Monday, July 11, 2011

Blanket Cultural Festival 2011


This past Sunday, Kathy and I attended the Aranda Blanket Cultural Festival here in Maseru. This is an annual event sponsored by the company, Aranda, that produces most of the Basotho blankets worn here in Lesotho. These blankets, along with the Basotho hat evident on the nation's flag, constitute symbolic clothing that is part of Basotho ethnic and national identity (the two are almost inseparable).

The festival featured traditional food, live music and local artisans selling their wares. The famo music we heard was fantastic, and it featured a female lead vocalist. While famo began as a female-dominated music form, it is now performed more by men than women, so this was a treat for us.

Along with the artwork, there were traditional blankets on sale. While I had given one to Kathy for her birthday last year, I still did not have one. So Kathy got one for me! They are generally worn a certain way, so I needed help donning mine for the first time. Our primary daytime guard, Ntate Emcily (emm-seely), came to my rescue:

At the top is a shot with me standing in the sunlight, so that the colors come through more clearly. However, I was also staring into that sunlight, so I apologize for the squint and grimace!

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