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Lack of funds stalls Moshoeshoe doccie


Mohalenyane Phakela

PRODUCERS of a documentary chronicling the life of Lesotho’s founding monarch, King Moshoeshoe I, say they are looking for investors to bankroll the second edition of the film.

According to Moshoeshoe: The Mountain King co-producer, Kalosi Ramakhula they had run out of money to package and distribute the second edition of the groundbreaking documentary.

The documentary chronicles the founding of the Basotho nation by King Moshoeshoe I when he brought together various tribes from different parts of southern Africa.

“We spent over M2 million in producing the first edition of the documentary, and now we have run out of funds since we had to cough up everything from our pockets,” Ramakhula said in an interview this past week.

“We only received funding from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 2003, and it did not take us very far. The rest of the money we used was from personal savings.”

He said the first edition of the documentary did not sell well because of poor distribution, hence the need for investors to finance the packaging and distribution of the second offering.

“We are looking for financiers who would get a stake in this project so the documentary can be released to the market,” said Ramakhula.

The filmmaker said he began researching on King Moshoeshoe I in 1996 with the intention of pitching the documentary to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

“I became more and more hooked on Moshoeshoe I’s story with the discoveries I made during my research. With UNESCO funding, I bought a camera which I used to document the interviews I made with historians,” Ramakhula said.

“In 2010, I met fellow filmmaker Lebohang Phooko, and we joined forces to gather the information that was missing before we released Moshoeshoe: Mountain King Volume 1 in 2013. We visited various places Moshoeshoe I toured or where his influence was felt including France where the first missionaries to Lesotho came from.”

He said the material gathered during their research could not fit in one documentary.

“Volume one dealt with how we became a nation and volume two focuses on how Morena Moshoeshoe preserved us as his people,” Ramakhula said.

“It also chronicles Moshoeshoe I’s relationship with the Bataung clan which was the last to join his ranks and how the Boers arrived in Lesotho as well as the formation of the Boer Republic (Free State Province of South Africa) in 1854.”

He said most people do not know “even a quarter” of who Moshoeshoe I was and what he achieved.

“For instance, Basotho defeated the British twice in battle, in Harrismith during Moshoeshoe I’s time and in Berea during the famous Gun War in 1880 which was said to be the most conventional war in southern Africa as the Bataung clan had introduced Basotho to guns,” said Ramakhula.

“The second edition showcases the political brilliance of Morena Moshoeshoe, a leader who advocated for the economic development of Lesotho and made it the epicentre of pan-African political activities in the 1800s.”

“Morena Moshoeshoe made an impact on the frontier wars by helping Batswana win the Limawe War in what is now South Africa’s North West province. He also managed to keep the Boers at bay until their last battle in 1868 which led to Lesotho becoming a British protectorate.”

The second edition features such historians as Maboee Moletsane, Professor Bernard from the University of Free State and Dr Peter Sebone among others.

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