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Sigh of relief for entertainers

Local Afro Jazz star Selimo Thabane

March 22, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

THE entertainment industry on Monday lauded the government's move to allow event organisers to hold gigs following an array of protests.

It has been a year since Lesotho declared COVID-19 as a national crisis - a situation that led to the government imposing a number of lockdowns that entailed closing of businesses and various money generating activities like gigs.  

But the good news was announced by Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro on Sunday night, as he moved the country to the blue colour stage of regulations set to fight the pandemic.
This gesture came through at the time the entertainment fraternity was at the brink of collapsing, amid a series of industrial actions against the complete closure of the sector.
“Indeed, it is really a happy moment for us. All we have been asking for was for the government to consider our struggles and meet us halfway. Our children are going back to school and have serious needs that should be taken care of.

“We wanted to be allowed to make money through public events since the infection of the virus has declined," says famo musician Mothae.
Last week, members of the Lesotho Music Rights Association (LMRA) and DJ's Association had attempted yet another protest march demanding that the National COVID-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) should allow for them to operate in the mist of the orange colour stage.

This was despite the fact that social events including live entertainment were not permitted in that colour stage.

The mass action resulted in a serious confrontation with the police who deemed the procession unlawful.

The same week, the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture made a relief donation of maize and beans to the DJs - a move that most local entertainers scoffed.

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“Djs aren’t lazy, we don’t need food parcels, we need to work. There are people who need food donation more than we do because they can’t work for themselves. We know how to feed ourselves but NACOSEC is hindering us," DJ Daverts whose real name is Malefetsane Tsoeliane, had charged.

For his part, the LMRA spokesperson Ramosa Bosiu, had argued that the government was biased by allowing churches to hold services but barring entertainers to do their own thing.

“Yet both are classified as super spreaders of the virus,” he had said.
However, under the new colour, the industry is not completely off the hook regarding the tough conditions put in place. For instance: gigs are permitted to be held with 120 people indoors and 500 outdoors in privately owned places only.

Bouncers are to ensure that revelers are properly sanitised, wear masks and keep 1.5 metre social distance at all times.
Screening and registration of people using their identity documents at the entrance is mandatory and consumption of alcohol is not allowed at such events.
Furthermore, organisers are obliged to seek allowing permits from both the tourism ministry and the police before they could hold public events.
In a non-compliance situation, event organisers are liable to arrest and conviction.

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