Photos by Meri Hyoky Photography.
“We are building the next generation of creators and innovators . . .”
Each month we highlight a community program that aligns with the values of SoulVision Magazine. We believe engaging with one’s community is critical to fostering positive change in the world.
For our November issue, we highlight the Morija Arts Centre and its arts education program. The Morija Arts Centre is located in Morija, Lesotho—a small, mountainous country located inside South Africa. According to Anna Cai, the marketer and manager of the arts education program, the Centre’s mission is to “strengthen an appreciation for the arts in Lesotho and find new ways for artists in the country to meet each other, share their art and celebrate creativity.”
As part of their program, Anna Cai co-founded the concert series with local musician Nthabiseng Mohanela, “Tiny Gallery Concerts Lesotho (TGCL).” The concert series highlights popular up-and-coming local musicians, poets, and those in the performing arts. “Many of the artists we have hosted have a desire to innovate traditional Basotho musical heritages,” Anna says. “We partner with local food and drink vendors and The Hub Productions, an organization that trains youth in the country on media coverage and production.”
A card weaving workshop at the Morija Arts Centre.
Future plans for the organization include an exchange program between participating artists in TGCL and artists from countries in southern Africa like Swaziland, Botswana, and South Africa. “It’s important to us that through these events, artists are given the opportunity to grow and sustain,” she says.
The Centre will open a textile studio very soon. Morija Arts Centre’s in-house textile artist, Teyana Neufeld, has been researching and working with weaving cooperatives since 2016. Teyana is using a grant to create looms, devices used to weave cloth and tapestry. She will then have the resources to teach young adults about natural dyes, spinning wool, and how to weave on the looms.
Morija’s arts education program also helps teachers in Morija with fulfilling the national arts curriculum. “Lesotho has a long and complicated relationship with development and education,” Anna says. Anna believes art (visual, theater, music, etc.) can help young people build confidence, promote individuality, and develop leadership skills. “I work with a number of passionate and skilled local artists dedicated to building the next generation of creators and innovators here in Lesotho.”
The poet-musician duet Women of the Well at Tiny Gallery Concert Lesotho.
The arts education program also has an after-school program for students in Morija. Students can learn about visual art, dance, theatre, and music. “We are so proud of the art scene that exists in Lesotho and are dedicated to seeing its transformation into the future,” Anna says. The Morija Arts Centre will continue to nurture and provide a space for emerging artists to express themselves.
To find out how you can give your support to the Morija Arts Centre, you can visit their website morijaartscentrelesotho.wordpress.com or donate by visiting morijaartscentrelesotho.wordpress.com/get-involved/donate/. To keep updated with the Centre, you can follow them on Facebook @morijaartscentre.