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Glitz and glamour at Step-Up launch

Nthatuoa Koeshe

MASERU’s glitterati donned its finest apparel at a local hotel on Friday evening for the launch of this year’s edition of music talent search programme, Vodacom Step-Up Lesotho.

And true to the event’s strictly formal theme, the audience which included Communications Minister Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, were dressed to kill. The Step-Up band topped it all with background music that kept the audience entertained while at the same time allowing them to interact and network.

Among the guests at the colourful event were the European Union Ambassador to Lesotho Christian Manahl, Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, Public Service Minister Joang Molapo and the Commissioner of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), Holomo Molibeli among others.

Lesotho’s own version of Idols, Step-Up Lesotho is produced by Khaya Productions and has already kicked off. The Friday launch was intended to shine the spotlight on the talent show which has already auditioned 300 youths in the five districts, namely Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek.

An impressed Chief ‘Maseribane applauded the organisers of the show saying it was a boon to the country which is burdened with thousands of talented yet jobless youths.

“This initiative has created jobs for 15 youth,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

“While auditioning, Khaya Holdings has empowered tour operators, established hospitality areas as well as introducing the local clothing brands. This shows that this project has also contributed in promoting tourism,” he said.

He said his ministry is the first to implement a project that is borne out of the Lesotho Economic Labs, a government initiative meant to stimulate employment creation through key economic activities.

The government held a three-week long dialogue of the Economic Laboratory from 13 March to 4 April this year.

The initiative is a specialised public-private sector dialogue aimed at achieving investment and job creation by pinpointing and removing obstacles that impede investment.

The initiative comes after the government adopted the methodology after attending a Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) workshop in Malaysia where the country’s experiences and those of other African countries were shared.

The investors who participated in the initiative pledged to inject M20 billion into the local economy over the next four years. The investments are expected to be pumped in through 77 high impact projects from four priority sectors of manufacturing, technology, agriculture and tourism. This is also expected to create in excess of 30 000 jobs.

Chief ‘Maseribane said Vodacom Step-Up Lesotho is a partnership between Khaya Holdings, Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS) and Vodacom Lesotho.

He said Khaya Holdings is responsible for content production, while LNBS shall provide the platform for the content while Vodacom Lesotho has funded injected M1 million into the project.

“This partnership will bring changes to both commercial and editorial narratives on Lesotho Television as it will have appealing content which might shift the preferences of the viewers and thus make LTV a better national broadcaster,” he said.

He implored other private companies to emulate Khaya Holdings and Vodacom Lesotho by giving back to the community while assisting LNBS with the required content.

Khaya Holdings’ Tumahole Lechesa thanked their sponsors and partners for making the show possible. He said he is confident that their partnership will go a long way.

Lechesa also thanked other sponsors which include, the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC), Alliance, LNBS and IBC among others.

He highlighted that the winner of the Step-Up will walk away with a brand new Polo Vivo, a record deal which will be effected in the United States and a 3-year full scholarship at IBC.

Lechesa also expressed gratitude to his team which he said has worked tirelessly to make the show the reality adding that they were privileged to have worked with people who once worked on similar shows in other countries.

For his part Vodacom’s Head of consumer business, Tšepo Thabisi, said the talent search show was the beginning of a new and exciting partnership with Khaya Holdings.

He said they were proud to partner Vodacom Step-Up adding that he hopes they have started a long and fruitful relationship to unearth and develop music talent in the country.

“We hope this investment will spur a broader awakening within the private sector and bring forth a realisation of the importance of performing arts and how they can become a strategic national resource in igniting tourism, bringing entrepreneurship opportunities and inspiring countless youth in finding their voices,“ Thabisi said.

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