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Jinan Arts Troupe dazzles Lesotho

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Jinan Art Troupe from the Shandong Province of China dazzled audiences at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Friday evening with outstanding performances.

The 24-member art group mesmerised the crowd with various Chinese cultural performances which included dance, acrobatics, kung fu, magic and singing of Shandong traditional songs.

Among the troupe was a 14-year-old boy who marvelled all while showcasing his acrobatic skills which he reportedly has been practising for the past six years.

His ability to swing while balancing on a structure with one hand left the audience on the edge of their seats.

The magician also captured the attention with his tricks that most of the crowd had never seen or only saw on the digital media platforms. The male and female soloists captivated the audience with their high-pitched folk songs, while the instrumentalists wowed the crowd with the typical traditional Chinese sound.

A quartet from the Jinan Art Troupe further brought the cinematographic kung fu styles on to the stage which also included playing around with swords.

Underlining the performances were messages of friendship, love, happiness and beauty among others.

The National University of Lesotho cultural group held their own during their performance of Mokhibo and Mohobelo, while Machabeng College Mandarin students sang the countries’ national anthems in Mandarin and Sesotho.

The colourful event was organised by the Chinese Embassy in collaboration with the ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture to celebrate the milestone and foster relations between the two nations.

In attendance were minister of Water, Samonyane Ntsekele, Local Government minister, Habofanoe Lehana, as well as deputy Home Affairs minister, Machesetsa Mofomobe and the deputy speaker of parliament, Teboho Lehloenya. Several foreign dignitaries also attended the event including members of the Chinese community.

Prior to the performance, the head of the Jinan Art Troupe, Zhuang Yan, said that they perceive their visit as a significant cultural exchange gesture between Lesotho and China.

“We brought colourful performances from the rich province of Shandong and the 24 artistes will portray artistic and fashionable Chinese arts which will leave unforgettable memories,” Mr Yan said.

“Neighbours may be strangers but strangers further apart may be friends and this can be attested by the friendship between China and Lesotho which are separated by vast seas and mountains. This visit serves as a successful cultural exchange initiative after the (recently held) Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This will certainly bring closer the Chinese and Basotho.”

For his part, the Charge d’Affaires ad interim and Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, Song Changqing, said the Jinan Art Troupe’s visit was part of the strategies to enhance the relations between China and Lesotho.

“In a few days, both China and Lesotho will celebrate their national days (Chinese independence) and at this auspicious moment, dispatched by the Chinese government, the Jinan Art Troupe travelled thousand miles to join and celebrate with us.

“This is the third art troupe to visit Lesotho in the last three years and they have not only brought song, dances and acrobatics but sincere greetings and best wishes from Chinese government to our Basotho brothers and sisters. Their visit proves once more that China-Lesotho relations have become increasingly intimate and vibrant.

“During the recent FOCAC summit, President Xi Jinping announced the eight initiatives to further strengthen China-Africa cooperation in the coming three years. It is my strong belief that in the coming years, China-Lesotho relations will witness new further developments and bring more tangible benefits to the two countries,” Mr Changqing said.

Mr Mofomobe, applauded China’s commitment to its friendship with Lesotho.

“China has endlessly supported financially a number of cultural exchanges as well as official visits which have engraved a mutual political trust and enhanced practical cooperation in various fields. I find it pleasing and appropriate to applaud the involvement and interest of China in the development of the heritage fraternity, in particular, in the cultural industries.

“This initiative forms part of the exchange programme which falls within the cultural cooperation that was signed by the two countries in 2000. For more than a decade now, Lesotho has enjoyed diversity of Chinese performances as well as screenings of various Chinese movies of great popularity.

“We are aware that the creative industry has been recognised by the government as a priority sector for economic growth as well as employment creation. Heritage is also the cornerstone of each country’s identity, pride and e kopanya sechaba (unites people) hence we are having the Jinan Art Troupe today. Likewise, Basotho artistes have visited China to showcase their artistic work including our cultural performances,” Mr Mofomobe said.

The Jinan Art Troupe further performed for the general public yesterday at the same venue.

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