By Neo Kolane
The Hub. in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, has been creating digital media content with videos, posters, and animations about COVID-19, in response to the lack of Sesotho awareness content on the pandemic.
The campaign, which started in May this year, still continues and it gave birth to the song, Nthoe Tjena, which is part of it.
Moleboheng Rampou, a volunteer at The Hub, told theReporter this week that The Hub wanted another style that would entertain people, and that is when music came in. In addition to Covid-19, The Hub addressed other issues that affect Basotho youth such as violence, corruption, politics and unemployment.
Rampou said the concept behind the video is to create in it the style of a Zoom application, which has become popular now in the time of COVID-19.
“This application is very safe during this time because we do not have to come into contact with each other, and it helps drive home the message of ‘stay home, stay safe’. Two of the artists are based in Morija, and we have found a way to shoot their part in a safe way, observing social distancing and hygiene protocols.
“This shows us the power of social media and how important it is to maintain freedom of speech in the country, where every citizen can voice their opinion. We are concerned about the Internet Broadcasting rules that the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) is proposing, which would allow the LCA to regulate and even remove social media posts. We believe in the power of freedom of expression as central to a healthy democracy in Lesotho,” Rampou said
This publication talked to another volunteer, Thabo Mohloboli who said they have created the concept and shared it with Taks Beats, who is the producer of the beat.
“Taks Beats shared it with his contacts and many artists wanted to be part of the project. We have tried to do gender balancing, but some of the female artists we contacted were unavailable due to other commitments, even though they were keen to take part.
“We then took messages each participant intended to contribute to the Nthoe tjena song and the lyrics they had written. The choice was made on those who have contributed powerful lyrics. Thulo Monyake, aka T-Mech, handled the recording, mixing, and mastering. We’re so happy with the quality of the final production.
“The message behind the song is about how we should be protecting ourselves and each other by adhering to COVID-19 regulations. The song also talks about the challenges Lesotho has faced for a long time, such as corruption, mismanagement of funds, infighting amongst politicians, poverty, youth unemployment, lack of opportunities and support for the arts in the country. These issues were already with us, but now COVID-19 has made them even worse, Mohloboli pointed out.
Malekhotla Molefi, alias ‘Kot Inferno’, is also featured on the song. She told theReporter that it all started with a phone call.
“The hub was interested in making a project with local artists to make the nation aware of coronavirus which is killing thousands of people globally, and I am grateful to be part of this eye-opening venture.
“The reactions to the song also encourage us to keep believing in activism as a catalyst for social justice, helping young people to become informed and active citizens. We hope the song will inspire other musicians and artists of all kinds to use their art and their voice as a way to bring positive change to the country,” Kot Inferno told this publication.
The song features the likes of Black Dash, Kafela, L-tore, Revelation, Kot Inferno, Msoko Lara, Prime Zeik, Kardiac and Tokelo.