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‘Lesotho creative industry needs leadership and skills development’

Business

Poloko Mokhele

Lesotho’s creative and arts industry needs strong leadership and skills development to grow further from where it is now.

This was highlighted by veteran drama and theatre practitioner, Liatile Mohale, who still strongly believes the best is yet to come for the industry.

Mohale, who is the founder of Bahale Arts Development Centre, said most artists have passion for their work, however, they still need to be guided by those who have been in the field for a longer time, to capacitate them with skills that can get their work recognised both in Lesotho and abroad.

In a no-holds-barred interview with Newsday this week, Mohale indicated that Bahale Arts Development Centre was officially registered in 2018 to develop high-level performance skills among new and existing members in the creative and arts industry in Lesotho.

“Our artists need skills development so that they can produce more great work that people can recognise and admire,” Mohale said.

She said there is also a strong need for solid leadership in the creative and arts sector.

“Most of our artists are just producing work at the moment but there is no vision or direction. What I can tell you is that Basotho should be ready for great things because there is so much potential in this country.

“The Centre focus on drama and arts education advocacy, we also have the Bahale Drama Academy which is where we do a lot of work on drama. I have done a lot of work before on drama until I decided that, maybe it is time to also set something where I can groom youngsters in this field,” she explained.

Asked how the journey has been since the establishment of the Centre, Mohale stated that it has been great but also noted that there were challenges.

“It has been an amazing journey, but I am not saying it has been without challenges. I have been able to see a dream turning into reality, grooming other people within the arts sector which I consider as an achievement,” Mohale said.

Asked whether drama and theatre were getting enough support, Mohale said the support is enough since it is based on what Basotho know or have knowledge of when it comes to the industry.

“I think we are getting the recognition that people can give us based on what they know, based on the fact that we are performing to people that were not given drama and theatre foundation, so my hope is that can change and Basotho be allowed to be artistic at schools.

“Our education system needs to change; it has always been about systems it has suppressed our creativity. We are educated to follow laws, work in office spaces, get hired not to produce or stand for ourselves and what I can tell you is that there are so many creative Basotho whose creative needs to be nurtured.”

She added that she believes when people see something new for the first time, they become reluctant to approach it, saying that was the case when she established Bahale Arts Development Centre.

However, at a later stage, more people joined and worked with her on some of the projects and others joined to be equipped with art skills.

Mohale has worked with different companies and organisations in Lesotho on drama-related projects such as Vodacom Lesotho (VCL), GIZ Lesotho, She-Hive Lesotho, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), and the US Embassy Lesotho.

She said she believes that part of her career growth has been through support and the belief people have in her work.

“I feel like where we are at this stage, Basotho are beginning to recognise the work we do and I am very much aware that they are noting that something is happening here. So being part of that has really been incredible and it motivates me to keep moving,” said the drama and theatre practitioner who has over ten years of experience.

Mohale concluded by indicating that as part of their plans for 2023, Bahale Drama Academy will soon be visiting the National University of Lesotho (NUL) to play The Learned Ladies play part 2 which was recently played at Machabeng College.

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