Lesotho

Lesotho

Overview

 Often called “The Kingdom in the Sky,” or, “The Roof of Africa,” Lesotho is a landlocked country completely encased by South Africa. This mountainous kingdom is comprised primarily of highland plateaus, causing many villages to be isolated–reachable only by light aircraft, horseback, or on foot. The Kingdom of Lesotho has a population of 2.2 million people.

Arts and Humanities

 The people of Lesotho speak primarily Sesotho and English.  The Sesotho language has an extensive written body of literature as it was one of the earliest African languages to emerge in written form.  Thus, music, dance and literature are often combined in traditional Sotho performances.  These cultural productions often weave the retelling of ancient folktales with chanting, singing, clapping and high-kicking dances. Stringed instruments, whistles, rattles and drums are just some of the instruments that grace traditional Sotho performances.  

Environmental Conditions

 Lesotho is a developing country. Thus, the survival of its people is heavily reliant on its natural resources. The highlands that comprise most of Lesotho are environmentally harsh. As such, the lowlands of this alpine country have very limited agricultural space.  Lesotho is heavily dependent on South Africa.  The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (“LHWP”) was fully initiated in the 1990s.  The primary purpose of LHWP is to transfer water to South Africa.  Although proceeds from this project account for 75% of Lesotho’s budget, as a result of recent droughts, the country has seen its crops wither as its water is transported to South Africa.  Due to uncontrolled grazing and rushing surface water, much of Lesotho has been stripped of its natural grass cover. Desertification, soil erosion and soil exhaustion are major problems in Lesotho.  Additionally, unlike in South Africa, the game and wildlife indigenous to Lesotho is sparse.

Leadership

 Lesotho’s head of state is King Letsie III, but the monarch has no executive or legislative powers.  The prime minister of Lesotho is Pakalitha Mosisili I.  Mr. Mosisili’s Democratic Congress formed Lesotho’s second consecutive coalition government.

Media Profile

 Lesotho’s most popular entertainment medium is radio. Residents of Lesotho can receive domestic stations as well as TV and radio broadcasts from South Africa.  Radio Lesotho is the kingdom’s only national station.  However, commercial and private radio broadcasts are on air as well.  Media freedom is generally respected in Lesotho and private press is allowed to voice opposition views.  Of the 2.2 million residents of Lesotho, there were less than 84,000 internet users by December of 2011.

Our Lesotho Portfolio

OUR MISSION

To build a global network of musicians and youth volunteers to deliver environmental education through the catalytic power of music.

OUR VISION

A global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

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Botswana

Botswana

Overview

 With a population of two million people, the Republic of Botswana is positioned in the center of Southern Africa.  It is situated in a sand-filled basin consisting of plains and gently sloping hills that rise into the highlands of its neighboring countries.  Botswana is lush with animal life and is home to more than 800 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.  Before its independence from British control in 1966, Botswana was one of the most undeveloped, poverty-stricken states in the world.  However, since gaining independence, the peace and prosperity of this republic has greatly increased.  Botswana is now internationally renowned as one of the most peaceful, stable democratic states in Africa.

Arts and Humanities

Currently, Tswana is Botswana’s dominant ethnic identity.  Although English is the official language of Botswana, Setswana is widely spoken in the republic.  The culture of Botswana is a mixture of Tswana and English heritage.  Traditional music in Botswana is largely based around stringed instruments.  Though interest in traditional music and dance declined in popularity during Botswana’s colonial period, it revived after the republic gained independence. This can especially be seen in music on the radio.   

Environmental Conditions

 Botswana’s climate is marked by months of dry weather.  The rainy season is limited to sporadic downpours in December through March. Botswana suffers from cyclic droughts which occur every two decades and frequently last up to six years. As such, very little soil is suitable for cultivation, harvests are often destroyed and livestock frequently die of starvation. Due to drought, the population of Botswana is entirely dependent on groundwater.  Although the use of groundwater eases the effects of drought, it has greatly harmed Botswana’s land. Drilling in order to retrieve groundwater is commonplace. Such drilling leads to harmful erosion and desertification.  Out of all Southern Africa, Botswana is one of the countries most severely affected by desertification in the Kalahari Region.  

Leadership

 Botswana’s government is a multi-party democracy. The republic has very little corruption and has a good record of defending human rights. Botswana’s current president is Sereetsi Khama Ian Khama.

Media Profile

 Radio is an important medium in Botswana as the circulation of media is limited outside the urban sectors of the country. Botswana has a tradition of unimpeded, public debate via radio.  In fact, the republic’s constitution provides for the freedom of expression–a freedom that is generally respected by the government.  Satellite pay TV is available in the republic along with the state-run Botswana Television (BTV). By 2011, there were about 167,000 internet users in Botswana.

Our Botswana Portfolio

OUR MISSION

To build a global network of musicians and youth volunteers to deliver environmental education through the catalytic power of music.

OUR VISION

A global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

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Zambia

Overview

 The butterfly-shaped country of Zambia is perched on a high plateau in south-central Africa. This country is named after the Zambezi River, which winds through most of the land.  Zambia is dissected by swamps, river-valleys and lakes and is etched by the ancient crystalline rocks and that grace its plateaus.   

Arts and Humanities

 The major languages in Zambia are English (the official language), Bemba, Lozi, Nyanja and Tonga. The arts are a major part of Zambian culture as music, dancing and singing are often connected with security, health and prosperity.  Music is used in tribal rituals, celebrations and for entertainment. The most widely used musical instrument in Zambia is the drum.  Other popular instruments include, horns, bows, pipes, flutes, bells, rattles, xylophones and the kalimba, also known as the mbira, thumb piano, or African piano. 

