SERIALONG LELUMA and
MASERU – Bastille Day personifies French people’s call for equality, liberty and a more democratic form of government. During this year’s celebrations to mark Bastille Day, two years after they had been put off, the Alliance Française de Maseru held the commemoration at Oulah la la Cafe in Maseru. Alliance Française de Maseru is a non-profit making organisation whose goal is to teach French language and organise cultural events in Lesotho.
Alliance Française was established in Paris in 1883 by eminent figures of the arts, the sciences, and politics to ensure the influence of the French language and culture around the world. The Alliance Française in Maseru was established in 1981 and is the French language and cultural centre of Lesotho.
Alliance Française de Maseru acts as the face of France in Lesotho. It has also the opportunity to work with many Basotho local institutions such as the Morija Museum and wishes to collaborate with local institutions including an economic centre such as the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the education and French language continued to grow in the country. Alliance Française has been organizing numerous classes and courses in French, Sesotho, English and Chinese.
They organised festivals, concerts, art exhibitions, sports, artistic and literal workshops between 2019 and 2022. In the last two years classes have doubled and the outstanding results are that the number of examiners have tripled. Speaking at the celebration, the French Ambassador to Lesotho, Aurélien Lechevallier, highlighted that most of the colleagues at Alliance Française are volunteers from both Maseru and across the country.
Their main duty, he continued, is to bring Basotho together and also inform them about the centre’s existence. He further noted that the relationship and cooperation between France and Lesotho has grown over the years, coupled with the sister countries’ shared fundamental issues.
In its celebration of the Bastille Day, the Alliance Francaise also opened its new cafe named Le Petit Paris. The ceremony was also graced by the presence of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tšeliso Kalake.
In his remarks, Kalake noted that Bastille Day, which is a French national holiday, is celebrated in Lesotho’s capital for the second time. He showed that this gesture is a clear demonstration of the eternal relationship that exists between the two sister countries.
Kalake further noted that Bastille Day was first celebrated on July 14, 1789, indicating that it serves as a celebration of the beginning of a revolution for unity and also a reminder to the French people and the world about the formation of the nation.
In his closing remarks, Kalake expressed gratitude to the Alliance Française for introducing the French language and culture in Lesotho, providing sponsorship to Basotho teachers to enrol for courses in linguistics and cultural refreshers training in 2013. As France celebrated Bastille Day on July 14, 1790, it was considered the start of French Revolution and unity of the people of France.