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Francophonie Festival beckons


Mohalenyane Phakela

ALLIANCE Française de Maseru is set to hold a number of musical, dance and cinema events at Ouh La La Café in Maseru as part of the annual Francophonie Festival.

The festival, which will run from 19 March to 1 April, is meant to entertain, educate and improve cross-cultural understanding between Francophone countries and the international community.

It is also meant to enable the public to experience different aspects of the Francophone world.

According to Alliance Française Communications Secretary, Papali Monyake, the month of March has over the years been devoted to the Francophonie Festival around the world.

“The purpose of the Francophonie Festival is to raise understanding of the different aspects of the Francophone world by engaging in fun activities,” said Monyake.

“It is a great way to learn about other cultures and explore the artistry of the many countries in which French is spoken. Since 2001, more than 40 countries have collaborated each year to present an array of experiences all rooted in the Francophone cultures – from Africa to the Americas to Asia to the Middle East.

“Alliance Française in Maseru hosts cultural events annually to celebrate Fête de la Francophonie festival with dance, cinema, food and music.”

The event will be kick-started on 19 March by Congolese virtuoso guitarist, arranger and composer Papa Noel. He is one of the most prominent figures of African and Afro-Cuban music, as well as a legend of the Congolese rumba, alongside Viviane – a French accordionist who has carried the voice of the instrument to other cultures and music.

“The maestros of Congolese Rumba and eclectic French accordionist will share the stage with local accordionist Hatlane, who will give Basotho a familiar typical sound of Basotho koriana,” Monyake said.

“For music lovers, this collaboration is sure to make for a memorable artistic experience for both the artists and the spectators. For those arts and crafts lovers, there will be handmade and local made pieces such as sand painting, water colour paint and cowhory pieces.”

She added that on the 20th of March, a deejay will entertain the crowd with some well-known Francophone music videos such as Papa Wemba on a big screen.

“The idea is to showcase Franco music as well as embrace the French culture,” said Monyake.

“Karaoke will be available on Saturday, which will mainly be entertainment for the kids. Amateur singers will be singing along with the kids and reading them interesting stories. The spectators can enjoy the tasting of a popular French dish called crêpe.”

She further mentioned that on 23 March, the audience get to sample music, dance, animals, plants, touristic areas and freshly prepared Madagascan food for tasting.

The award-winning feature documentary, Examen d’Etat (National Diploma) will then be screened the following day. It follows a group of young Congolese high school students who are about to take their National Diploma examination.

Cinema Night will resume on 26 March with the film Moloch Tropical which tells the story of a fictional president’s final day in power, set in Haiti on its 200th independence anniversary.

To wrap up the celebrations, Senegalese chorister, Marema, will hold a dinner concert at Maseru Sun Cabanas.

Marema is a Radio France Internationale (RFI) award-winner strongly influenced by the acoustic music of Tracy Chapman. Her first single, femme d` affairs won Starafrica Sound Jury’s Prize 2014, RFI Discovery Award 2014 and Bema Jury’s Prize before its release. She will share the stage with such home grown talents as RnB singer and vocalist Mookho and the Kolobe twins who won the Vodacom Superstars competition and Ultimate Music award-winning poet Siphiwe.

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