By Motšelisi Sekonyela
Khethang Hlalele, popularly known as Morusu, is a Famo artist who now resides in South Africa where he is an award-winning musician and actor.
Speaking to theReporter this week, the SA-based artist said he was forced to leave Lesotho more than 10 years ago after he realised that it was not a conducive environment for the success of his music career.
Morusu was born and bred in Qomo-Qomong in the district of Quthing. This is also the place where his music career started, but did not take off to his satisfaction until he relocated to South Africa and was able to start making a living out of his artistic work.
“My decision to leave Lesotho came as result of seeing that the arts are not considered as a career by our government. It is viewed as a hobby for those who have other means of making a living. And since I was unemployed and uneducated, I had to look for a country where just being a musician could give me a living. In south Africa I get paid for having my songs played on radio or TV, which is not the case in Lesotho,” said Morusu.
In November 2021, Morusu won a South African Traditional Music Award (SATMA) in the category “Best Sesotho Group or Artist” where he was competing against an artist called Mahlanya and a group called Bana ba Motho. The winning criteria was 60 percent verdict from the judges and 40 percent votes from the public in a form of short message service.
According to Morusu, this was not the first award he got from South Africa. The other two, he received in 2009 and 2011 from SATMA and South African Music Awards (SAMA) respectively. Getting recognition to even be nominated in such big award ceremonies is a feeling that Morusu describes as humbling.
“South Africa has been very welcoming to me and my music. Getting recognised by the awards organisers was a big deal for me, but that is not the only highlight. I have also been recognised by TV and radio producers where among other things, I make background music for soapies like Generations and Skeem Saam,” he said.
Furthermore, Moruso has also tapped into the acting industry where he has made appearances in some prime time soapies.
“My stay in South Africa has also allowed me to explore my other talents like acting. I have been on SABC2’s Lithapo and Etv’s Heist.”
Morusu urges the Lesotho government through its responsible ministry which is the ministry of tourism, environment and culture to open up the music industry and ensure that it allows for artists to make a living from it.
This, he says, can be done in making copyright laws that among other things make it illegal for radio stations to play local music without first getting in contact with artists and paying them. Award ceremonies are also another way that Morusu says the music industry of Lesotho can be saved.