BA RE Dictionary: Call for new words

Remember our BA RE Dictionary project where we created Sesotho words? We’re turning it into a printed book and we want you to contribute new words for it.

To contribute, please share a word that you invent or comes from Sesotho slang. The word must not already be in a Sesotho dictionary. Next, we need to you write a definition in English and Sesotho and give us one example sentence in English and Sesotho. Do not worry too much about spelling and grammar, we can edit together.

If you’re interested, please send an email to barelitfest@gmail.com. For examples, see the words we made for the project at the link below.

https://barelitfest.com/ba-re-dictionary/

Dear Apples,

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September was crazy for Ba re e ne re. I landed at OR Thambo airport to represent this wonderful dream you founded at the inaugural PAN!C meeting/conference and Jo’burg Art Fair from 5-13 September and the first soul I connected with was Kadiatou. She knew you from Cape Town and we shared stories. Her aura pulsated intelligence and roots firmly set in the ground. Much like how I knew you. I felt the same energy I sensed during our handful of interactions and I whispered gratitude to the universe. This would be a great week and you were present.

PAN!C was fantastic! It felt like being a comic book nerd in an observatory filled with the characters that are gifted with his favourite powers. I have lost count of the number of times I felt you ought to have been there instead of me. For one thing you were far better informed and exposed to the kind of settings I found myself in. The conference was intense yet easy to take in. Mutuality and reciprocity flowed consistently throughout all our interactions and multiple connections were born. The dinners and art fair were a little more complex; between managing eclectic crowds and my reclusive self, they were the perfect recipe to crumble my comfort zone. I was getting oriented into the art world and its idiosyncrasies, it was all exhilaratingly petrifying.

Back home in Lesotho, the camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) event in Butha-Buthe put everything into perspective. The girls came from Mokhotlong, Leribe, Berea and Butha-Buthe and Ba re was invited to talk to them about pursuing creative careers. They were inquisitive and eager to engage, their youthful eyes dense with stories. For me it was a raw reminder that kids in rural Lesotho are famished for books and resources that hone the imaginations. Memory sucked me back to the little bits of your research about Lesotho that I had gained access to and camp GLOW reinforced the existence of Ba re e ne re.

Motivated by the needs you identified, your foresight and the legacy you set the foundation for, it is our mission to do you and the ancestors of this land justice. All of Ba re e ne re’s collaborative efforts and other activities are toward bettering the life of the Mosotho child. Thank you for sharing such an honour!

Decolonizing Arts Education in Africa – Another Roadmap

Another Roadmap for Arts Education is an international initiative under the aegis of the Another Roadmap School. It involves 22 regional research groups working to critically analyse the UNESCO Road Map for Arts Education (Lisbon 2006) and the Seoul Agenda for Arts Education (2010) in terms of their framing of history and terminology, subtexts and paradigms, as well as the application of these policies in different parts of the world. The Africa Cluster of Another Roadmap for Arts Education is led by Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa and consists of working groups in seven African countries: Uganda, Egypt, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Nigeria and South Africa. Through our projects and research, Ba re e ne re acts as the Lesotho working group. Collectively, the members of the Africa Cluster are scholars and practitioners of arts education, working on the African continent, who wish to pursue a joint programme of research into arts educational practice in Africa. We held our first intensive, yet enthusiastic meeting in Entebbe, Uganda from 23-25 July 2015 to exchange knowledge, set goals and map a way forward for the next three years.

Over the past two decades, arts education has evolved into a global conversation. The UNESCO Road Map for Art Education (2006) and the subsequent Seoul Agenda (2010), have brought major international players together with the aim to advocate for the importance of arts education and to promote its implementation in formal and informal contexts. Nevertheless, the Another Roadmap School argues that some aspects of UNESCO’s policy documents reflect a lack of substantial, nuanced research on art education practices in varying socio-political contexts. The documents lack sufficient critical engagement with the history and the persistent hegemony of the western conceptions of arts and education within the field.

