Awards gala dimmed out

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MASERU — The eagerly awaited Lesotho Haeso Music Awards ceremony was once again deferred at the 11th hour because of electrical problems.

The event was pencilled in for Manthabiseng Convention Centre in the capital, but organisers said lighting and the air-conditioning system at the venue were not working.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment – which organises the awards – said it was seeking M3.6 million to fix the electrical problems in the auditorium.

The Ministry of Finance had not responded to the financial request by last week, forcing the organisers to postpone the event to a date yet to be decided.

“We cannot go ahead and hold the Lesotho Haeso Music Awards while lights and air-cons in the auditorium are not working,” Ministry of Tourism official Mpho Moeketsi said at a press conference last week.

“This can cause some inconveniences as this is a winter all-night event.”

Moeketsi said the event organisers had informed nominees, sponsors, performers and volunteers involved in the event about the postponement last Wednesday.

“Artists, performers, MCs, sponsors and all people involved were informed (last Wednesday),” she said.

Nominees who spoke to the Lesotho Times confirmed they had been informed of the postponement.

The Lesotho Haeso Music Awards ceremony was first postponed in December because “sponsors asked for the reschedule saying they were busy with year-end packages for their employees”.

The gala was postponed for the second time in March because of the lighting and air-conditioning problem at Manthabiseng Convention Centre, the “only venue” the ministry can use for its functions.

The centre is state-owned.

Holding the gala at other venues like hotels would be too expensive for the ministry, which has battled to come up with prizes for the award winners.

“It’s a complicated matter because the (tourism) ministry had applied for a special fund from the Ministry of Finance,” ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre manager Ntaote Ntaote told the Lesotho Times.

“The cost for installation of a new lighting system and air-conditioners is around M3.6 million.”

Ntaote said the existing lighting system was imported from China, but was not compatible with locally available components and spares.

“We are going to reinstal the entire lighting system because the old one is not compatible with our local equipment,” he said.

“This will be too expensive because the new lighting system will be installed by a South African company.”

Ntaote was however not sure when the Ministry of Finance would approve the the financial request.

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