MASERU — Superstars Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi will perform at this year’s edition of the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival.
So will South Africa’s Liquideep.
Econet Telecom Lesotho, the brand name sponsor, has bankrolled the festival to the tune of M1 million.
The festival, which is in its 13th year, will run from September 28 to October 2 at Morija, 45 kilometres from Maseru.
Speaking at the official launch of the festival on Tuesday in Morija, Econet Telecom Lesotho’s Corporate Affairs manager Mpine Tente said the company has decided to increase its sponsorship from last year’s M750 000 to M1 million.
“We find pride in supporting the festival despite our problems because it is an occasion where Basotho come together in the name of celebrating their culture and heritage,” Tente said.
“This is a channel of giving back to the community whose support sustains the company,” she said.
Tente urged other companies to continue supporting the festival whose main objective is to build, develop and conserve Lesotho’s culture.
“The journey towards the organisation of the festival was a lonely voyage as other companies stood back.
“This festival is not an Econet initiative but we are just stepping in to help sustain and develop the festival. Other companies shouldn’t feel like Econet owns the festival as the concept is too big for us to handle without the help of others,” she said.
The festival director, Thabo Leanya, said they started a rebuild and repositioning process last year to reconnect with sections of the event’s supporters who were slowly moving away.
“The main aim of repositioning was to reconnect with some sections of our support and patronage which were slowly moving away from the festival.
“The repositioning meant separating these segments and then communicating with them in ways they understood the best,” he said.
He added: “We have incorporated big youth and jazz promotions that were seen mainly in Maseru to cater for these target groups.”
Leanya said this year the repositioning is focused on the cultural aspect of the festival.
“We partnered with the Maleta Thojane, a local organisation seeking to promote Lesotho’s cultural heritage.”
“This partnership has seen cultural competitions taking place in different districts in the build up to the 13th Morija Arts and Cultural Festival,” he said.
He said the cultural competitions in partnership with Maleta Thojane have been successful in reconnecting rural communities.
“The festival’s purpose is to re-emphasise the successful efforts of the founder of the nation, Moshoeshoe I, in uniting the different clans into one nation despite their differences.
“The festival is also intended to celebrate and promote our culture and the arts while we contribute towards the development of the country.”
Leanya said the Maleta Thojane programme had set a perfect platform to host the main festival.
He said the first readiness promotional event which will highlight the Jazz and the Music Mix sections of the festival will be launched on September 17.
Leanya said there will be other promotional activities in South Africa.
“We are working hard towards making our brand a force to be reckoned with in the Southern African Developing Community countries and ultimately the whole world,” he said.
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