For one thing, the diverse knowledge of Africa-based practitioners and scholars were underrepresented in the development processes of both the UNESCO Road Map and the Seoul Agenda. Consequently, Africa is vulnerable to these documents’ deficiencies because African concepts of ‘art’ and ‘art education’ are not reflected in current policy documents. Yet, this is also the region whose educational and cultural policies are often most reliant upon documents of this kind in the formation of national policies and legislation.

The aim of our research is to make a critical and timely contribution to the development of practice and policy in the field of Arts Education in Africa. Our project combines arts, social transformation and learning through local research and experimental action that is developed in dialogue between our respective working groups on various levels. The project supports the development of innovative arts and education projects in community contexts while at the same time networking Africa-based scholars and practitioners. It is modeled to enable us to advance collaborative research into arts education practice, and to build both a shared knowledge base and a structure of mutual learning that will benefit African practitioners as a whole. We envision our work contributing to advances, thinking and practice worldwide through the Another Roadmap School.

The Africa Cluster recognizes that considerable, exhaustive research into arts education on the continent is vital. Historically, the subject has been miserably under-researched and under-documented. Apart from – perhaps – the case of literature (and even then, there is a focus on that which is written in Western languages), there is very little high quality, locally accessible research material available to practitioners and teachers on the continent.
We believe this has extremely serious consequences which must be put right. The focus goals set at first meeting therefore are to: (1) research arts education histories, (2) develop alternative paradigms, that is, incorporate indigenous practices and aesthetic concepts into arts education, and (3) outline knowledge disseminations in the form of libraries and books and consider how to make knowledge accessible and usable.
As Ba re e ne re we believe Basotho stand to benefit greatly from this collaborative because our country is at the genesis of embracing creativity and entrepreneurship as part of the educational curriculum. Through this recognition of the links between creativity and growth, we will be better equipped to facilitate resources to the youth of this country so that their talents sour beyond heights previously explored.

Participating Organisations in the Africa Cluster Meeting
Art Is Everywhere (Nigeria)
Artists Home (Rwanda)
Ba re e ne re Literary Arts (Lesotho)
Contemporary Image Collective (Egypt)
Keleketla Media Arts Project (South Africa)
Picha Arts Centre (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Wits School of Art (South Africa)
Zurich University of The Arts
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ESSAY: “The Right to Be Me” by Mammatli Molefi

In this short essay “The Right to Be Me”, Mammatli Molefi talks about the power and importance of creative expression.

Thousands and thousands of years ago humans used drawings, songs, dance, and simple gestures to tell stories, stories of hunting expeditions, love and death, and a brighter future. If they hadn’t applied creativity, their tales might still live in caves today. Everything we do begins as a thought and some of the best ideas were developed first by being written down. Even Sesotho folk-tales are preserved in books and continue to shape young children as they grow.

In the movie business, thoughts are conceived and written down before they are shot on film. Behind every “genius” leader, politician, famous or infamous celebrity there is a script, written with the intention to be memorable and mind-blowing. The greatest speeches – some for good and some for bad – have changed the world. Martin Luther King Jr. is still celebrated for his speeches because through his creative expression, he did change the world. He influenced many people’s views on racism and equal rights. Formidable leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama also challenged the stigma attached to their ethnicity. These are men who heal people with their words.
Another such inspirational figure is Malala Yousafzai. In early 2009, she was about 12 years old, but she wrote a blog under a fictitious name for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley. Among many accolades her writings got her noticed by journalist Adam B. Ellick, who shot a documentary on her life and struggles. She received the International Children’s Peace Prize and a UN petition was launched in Yousafzai’s name which said that every child worldwide should be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill. Malala Yousafzai went on to be the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. If one child can effect change in the world through a creative mind, imagine the odds that would be against us without the freedom to be creative.

