New winter festival unveiled

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Mohalenyane Phakela

ALLIANCE Française de Maseru (AF), Aranda Textiles and Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) have teamed up to organise the Lesotho Winter Festival slated for Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village on 11 June 2016.

According to AF Director, Remi Beghin, the festival would be held on an annual basis, with the inaugural event meant to commemorate Lesotho’s 50 years of independence and the cultural institute’s 35 years operating in the country.

He said in keeping with the ethos of Fete De La Musique, which fosters collaboration between local and Francophone cultures, the event would feature a lineup of artists from diverse backgrounds.

“Alliance Française holds the Fete De La Musique every winter, which is aimed at celebrating both French and Sesotho musicians,” said Beghin.

“Since we are marking our 35th anniversary and Lesotho is celebrating its golden independence jubilee, it was befitting to organise this exciting show.”

He said AF joined forces with Aranda Textiles and LETOFE to ensure the festival is “bigger and better”.

“LETOFE is well-known for hosting its epic jazz festival so they are quite experienced in hosting such events while Aranda Textiles produce blankets that have come to define Basotho,” Beghin said.

“We chose the month of June because winter is the season that best describes Lesotho’s tourism while Thaba Bosiu is the hub of the country’s history.”

Lesotho is set to be represented by famo artist Puseletso Seema and award-winning songbird Maleh who will share the stage with six-member Togolese group Vaudou Game and French electronic house duo Jess and Crabble.

The festival will also include a fashion show in which Aranda Textiles is expected to launch its limited edition blanket range.

Aranda’s Sales and Marketing Director, Tom Kritzinger, told the Weekender this week they intend to introduce the Victoria England Speed Fire range dedicated to Lesotho’s 50 years of independence and the country’s contributions during World War II.

“During World War II, Lesotho donated Speed Fire aircraft to the British Royal Air Force, so Aranda will launch 500 Victoria England Speed Fire blanket range which will coincide with the country’s 50th independence anniversary,” he said.

“The blanket range outlines the history of the Speed Fire and also features embroidery commemorating the 50th anniversary making it a collector’s item.”

Kritzinger said the fashion show would also showcase various other Aranda Textiles blankets and feature American designers, Unknown Union, who use the same fabric as that of Basotho blankets.

“We will also be featuring accessories designed from the same material by local designer, Teboho Moekoa, with whom we have been working for a while.”

He also revealed that Aranda Textiles would only produce 1 500 Victoria England Speed Fire blankets, with 500 for Lesotho, another 500 for South Africa and the rest for the overseas market. The blanket is expected to be sold for M1 000 locally and $300 overseas.

For his part, LETOFE’s Montoeli ‘Moleli said the festival was meant to celebrate the local and French cultures.

“We tried to develop a concept that would encapsulate both Sesotho and French music through the headliners we chose,” he said.

“Puseletso Seema is a traditional famo artist while Maleh is a contemporary afro-pop singer. The visitors will also offer both traditional and urban sounds of the French culture,” said ‘Moleli.

“Shows are normally held outdoors at Thaba Bosiu, but we will be using the amphitheatre which accommodates about 1 000 people, and we would like people to take note that the festival will start at exactly 12 noon and not run overnight due to the chilly weather.”

He said tickets were already on sale at M200 until 15 May when the price would rise to M250. VIP tickets cost M350 until 15 May when they would cost M400.

The exclusive ticket, which includes the blanket range and an array of food and drinks costs M1 500. Shuttles to and from Thaba Bosiu will be available on the day of the festival.

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