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Lesotho’s GEM Institute and UNESCO Launch New Series, “Wish for My Daughter”

Lesotho’s GEM Institute and UNESCO Launch New Series, “Wish for My Daughter”

Lesotho GEM Institute

GEM Institute will reintroduce local cinemas across the north, south and central regions in Lesotho to distribute these films.

By Helena Olori

Despite the burgeoning filmmaking industry in Africa, Southern African country, Lesotho, is still miles behind in achieving a booming film industry, said Basotho filmmaker, Phillip Leteka, in an interview with Afrocritik earlier this year. But that’s changing for the better as the Gender Entrepreneurship Empowerment Media (GEM) Institute, has launched a new film series titled, Wish for My Daughter.

The project, comprising 10 films, was launched in partnership with the country’s National Commission for UNESCO. It has garnered substantial financial support from international partners such as the European Union, Motion Pictures, and Kanye Bulletin, to be produced by local partners in Basotho and Batswana. 

This initiative is one of many geared towards harnessing the creative industry in Lesotho, to create employment opportunities for the youths.

(Read also: Four African Films to Screen at #TIFF23 Centrepiece Programme)

Speaking at the stakeholders meet up at the UNESCO office, Mpho Letima, the founder and managing director at GEM Institute, said the goal is to test the commercial viability of these locally produced films in the domestic and international markets. 

Production for the pilot film, Li eme ka Lekoa is already underway

Mpho Letima Lesotho GEM Institute
Mpho Letima. Founder, GEM Institute.

“Our first film shall focus more on heritage and culture, and customary and civil laws impact on the inheritance of a girl child in Lesotho, ” said Letima. She also noted, “Foreign countries have made millions from documenting African cultures, and it was about time we started documenting our heritage and culture for sale because we have realised that it has value.”

(Read also: Beyond Fela, a Docu-Series Project by Nigerian Filmmakers, Wins Sheffield DocFest Award)

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Li eme ka Leko, which translates as “the going has become tough”  in Sesotho, tells the story of a young girl from a royal family who is aspiring to ascend the throne after her father’s passing, especially as the only male heir is still too young to rule.

Behind the scene of Li eme ka Leko
Behind the Scene, Li eme ka Leko
Behind the scene of Li eme ka Leko
Behind the Scene of Li eme ka Leko

Behind the scene of Li eme ka Leko

Her aspirations are met with fierce opposition by her relatives who are bent on upholding their age-long cultural traditions, and this leads to a court case. The film boasts over 70 cast members and is scheduled to debut in cinemas this December.

Currently, Lesotho has no cinemas, as Leteka revealed. Letima hopes to reintroduce local cinemas across the country’s north, south and central regions in Lesotho to effectively distribute these films.

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