Our culture has been induced into the philosophy that, ‘the bigger is actually the better.’ But, we believe that the bigger is simply better when it is really better. That history and appeal and reminiscence are only valued relics which dwindle and fall swiftly.
There is a charm and charisma, as well as realism, which rise when supporting local entrepreneurs. It is not an unwavering resistance against the new, but a longing to keep at least some things authentic and genuine. Support the local businesses run by individuals who produce their fine works of art.
These artisans live in a country with little or local appreciation for recognized artwork. Fine arts around the country endure without galleries, museums or even art schools. At the same time, new products and designs are flooding into the market. This May and forever, support Lesotho Businesses and Basotho Products.
Several initiatives have been formed to sustain and provide a platform for local artisans and entrepreneurs to make their businesses known. The Nala Project: Community Market is a very good example. “The Nala Project is a community development initiative founded for the purpose of bringing together people on a monthly basis, all year round, to interact through shopping, dining and entertainment all in one space.” Follow The Nala Project: Community Market on Facebook for updates.
Same with The Hook Up Dinner. “THUD Maseru- monthly meetups for local entrepreneurs in Lesotho. Hosted at OPEN Collaborative Workspaces. It consists of elevator pitch sessions and networking.” It provides a good platform for networking and mentorship for those who are new in the business world. For THUD updates, follow the The Hookup Dinner – THUDmaseru on Facebook
Meanwhile, local markets prove to be inadequate and the artisans eye for more breaks across the border. Many are in quest of new export connections to help upsurge and spread their business forecasts. Regardless of the challenges that artisans encounter in Lesotho, some are doing moderately well. They are able to generate sufficient income to meet their family needs. And in the process they are creating delicate and dynamic pieces of art that enrich people’s lives and share cultural information.
Recent events have sent me spiraling into an existential crisis that has left me reeling with enough unanswered questions. Isn’t it ironic that we are so quick to point a finger at the West for screwing over the so-called ‘Third World’ but unlike our West-African and South-African counterparts, in Lesotho we don’t have magazines, activists, websites, organizations, and shops committed to promoting a consumer culture that shops with a conscience. Maybe it’s time to get our heads out of our own asses, roll up those sleeves and develop a homegrown conscious consumer culture of own.
Choose to spend your money on the locals. It’s time to claim your power, no matter how small you think it is. Instead of buying a ‘fancy’ Vaseline brand, opt for Makhaleng Herbal Petroleum Jelly. Best of all, local products have stories to tell – stories that relate to their uses and their discovery. No affectation, no exaggeration, just fabulous detailing, traditional workmanship, sumptuous materials, and fine-looking products. We urge you to explore the artistic traditions of Lesotho, abounding with the work of creative, proud artisans and artists.