Preserving a people’s culture

Preserving a people’s culture

Ministry embarks on project to collect objects, and artefacts…..

MASERU – IT is a country with a rich archaeological past.
It is home to the stunning rock art by the San and the Khoi, who are believed to be the original settlers in the country.
The stunning cave dwellings at Kome and others dotted around the country continue to fascinate tourists who visit Lesotho.
The largest dinosaur footprints ever discovered, 57cm long and 50cm wide, were also found in the western parts of Lesotho.
Yet despite such impressive past, Lesotho currently does not have its own national museum and archives.

The result is that the country’s rich past has remained “suppressed” and unknown to the younger generation.
That is why the Ministry of Tourism, through its department of culture, has now embarked on a campaign throughout all the country’s 10 districts to collect objects of artistic, historical and cultural importance.

These objects will soon find their new permanent home in the Lesotho National Museum and Arts Gallery that is currently under construction in Maseru.

While construction of the museum is going on, the Ministry of Tourism has already embarked on a project to collect stories and objects for the museum.

The Story and Photo Booth for the National Museum and Art Gallery was officially launched by the Minister of Tourism Motlohi Maliehe on Monday.
The Director of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, ’Matšosane Molibeli, said the aim of the story and photo booth project is to include the experiences and the story-telling abilities of the Basotho in the Lesotho National Museum and Arts Gallery.
“Through this project we will also gather the opinions of the public on what they want their National Museum to be like,” Molibeli said.
Speaking at the launch, Maliehe said this project will also give the public a platform to advise the ministry as to where they can get objects for the museum.

He said the ministry wants to gather the opinions of Basotho.
“For many years now Lesotho unlike some countries does not have its National Museum and Art Gallery,” he said.
Maliehe said they believe that the objects for the museum are available in the villages because some people inherited them from their grandparents.
He said they hoped to find other objects at churches and schools.

Maliehe said the objects that Basotho are keeping in their homes and churches are part of the world heritage.
He said it was for these reasons that the government decided to come up with a museum to make Basotho proud of their heritage and culture.
Meanwhile, Lesotho marked International Archives Day on Monday.

The Director of State Library and Archives, Motlalepula Lethibelane, said the day is celebrated globally to raise awareness among the public about the importance of records and archives.

This is meant to ensure that people understand that records and archives are the foundation for their rights and identity as citizens.
“Archives are the history of the country,” he said.

As part of keeping archives people like Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla and the family of the late Dr Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa were asked to bring the records of their parents since they contributed through writing different materials.
Dr Mohapeloa was a renowned choral music composer while Dr Khaketla’s parents, Makalo and ’Masechele Khaketla, were celebrated authors and teachers.

Dr Khaketla said she is grateful that her parents had now been recognised.
She said she believes that if they were alive they would have been very happy.

“As a family we will put the archives in public so that everyone can see them,” she said.
Maliehe said archives will help the future and present generations to know their identity.
He said it will also help the leaders in this country to provide good governance.

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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