Morija facelift eyes tourism

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museumBy Mohalenyane Phakela

MORIJA — In an attempt to uplift the tourism industry in Lesotho, Morija Museum and Archives (MMA) will improve and expand its infrastructure so as to make Morija a vibrant hub for the arts, culture and heritage.

According to vision 2020, tourism should become the major generator of income and opportunities in Lesotho.

For this aspiration to be realised, a lot more will need to be invested in arts, heritage, culture and entertainment to make Lesotho a more dynamic and interesting destination with the youth being in the forefront of the developments.

MMA is making a significant impact in outreach programmes, research, and publishing.

The project Seriti sa Morija seeks to revamp the overall contribution of Morija’s living heritage, arts ,skills development and tourism in Lesotho, the museum’s curator Stephen Gill told the Weekender on Monday.

“The Seriti sa Morija Project focuses on upgrading and expanding the facilities of the museum and its institution, the Morija Arts Centre. Also included is the development of a media centre and improvement of the Heritage Park and the amphitheatre to create a larger cultural precinct stretching from the arts centre to the museum. It is estimated to cost M13.6 million.

“Together these can play an even larger role in fostering creativity and a variety of modern products and activities that will enhance Morija as a vibrant cultural hub. Other components of the project seek to expand and add value to the growing network of heritage and tourism sites associated with Morija.”

As a site of national importance, Morija was established in 1833 by French Protestant missionaries in partnership with Morena Moshoeshoe I, the founder of Basotho nation.

Over the following decades it has become a key centre for education, leadership development and nation building, bestowing upon it the title “The Well-spring of Learning” (Selibeng sa thuto).

“Many people now understand more clearly that there is no future without culture. Friends of Morija Museum have developed a range of activities in conjunction with the museum staff.

These promote greater understanding and appreciation of art, culture, literature and history, as well as assisting in raising funds to support the programmes and projects of Morija Museum.

“Greater strides have been made by MMA in programme development over the past two decades. Significant growth has occurred in the number of heritage and tourism stakeholders in the Morija-Matsieng area, such that new possibilities are now emerging,” Gill said.

The main components of the project are anticipated to take three to four years to complete, making the facilities fully functional by 2017.

The core components of the project include expansion of exhibition space and modernising display designs to make them more interactive and dynamic.

Enhancing storage facilities and improving space for sales as well as developing the museum’s website are also part of the expansion project.

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