LOCAL artistes have hailed the Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) organisers for including them in this Saturday’s 11th edition of the prestigious jazz-themed festival at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village.
Five local acts including famo veteran Puseletso “’M’e Mpuse” Seema, jazz legend Tšepo Tšola and first timers Mookho Moqhali, Nthakoana Ngatane as well as Mystic Margin will share the stage with American songstresses Syleena Johnson and Monique Bingham, Zimbabwean crooner Oliver Mtukudzi, Ghanaian Zetina Mosia and South Africa’s Stimela, Mafikizolo and Serame Sediti.
Past editions of LETOFE have been dominated by American and continental artistes with just one or two Lesotho-born acts who have made it big in South Africa.
However, last year some local artistes created a social media movement to protest their exclusion at the event and this could have played on the minds of the organisers who have included more local acts this time around, including Nthakoana and Mookho who are “purely local”.
Mookho recently told Xpress People that this could be the start of greater things for her.
“It is easier to tap into the international market when one is recognised in her own country and what LETOFE has done this year means a lot to people like me and Nthakoana who are based here at home,” Mookho said.
“At first, our sound was considered not good enough for that platform but I see this as a start for local acts and a positive sign that we are getting somewhere. As much as I may sound selfish for having landed a spot, I believe the organisers could not accommodate us all at one go but I hope next year things will be better.”
The Baile hit-maker also hinted that she would perform a duet with Tšola at the festival.
‘M’e Mpuse, who will making her second appearance, said she was excited to realise that she was still “relevant”.
“I performed at LETOFE’s first edition and Tšepo (Tšola) and I were the only locals. It has been 10 years since that show,” she said.
The first lady of Famo said she had been in the industry “for a very long time and many think I am no longer relevant as I am too old,” adding, “Even Tšepo said he first heard me when he was still a boy making clay toys”.
“For LETOFE organisers to consider me as a musician who is still capable of entertaining their patrons means a lot to me and also motivates me to keep blessing Basotho with more great tunes. Having more local acts will also help expose local talent to international markets for it is through sharing the stage with international acts that we get to collaborate with them, thus, giving exposure.
“I wish to see my peers at the show and also the younger generation to come and learn the essence of life and the Sesotho language from my lyrics,” she said.