If we lost our creative freedom we would lose our future. We would be slaves to the thought and beliefs of anyone who hides behind the barrel of a gun or anyone who blends into the shadows of an already darkened world. Creativity is the light that gives us hope and reason. Creativity is the air we all breathe and the heart as it continues to beat. It is life and I for one breathe and live through creative expression.

POETRY: ‘The Mountain Kingdom’ by Lizzy Mochochonono

Some conscious poetry for the times we live in. Read ‘The Mountain Kingdom’ by Lizzy Mochochonono. #Lesothowrites

They say dynamite comes in small packages
Apparently so does trouble
How can a country so small be this divided?
All we do in our hearts is tremble
As we wonder if the next gunshot will be on our doorsteps
Will we see the next sunshine?
That’s the question on everyone’s lips
What ever happened to Peace, Rain and Prosperity?

Is this what our forefathers fought for;
For the mountain kingdom
To fall on its own sword?
Is this what the great king of Basotho
Moshoeshoe would have wanted for his people
To die not of their enemies’ swords but their own friends’
Sh! Listen
Do you hear that sound?
That’s the sound of him turning in his grave?

Peace, Rain, Prosperity
More like chaos,pain and failure
Everything has changed but
God is still for us…

Kopano ke matla I’ve done my part
What about you…?

The state of arts education in Africa

Article by Lineo Segoete.

Arts education in Lesotho is undernourished. Yet this does not mean there is no talent in the country, it is immense, but it is stunted by poor infrastructure to support meeting its full potential in spite of the government’s efforts to introduce it in schools under the creativity and entrepreneurship syllabus. More work remains to be done.
Art is an integral part of African heritage; it presents alternative tangible and intangible means of sustaining, conserving and continuing our cultures. Not only does art rejuvenate the mind body and soul, it also critiques the ugly and hails the beauty of the environments we live in. Why then is it not a priority in every country’s development goals?

The world is shifting into a state where cultural diversity is taking centre stage. A conversation about this shift cannot take place while excluding art in its various forms because every culture has its signatures, stories and character. Think about Zulu dances, Basotho grass-woven products, Burundi tribal masks and Maasai beadwork; each of them demonstrates the uniqueness and sophistication of its people. The African Union is aware of this reality and is making strides to lay the groundwork for a Pan-African approach toward a full-on integration of arts education into every school curriculum. To set up structures and infrastructure that support this new paradigm is obviously a mammoth task, yet not impossible.

Before we get into the practice of arts education we have to first deconstruct the colonial undertones that preside over art production on the continent. In order to make arts education in African countries a true representation of African cultures we must analyse the impact of colonialism on perception, thinking and memory. Cultural scholar Emma Wolukau-WanambwaI, re-evaluating the educational theories of Margaret Trowell, founder of the Makerere School of Art in the Uganda Protectorate, has written that “The imperative, in Trowell’s own words, to “keep the children’s work really African may partly have been borne of her love and respect for indigenous East African cultures, but it was also motivated by her desire to instill in her African students an idea of their culture as static, primitive, and naturally subordinate to a wholly distinct and superior European culture”. A successful roll-out of arts education on the continent must therefore be informed by dismantling and unlearning Eurocentric ideologies in the African-aesthetic realm.

Insufficient training is another burden blocking access to arts education for many African children. We have been led to believe that arts are good only as hobbies, interests or a fall-back plan. There is an unhealthy assumption that formal education in the arts either correlates with a lack in intellect or failure to meet entry requirements into “better” faculties such as Law, Science or Economics. As a result teacher-training institutions have a poor intake in the arts faculty which then forces some schools to hire artists as teachers. Artist-teachers may sound like a viable solution but it is not because all artists are not teachers (and vice versa), there are protocols to observe and a certain temperament required in dealing with learners. As a result students do not inherit the full value of an arts education. Governments, academic institutions and arts agencies are therefore tasked to revise the perceived standards of achievement by focusing on developing natural artistic talents among youth.

