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Local artists raid street vendors

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — Local artists this week pounced on street vendors in the capital and seized copies of pirated CDs and DVDs.

The street raid on Tuesday was monitored by the police who took in 22 vendors caught selling counterfeit merchandise.

Twenty artists turned up for the raid, with 14 police officers assisting them.

Mantša, Stlofa, Lomile Maputle, Lele Khesuoe, Sentso, Ramosa Bosiu and Lebohang Letšohla were among the musicians who took to the streets.

Word about the raid spread fast in town.

While the musicians were raiding the vendors operating at Sefika terminus, vendors along Seputana Avenue were already packing their illegal products and fleeing.

But others did not heed the tip-off and in the end they were arrested and had their wares seized.

Things heated up when the artists pounced on the hawkers operating opposite NRH Shopping Centre along Kingsway Road.

They were unruly and refused to be taken in.

“Who do they think they are?” one angry vendor shouted. “We can’t have stupid amateur artists coming here and taking our products.”

The vendor said the action was misguided because they were not selling any local music.

“We are showing respect to their low-quality music by selling only international music and movies and now they decide to destroy us,” he said.

“Now I am going to sell their music and see what they will do next.”

Maputle told the Weekender they had managed to raid all popular spots in town where pirated music was sold.

It could, however, not be established when the arrested vendors would appear in court.

Tuesday’s raid is part of the measures local artists agreed to take to fight piracy at an indaba last month.

Local musicians say piracy is wreaking havoc in the industry, with fake CDs for example going for as little as M10 when an original one costs at least M80.

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