Basotho Arts and Crafts get Recognition through the “Basotho Design, Arts and Crafts” Exhibition
April 21, 2017
Culture is an important form of identity in any nation. From the past the Basotho have always had the capacity to design and execute exquisite artefacts comparable to the best of other nations. Still, this capacity is not recognised enough. “Basotho Design Arts and Crafts” Exhibition opened in Maseru on Monday 17th April is to remind us of Basotho’s creativity and finesse at Lehakoe Recreation & Cultural Centre. The Exhibition is sponsored by UNESCO, Friends of Morija Museum and Archives, and Lehakoe Club House. “Basotho Design” will run until 1st of May 2017.
The launch of “Basotho Design” took place on Wednesday 12th April 2017. The invited guests included His Majesty King Letsie III and the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Honourable Likeleli Tampane, the Minister of Education and Training (MOET) (MTEC) Honourable Motlalentoa Letsosa and various government officials graced the occasion. The senior government officials included the Private Secretary of His Majesty, the principal secretaries of MOET and MTEC, and other senior officials of both ministries, Lesotho Tourism Development Cooperation, Central Bank of Lesotho and Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO.
The National Commission in fulfilling its mandate to promote culture is supporting this first exhibition since independence in 1966 in collaboration with Ambassador Percy Mangoaela who made it possible by availing his personal collections in appreciation for Basotho culture.
His Majesty and dignitaries during the launch of the exhibition
In his welcoming remarks, the Curator, Ambassador Percy Mangoaela acknowledged the presence of His Majesty the King and thanked him for taking time to honour the launch of the exhibition. He further expressed his joy that the exhibition to showcase Basotho cultural heritage as evidenced in material culture had finally become a reality.
Regrettably, he said, this heritage is being lost to the ravages of modernity with the result that many young people today are not aware of their rich cultural heritage. He thanked the National Commission for UNESCO for facilitating that UNESCO funds the exhibition. He also thanked the management of the Lehakoe Recreation and Cultural Centre for offering to host the exhibition and the Morija Museum for availing other artifacts. He then invited all to take time to go view the exhibition which would continue into the first week of May, 2017.
In her opening remarks Honourable Likeleli Tampane praised the Curator’s efforts of elevating Basotho’s creative effort into the public space to sustain the spirit of heritage, culture and artistic prowess Basotho have had for centuries. She thanked UNESCO for the generous support and the Lehakoe Management for the venue.
She made those present aware of the huge project her ministry is undertaking, that of building a state of the art Museum where all the objects and materials of Basotho cultural, religious and historical importance will be presented to the public for purposes of education and enjoyment. She emphasised that museums hold knowledge of a society’s cultural origins and meaning of the society’s transformation.
Cultural artefacts and practices need to get recognised, conserved and also developed. This exhibition is a chance for all Basotho to rekindle the admiration for their own material culture. The awareness that Basotho arts and crafts are really worth to be exposed is the first step to preserve cultural heritage. “Basotho Design, Arts and Crafts” is an event to revitalise the minds of men and women to raise the bar in the preservation, appreciation and further innovation in design in arts and crafts special to Basotho’s heritage.