Nowadays a country’s development rests heavily on its creative industries; corporates look to creatives to drive their marketing campaigns, tourism is influenced by the creative output of a location, and creative people can now operate as entrepreneurs and may create job opportunities for others. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández from the University of Toronto defines the arts as “a set of practices and experiences framed by particular discursive regimes that cannot or should not be framed substantially, but rather processually and contextually”. The arts tell a people’s a story, they play an instrumental role in reclaiming identity and forging independence. The Professor continued that “if we understand education as a cultural process, then schooling should be, first and foremost, a place for engaged and continued cultural practice. Symbolic creativity—including perhaps those practices and processes that are sometimes associated with the concept of the arts—should be central to how we conceptualize teaching and learning for all students—not because it improves learning but because it is learning.”

Art is not about objects or demonstrations, it is about people. To succeed at making arts education standard in Lesotho and across schools in African countries we must pay great attention to culture in the context of its dynamic characteristics. New traditions and so-called sub-cultures emerge all the time while old customs are constantly altered. Consequently, we must be cognisant of these trends in relation to cultural production and how it translates through art. A successful roll-out of arts education relies on innovating old teaching approaches in terms of curriculum and assessment as well as applying new technologies and inventing fresh ways of thinking in order to stay current and relevant. One cannot teach art, the arts are something people do. Teaching is simply a matter and means of guiding the process.

The Future of Arts Education: Notes from Johannesburg

©Lineo Segoete (1 of 16)

The Future of Arts Education: Conference notes from Johannesburg
by Lineo Segoete

I had the honour of being invited by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg to attend the Creatives Make It Happen conference at University of Johannesburg between 8-10. Thereafter I attended the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Regional Conference on Arts Education from 11-13 March where I gave a presentation on the state of Arts Education in Lesotho as well as our work at Ba re e ne re.

To say it was a stimulating week is an understatement. I got to listen to some profound ideas and perspectives centered on creative production and preservation, which are some of my primary interests. Over and above all, I absorbed doses of enlightenment and gained insight into how creatives in other disciplines across South Africa and the rest of the continent approach their work. I reflected on how the value of art production and management run parallel with Lesotho’s development and are in alignment with what we’re offering Basotho through our vision for Ba re e ne re.

The world is entering into an era where cultural appreciation takes centre stage, becoming a priority on everyone’s agenda. Art has served a curatorial function of cultural evolution throughout history. It documents, critiques, expresses and praises all phases of humanity. Every place has its styles and techniques, yet what resonates everywhere is that there are stories being told.

Lesotho has her own stories to tell and it is time we extended the hospitality we have for our visitors to being generous guests ourselves. We must strip ourselves of our silence. There are remarkable things happening in our country to share with the world as well as infuriating issues to get off our chest and deliberate with others to find causes and pave solutions. And you know what, the more we embrace cultural diversity, the more we recognise our uniqueness and exceptional beauty. People of other cultures are curious about us. They are waiting for the mere opportunity to swarm around us and hear what we have to say.

At these conferences I interacted with people from all over the world; visual artists, musicians, writers, professors, students and many others, and they are all committed to collaboration and exchange for the sake of their creativity and how it relates to their communities and personal development. I learned that we should pursue knowledge like a stalker does his obsession. A true creative wholeheartedly observes the environment and its people. In order to grow, it is wise to make friends who support us and bring us closer to realising our dreams, and to remain humble in order to retain the integrity of the work we do so that it is for the greater good of our society.

Our props go to:

Pro Helvetia
Keleketla Library
VANSA
NAFUNA
Chipawo
Afripop magazine
Njelele
Maitisong
Assitej South Africa
Arts and Culture Trust South Africa
University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture
NEPAD
Professor David Andrew; Head of Fine Arts at Wits
Dr. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Associate Professor at University of Toronto
Professor Stephen Chifunyise
Patrick Mudekereza
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

©Lineo Segoete (6 of 8)