Local artists and Djs have expressed their excitement over the resumption of the entertainment industry following the prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday that the country moves to Alert Level Blue Lockdown per the country’s colour coding system that serves as a guide provided by National Covid-19 secretariat (NACOSEC) on behalf of the government in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government had in January re-introduced a hard Alert Level Red Lockdown, or complete shutdown restricting all movement and economic activity to only that which is vital and classified essential albeit with operational limitations in move to curb the rising scourge of the pandemic.
As the scourge reduced and more people recovered with lesser numbers in new cases recorded, the country was moved to levels purple and orange which are less restrictive hence other industries’ controls were eased while sports and entertainment activities remained closed as they are considered potentially super-spreaders of the virus because of their ability to converge large scores of people.
Prior to the relaxation of the restrictions as espoused by the Premier’s Sunday statement, the Djs with the support of musicians, had expressed their dissatisfaction at the government’s sidelining of the entertainemnet industry.
They said it was sad that while last time when the country had been moved to Alert Level Orange Lockdown and entertainment activities were allowed amidst some limitations, this year they were sidelined regardless, hence they had been asking to be cut some slack.
However, to their dismay, government had instead given them packs of beans and maize meal under the guise of a food-packages scheme
In an interview with Newsday Arts this week, Bafokeng Ramoseeli popularly known as Dj Bootz, and one of the Djs who were in the forefront in fighting for the industry to be opened said he is happy that finally their request was granted.
“We appreciate that finally the authorities have come around and granted us the opportunity to continue as we had requested,” Dj Bootz said.
He said there was a need for the industry to open not only because people were dying of hunger but that the whole country had to sooner start learning to live with the pandemic.
“This has been long overdue and I hope they realised that it was good and all to have lockdowns but if this thing is here to stay we must learn to live with it.
“The regulations still are questionable but it’s better than nothing, I say questionable because for some people it looks like we are being tested or given a rope to hang ourselves with. However, I beg to differ and say this is just the beginning as we learn to live with this virus,” he said.
The new regulations under Alert Level Blue Lockdown permit the entertainment industry to operate with 120 people inside an indoor venue and 500 for an outside venue in a privately owned place.
It also says strict adherence to screening and registration of attendees at entrance be mandatory. Alcohol is not allowed and event organizers are liable to arrest and conviction if there is non-compliance.
Meanwhile, for his part, popular Famo musician Mantša Mohale who is the advisory member of the Lesotho Music Rights Association (LeMRA) said they are happy with the recent announcement saying this will enable them to get back to making a living and meeting their necessities.
“We are happy but the government should consider increasing the capacity of people who are permitted per event because with the number given now we are going to make very little money,” he said.
He stated that the industry should be enhanced as it improves the economy of countries.