Morija Museum & Archives shares indigenous musical skills



MASERU – The new “Reappropriating Lesotho’s Cultural Heritage Through New Media” project partnered with by Morija Museum & Archives (MMA) will assist teachers, artists/musicians and teacher-trainees to master traditional Basotho musical instruments and spread this rare knowledge in a series of workshops. Project ‘Reappropriating Lesotho’s Cultural Heritage Through New Media’ was selected as one of 13 projects across the SADC region by the Sound Connects Fund, an initiative of the Music in Africa Foundation (MIAF) funded by the EU and Goethe-Institute.

The opening workshop was held last week by the MMA at the Lesotho College of Education in the presence of the Deputy Rector Academic Affairs, Paramente Phamotse; Sound Connects Project Director, Stephen Gill; and, MMA’s Acting Curator, Pusetso Nyabela. There were also performances of lesiba, mokhope and ‘mamokhorong.

The workshops are facilitated by Mpho Molikeng, who is versatile in a range of these indigenous instruments and is a respected expert. He will be teaching lecturers and students at the Lesotho College of Education how to make and play seven of these musical instruments in a series of workshops which run through the end of October. The instruments in focus include sekebeku, lesiba, mokhope, lekope, thomo, ‘mamokhorong and setolotolo.

Gill said they would like to re-incorporate and modernise Basotho musical instruments and Basotho need to take pride in who they are while conserving their music and instruments. On behalf of the students, Palesa Ntene, said this is one way of celebrating their culture and, through their music, they able to embrace their identity, which is very important because it gives Basotho courage to maintain their cultural traditions.

“We have the material but modelling the instruments is the challenge. Basotho can make a living out of music and their instruments because they have captured the hearts of other nations internationally,” said Instructor Mpho Molikeng. Following months of research and documentation, Morija Museum & Archives has developed a module for these workshops and will be creating a digital platform for anyone who wants to download resource materials in order to further enhance their knowledge and skills regarding these endangered instruments.

Established in 1956, Morija Museum & Archives (MMA) is one of Lesotho’s premier heritage institutions, dedicated to a range of arts and culture projects, plus community-based tourism initiatives. At the heart of MMA are its valuable archival and museum collections, which have been growing incrementally since the 19th century. These collections form the basis for research and publishing, as well as exhibitions and educational programmes for schools, visitors and tourists.

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