An initial meeting was held in October 2019 where invited stakeholders from the government, civil society, academia and creative arts practitioners across all the creative disciplines were introduced to the 2005 convention and the QPR report. At the end of this workshop, a writing team was nominated. A subsequent meeting was held in February 2020 where CCI representatives were recalled along with the writing team and the drafting of the report commenced. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, plans that were made to review the draft and make public presentations had to be abandoned and communication itself became more difficult. Through further coordination through MTEC, valuable information was sourced from other ministries regarding programming, financing and research. The data found was enough to paint a narrative, but lacking in terms of painting a quantitative picture that could be represented through the bureau of statistics.
Lastly, the report was validated on 22 September 2020 under strict COVID-19 regulations. CSO representatives, artists, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Ministry of Planning and Development as well as representatives from academia were present. Everyone had received a draft of the report prior to the meeting and then final issues were raised or amended during the validation meeting itself before they signed off on the report.
The Kingdom of Lesotho ratified the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in 2010. This Convention plays an integral role in the recognition of cultural expressions across the world, with special preference given to countries from the global South and ensuring that creative voices there are amplified. It reinforces that countries have a responsibility to implement measures that support the diversity of cultural expressions. In the case of Lesotho, we have the Culture and Heritage Policy of 2006 which aims to protect and sustain Lesotho’s cultural independence and to encourage national unity and identity.
• Regulation: The establishment of the copyright society along with reforms to the copyright order of 1989.
• Creative cultural production is now represented in higher education through the introduction of creative courses.
• The adoption of LGCSE creativity and entrepreneurship curriculum which seeks to mould and recognise creatives within the primary and secondary education system. The ultimate goal is that these young people will grow into producers of creative cultural expressions in the future.
• There is a growing number of small businesses led by creatives and centred around creative and cultural products, meaning that people are starting to appreciate the value of building careers in CCI.
Policy and Legislation: The convention influenced the review of the cultural policy reforms thereby reinforcing the importance of CCIs. Civil society cooperation with the government in issues related to creative and cultural expressions has improved over the years, resulting in an increased number of creative and cultural activities.
Implementation: Establishment of various CCI associations ranging from language, traditional dances and song, music, fashion, film and the latest is in graphic design, in collaboration with the department of culture. In 2016-2017, these associations took part in the organisation of the first and second Arts, Culture and Innovation Week.
Lesotho does not have a national arts council yet, which results in a poor flow of information regarding CCI. Additionally, creatives have a lack of trust towards the government to serve or even acknowledge their interests; therefore, initiatives by the government are welcomed with scepticism and reluctance.
Exhibition space, workshops, hardware; equipment and spaces to operate from
Research and Development:
A research body concerned with the CCI must be established. Such a body would put together a planning board, portfolio committees and determine operations, coordinate data capturing and analysis and quality standards for CCIs. Its absence currently means that CCIs largely operate with little to no regulation which side-lines those operating on the margins. There is limited data, and the structures which would enable data collection are weak, therefore we are not yet able to accurately quantify the financial contribution of CCI to Lesotho’s GDP.
Sectorial Shadowing: In some cases, sectors are misrepresented, for example; official legislation governing the film sector is represented under the ministry of communications through the Communications act instead of the ministry of culture. While the department of culture and department of communications are key to the development of the film sector, it is important to draw parameters on which roles each department plays. Department of culture would be instrumental for building the capacity of practitioners to develop the Creative industries while communications should be imperative to distributing content developed. Secondly, the CCIs are clustered together with tourism where tourism is given more prominence; this limits the chances of CCIs being recognised as an independent planning and development area in terms of prioritisation and resource allocation. The current CCI policy is not supported by any legal statute rendering it not viable to enforce implementation.
Registration of practitioners: Furthermore, CCI practitioners and institutions need to be legally registered and form associations which are properly administered under one umbrella body (such as the arts council). While there are a number of legally registered associations endorsed by the department of culture as its representatives; lacking is the support needed to make these associations thrive to their full capacity.
OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE
• Awareness raising about the convention through dissemination workshops and programmes by the department of culture and Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO
• Mapping of artists across the country to develop a database of creative practitioners around the country
• Implementation of the national cultural policy (based on 2005 convention principles) as well operationalisation of the Copyright Order.
• Tightening efforts towards developing governance structures of CCI actors through associations including providing financial support and guidelines for ensuring constitutional mandates
• Upholding the copyright order and mainstreaming it such that legislative and administrative resources are available to creatives.
• Offering capacity building in business administration for creatives.
• Promotion of Basotho artist mobility across the world through platforms of exchange and exhibitions.
• Improved data collection and management of cultural statistics through the bureau of statistics.
• Opening of an art gallery at the Lesotho National Museum once in operation.
• Significant investment in technology and infrastructure to boost the strength of the industry value chains, especially with all the wisdom gained through the impact of the novel Corona virus pandemic.
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Ba re e ne re literary arts
Goal 1 - Support Sustainable Systems of Governance for Culture
Cultural and Creative Sectors
2005 National Cultural policy framework
It is difficult to say as this data was not immediately available in an organised manner.
Lesotho Media Policy Draft 2009
Partnering with Civil Society
LMDA (Lesotho Millennium Development Agency) Compact
Goal 2 - Achieve a Balanced Flow of Cultural Goods and Services and Increase the Mobility of Artists and Cultural Professionals
Mobility of Artists and Cultural Professionals
Flow of Cultural Goods and Services
Treaties and agreements
Industrial Property Order 1989; intellectual property protection and copyright order of 1989
Goal 3 - Integrate Culture in Sustainable Development Frameworks
National Sustainable Development Policies & Plans
International Cooperation for Sustainable Development
Goal 4 - Promote Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Gender and Development policy act
The Lesotho Curriculum and Assessment policy
Constitution of Lesotho
Measures and Initiatives reported by Civil Society Organizations
Revision of the national cultural policy
Annual calendar of events
Lesotho Copyright Society of Authors and Artists
curriculum and assessment policies
Registration and formalisation of the film and fashion industries in Lesotho
Emerging Transversal Issues
Proposed COVID 19 Interventions (APRIL 2020)