JOHANNESBURG – South African Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa says the SABC has informed him that from Thursday it will rebroadcast Mpolelle – a Basotho theatre production that was narrated by the late Lesotho icon Tsepo Tshola.
Mpolelle was written and directed by award winning producer-director Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha who personally cast Tshola.
In his tribute to Tshola, first published by Lesotho Express last week, Mofokeng wa Makhetha said he heard the voice of the Village Pope in his head when he conceptualised the production, and no one else would do justice to Basotho folk tales – Litšomo – the way that Tshola would.
This is how Mofokeng wa Makhetha describes Mpolelle:
“Mpolelle simply means ‘Tell Me About It’. It is Basotho serving ‘Masutsa’, a buffet of their aural delicacies through The Village Pope’s music and Narration, Tinah’s acting and Narration, Ntelekoa’s poetic narration, the melodic voices of Bloemfontein Serenade, the classic traditional moves of 3-generations of Basotho men, and the youthful strutting of young virgins from the mountains of Qwaqwa.”
Mofokeng wa Makhetha spent 6 years of his childhood years in Butha Buthe – Lesotho. He says he grew up listening to Basotho folklore.
“I was intrigued by the wordsmith and poetic excellence of Mothofeela Makhetha on Lesedi FM.” says Mofokeng
In 2013 he was inspired to produce a theatrical production based on these folktales.
That’s when he approached Tshepo Tshola to provide a musical tapestry around the telling of the tales. He later asked Tsepo to narrate one of the stories. Despite his fears and resistance he gave a powerful rendition of the tale.
“Ntate Tshola was supported on stage by his band, Tinah Mnumzana, the late Pious Ntelekoa, Bloemfontein Serenade Choir, Lihoba tsa Phororong – Lesotho and Dikokonono from Qwaqwa.” Says the arts guru.
Mpolelle was first staged and filmed at PACOFS in Bloemfotein, but eventually made it to stages of events including the National Arts Festival held in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown).
SABC is expected to the time and channel for the re-broadcast but as a Sesotho language production it will likely be broadcast on SABC 2.
Meanwhile The Village Pope will also be honoured with a memorial service to be held at the Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Channel publicity specialist Caroline Phalakatshela is yet to confirm to Lesotho Express the channel and time for the re-broadcast.
He will be buried with an official funeral at Lesotho Heroes Acre in Thaba Bosiu on 30 July.