LOCAL marketing and communications firm, ThreeSixtyDegrees, on Thursday launched a project to promote and foster Lesotho’s art sector at the State Library’s auditorium in Maseru.
The initiative, dubbed Echoes – from the Mountain Kingdom and piloted in early 2005, seeks to foster the development of the arts sector in Lesotho by employing marketing and communication techniques to ensure local artists are able to showcase their work to the public.
The project is also meant to unearth raw talent and nurture the budding artistes by providing them with training and networking opportunities while also conscientising educate people about art and its importance. Echoes, for short, will also mobilise artistes to unite and speak with one voice on matters that relate to their welfare.
According to Echoes’ Solly Mofoka, the initiative has been well received and continues to attract significant attention and enquiries from both the artistes and the public at large, adding that it is a marketing platform for the arts to ensure the sector’s growth and development.
“Echoes will inspire both unearthing and development of Lesotho’s art industry and its artistes, young and old, seasoned and new, rejecting no one but only seeking to encourage others,” Mofoka said.
“It will benefit society in terms of education and messaging that can creatively inspire new artistes, boost self-esteem and build patriotism whilst also encouraging positive behavioral change.
Echoes, added Mofoka, seeks to ensure the arts sector contributes to Lesotho’s economy by providing business opportunities and to the artistes and giving them exposure beyond the mountain kingdom’s borders.
A number of acts performed at the launch, including jazz band, Double Impact which comprises of guitarist Makara Taka and Thapelo Lipholo. Later on, poet Thato Chobokoane joined Double Impact on stage, delivering her lines in tandem with the band’s melody. Meanwhile, Soulo Sehloho surprised the crowd by performing Ushu – a traditional Chinese martial arts dance.
The Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture Principal Secretary, Sam Rapapa, said art is important in promoting tourism.
“We have seen how other countries have invested in art and how it has contributed towards their economy,” Rapapa said.
“Looking at the historical places in this country, Lesotho has a great potential to be one of the countries dominating the arts industry. “
Rapapa said success can be achieved through investment in the development of various artistic arenas.
“This is a mammoth journey, but if achieved it will reshape the country’s economy and change the perception of our local arts landscape,” he said.
“As the ministry of tourism is in the process of constructing a national museum, I hope to see a lot of products from local artistes and we wish to work more closely with Echoes.