On the 11th June 2018, Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO joined the State Library and Archives in celebrating International Archives Day. This was very special as it is the very first time for Lesotho to Celebrate this day since its adoption by International Congress of Archives in Vienna in 2004 and formalized in 2007.
The formal date for the international Archives Day is 9th June; this being the exact date in which International Congress for Archives was created under the auspices of UNESCO in 1948. At the event the keynote speaker, the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Honourable Motlohi Maliehe, highlighted the importance of this event. He noted that it is to:
Raise awareness on the conservation of the archival collections wherever they are; for future generations.
Encourage the public to bring their archival collection to the State Archives; where they will be looked after and be accessed by a much broader audience.
Emphasize on the significance and value of such documents as well as in importance of their accessibility.
There was also an exhibition of some to the treasures from the State Archival Collection. This was to make the public aware of some of Lesotho’s historic documents, photographs, and Sesotho Literature. Demonstrating the importance of local literature, recognition was given to literary contributions from Mr. and Mrs. Khaketla, a couple who wrote Sesotho books. Each of them very unique in their own right, the books might be novels or short stories, but they represent aspects of actual Basotho life during the time they were written, as indicated by their daughter (Dr. ‘Mampono Khaketla) who was invited as the guest of honour. A special honour and remembrance was given to ‘Me’ ‘Masechele Khaketla, an author, a teacher, a mother and a lady of many historic ‘firsts’. “One of these firsts that we are very proud of is that she was the first Mosotho woman to graduate from Fort Hare University”, said Dr. Khaketla in her remarks.
At the same occasion, as part of 'the making of the Lesotho National Museum and Art Gallery’, a story booth was launched officially. This story booth, elegantly decorated in colourful seshoeshoe patterns, is a space created for the people of Lesotho to participate and get engaged in the historic making of the Lesotho National Museum and Art Gallery by telling stories about their heritage. The booth is also a space for taking photos to celebrate culture in Lesotho, with selfies and portraits encouraged. On the side of the booth were hashtags to use when engaging online about the Lesotho National Museum and Art Gallery project. The hashtags included: #mymuseum, #ourstoriesmatter, #basothostories, and #pastpresent
It was noted that the story booth is therefore to circulate to all the district to get as many diverse voices of Basotho to participate as possible. Those interested in sharing their stories can find the booth at the State Library from 11-24 June 2018 and thereafter can check local media or visit the story booth’s Facebook to see its schedule for touring around the country. https://www.facebook.com/STORYPHOTO-BOOTH-479953749089742/
The Minister also made a call to all Basotho to bring out those collections of heritage materials in their homes, which they would like to be part of the museum exhibits one day. Also highlighting that preserving cultural heritage is for the benefit of us as Basotho and the rest of the world, from today to the future.