Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village was the place to be last Saturday as the Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) erupted to thrills and spills from ecstatic revellers who descended on the historic venue.
The 11th edition of the annual festival was certainly bigger than its precursors, with the younger generation having an even more dominant presence, adding fire to an already scorching event renowned for its strong line-up of local and international artists.
On their part, the entire line-up of artists lived up to expectations with South African legendary jazz musician, Vusi Mahlasela proving a worthy replacement for Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi who could not come due to “unavoidable circumstances”. Songbird Bonolo, also from South Africa, mesmerised fans with her melodic voice and her traditional Sesotho dance, Mokhibo, endeared her even more to the audience.
The locals did not disappoint either, with Maseru West-born Maleh, dressed in Seshoeshoe and Seana Marena blanket, giving out one of the longest performances of the night. Her South African Music Awards-winning tracks such as Tselane, Step Child and Maseru, were particularly a hit with the fans.
Jazz musicians Tšepo Tšola and Bhudaza Mapefane also gave out a joint scintillating performance with Tšola mostly on the vocals while Mapefane added to the exciting feel through his saxophone. Tšola also performed with Bonolo and the audience simply loved the performance.
Rappers Riky Rick and Juvy added exciting hip-hop flavour to the show with solo performances that had the village shaking to its foundation. American singer Portia Monique was also there to add to a dazzling night, as her soothing voice and house beat was the ideal cherry to cool the burning night, in which her compatriot and jazz musician, Andy Narell, South African Zonke, Athari and the local JC Crew were also in top gear in their throbbing performances.
In an interview with the Weekender after his performance, Mahlasela said he felt happy to perform before such an appreciative crowd.
“This is my first time in Lesotho and I was blown away by the reception the fans gave me for they sang along to my songs, even the old ones that I did not know the young generation knew,” Mahlasela said.
“I would like to come to Lesotho as often as possible because today, I felt at home, and mostly because these people understand the South African languages I use in my songs.”
On the other hand, Bhudaza also told the Weekender that he had the best night ever.
“It is not the first time that we have had a joint performance with Ntate Tšepo but today felt as if we had never done it before. The people were so great that I want to jump back on stage once again,” he said.
LETOFE was the biggest party on the 2015 entertainment calendar alongside Summa Feva. The festival went down till the early hours of Sunday with revellers reluctantly leaving the venue as they could not get enough of the performances.
The police kept the traffic under control and no major incidents and accidents were reported.