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Cultural heritage under threat – Noosi


Mohalenyane Phakela

CULTURAL activist, Morena Noosi, has called on Basotho to value and safeguard local culture so that the country does not continue to lose its valuable intangible heritage.

Intangible cultural heritage includes oral tradition, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and skills involved in producing traditional crafts.

Noosi said he would soon release a book, DVD and calendar showcasing the history of Basotho to ensure the nation’s historical legacy is not lost.

“A nation that does not value its heritage and culture will perish. That is why I decided to produce the book, DVD and calendar to remind Basotho of our history,” he said.

“For instance, most people don’t know that the Sesotho year is called Mongoaha and begins in August, while a week is called Setlamo.”

Noosi added: “I grew up in a culturally-oriented family which believed in the customs and norms of the ancient Basotho. So when I was going through my great-grandparents’ belongings, I came across some historic material from the times of our founding monarch Morena Moshoeshoe and the people who surrounded him.

“I was so enthralled by the discoveries and resolved that they would not be my inheritance alone but also for the nation since Basotho also needed to know more about their founding leader and the customs that governed the mighty nation.”

He said the material chronicles how ancient Basotho lived, their celebrations and the various prophets who advised King Moshoeshoe I.

“The most talked about prophets are the great healer Morena Mohlomi and Nkhono Mantsopa Makhetha as well as Lengosa Matita Phakoa who mysteriously knew how to speak and write different languages without learning from anybody. He also prophesied about the coming of the whites to Lesotho,” Noosi said.

“My hope is that the current and future generations will get to know how great this nation was so that they don’t discard the cultural heritage of this nation.

“Most people are Basotho only because they were born here but know nothing about where they come from. Development is good but it does not mean we should turn against our culture.

“If you were to look at the countries we tend to look up to and emulate, they still believe and follow their cultures, which is something I cannot say about most Basotho.”

The Mabote-based Noosi also said that the traditional Sesotho prayer was being recited incorrectly.

“The popular version includes a verse which states that the new god should pray to the old god, which does not make sense because it giuves the impression that Basotho believed in many gods whereas we have always believed in the one and only God,” he said.

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