in resources this year we will not be able to cater for famo as we wished but the partners decided to divert their focus on other genres on music.

“Only Puseletso Seema and Mothae will perform (famo) because we could not devote our resources a larger list of famo artistes though it was our desire.”

He added: “But then Lesotho is not an island. We need to challenge ourselves by bringing talents from a wider region so as to understand and celebrate their cultures as they somehow interact with ours.

“We also need to expose our talent to foreigners and learn from them.

“We do not pay artistes in relation to their country of origin, but they are paid according to the standards of their craft.

“We do not discriminate against local talent; eight of twelve performers in different categories are Basotho.

“What needs to be done is the examination of ways to improve the sustainability of cultural industries in Lesotho by our stakeholders, a theme being explored in South Africa,” Foko said.

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