Environmental Conditions

 The temperature of Zambia is generally favorable for human settlement and agriculture.  Two-fifths of Zambia is environmentally protected and the country is known for its large variety of mammals.  However, wildlife has been depleted in recent times due to human activities outside the parks and poaching within. For example, the Illegal poaching of horns and tusks has virtually eliminated rhinoceros from Zambia and has greatly reduced the number of elephants. As one of Africa’s most industrialized countries, Zambia suffers from air pollution and acid rain. Additionally, inadequate water-treatment facilities pose great health risks to citizens of this country, which has one of the fastest growing populations in the world.  Zambia currently has a population of 13 million, two-thirds of which live in poverty.

Leadership

 Unlike most of its neighbours, Zambia has remained relatively free of war and upheaval and has a reputation for political stability. In January of 2015, Edgar Lungu became the sixth president of Zambia and gained a new term in August of 2016. President Lungu’s greatest challenge has been Zambia’s poverty and a slowing economy.

Media Profile

 Radio is Zambia’s main source of information. State-run radio and television dominate the media sector in Zambia in terms of availability. However, private television and radio stations have grown in number and popularity in recent years.  In fact, according to BBC, there are currently “scores of local radio stations” in Zambia. By 2014, Zambia had 2.3 million internet users.

Our Zambia Portfolio

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHh-HEvBU-m3-KL3wELCe9fDv1sSQph7D

OUR MISSION

To build a global network of musicians and youth volunteers to deliver environmental education through the catalytic power of music.

OUR VISION

A global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

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Angola

Angola

Overview

 Angola is a large, southwestern land with a population of 24.3 million people.  This vast country is home to a wide variety of landscapes–boasting semi-desert shores,  rugged southern highlands, bustling northern cities and a thinly populated rainforest interior.   Although Angola is one of the major producers of oil in Africa, it still bears the scars of a 27-year civil war that devastated the country after its independence.  

Arts and Humanities

The official language of Angola is Portuguese, but many Angolans speak Bantu languages along with Umbundu, Kimbundu and Kikongo.  Angolan culture is a mixture of Portuguese and African traditions and music has a central role in Angolan life. The drum is often highlighted in Angolan music. Other noteworthy instruments are the mpungu, a trumpet, and the hungu and mbulumbumba, types of gourd resonated with a musical bow.  Sadly, the civil unrest and resulting poverty that has ravaged Angola has provided little opportunities for musical professionals. In fact, the Ministry of Culture has had tight-fisted control over Angola’s production of commercial music since the country’s independence. However, despite these barriers, the informal sectors of musical expression have blossomed and flourished in Angola. Contemporary Angolan music weaves traditional African sounds with influences from Brazil, Cuba, the Caribbean and the United States.

Environmental Conditions

Angola is home to many species of fauna customarily found in Africa’s savanna lands, such as lions, elephants, and zebras, along with a rich variety of birds and reptiles. Until the late 1800s, portions of northern Angola were blanketed by a lush rainforest.  However, much of this rainforest has been drastically diminished by logging, agriculture and subsequent desertification. The country’s climate has a considerable dry season and its land is frequently afflicted by droughts, particularly in the south. As such, Two-thirds of Angola is now covered by savanna (scattered trees and grasslands) and deep deposits of infertile sands. Its biodiversity has been gravely threatened. Additionally, because of Angola’s inadequate infrastructure and swelling population, food and potable water are  scarce, particularly in rural areas.


Leadership

Angola has suffered a long history of political unrest.  After Portuguese colonial masters withdrew from Angola in 1975, rival independence movements fought for power up until 2002.  Decades-long separatist conflicts still simmer in Angola.  Abuses against civilians have been alleged by human rights groups. Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been in power in Angola since 1979. President dos Santos has a strict control over all aspects of political life in Angola.

Media Profile

The internet has become the primary medium for expression in Angola and in 2014, there were 4.3 million internet users. However, In 2015, President dos Santos called for stricter regulation of social media to crack down on political activism and dissent. Radio is now the most influential form of media outside the capital of Angola, but, the state controls all media nationwide. The state-run Radio Nacional de Angola (“RNA”) is the only radio station that offers programs in indigenous languages. Although RNA is the only broadcaster that has almost national coverage, private stations operate in cities and the Angolan constitution provides for the freedom of expression.

Our Angola Portfolio

Coming soon… “Natureza” by Banda Progresso, brought to you by the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project.

OUR MISSION

To build a global network of musicians and youth volunteers to deliver environmental education through the catalytic power of music.

OUR VISION

A global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

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Swaziland

Swaziland

Overview

 The Kingdom of eSwatini is home to 1.2 million people and has the highest HIV rate in the world. It is a landlocked kingdom in the eastern part of Southern Africa.  eSwatini is adorned by rugged mountains, river valleys, rolling uplands, high plateaus and African savannah.

Arts and Humanities

Most of the inhabitants of eSwatini reside in the countryside, lead traditional lifestyles and speak English and/or Swati. Most Swati ceremonies incorporate dancing, music and song. Most traditional instruments are simple in design. Popular instruments include the kudu horn, reed flute, rattles made of seedpods and attached to wrists and ankles and a calabash attached to a bow.

Environmental Conditions

eSwatini’s climate is mostly subtropical. Savannah, grassland and forests comprise the natural vegetation of this kingdom. eSwatini is abounding in flora and is home to over 2,600 species of flowering plants. However, the natural fauna of eSwatini has been severely diminished due to a growing human population and resulting habitat destruction. As such, mammals such as elephants, hippopotamus, antelope, rhinoceros, giraffe and zebra can only be found primarily in protected reserves.    


Leadership

Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. King Mswati, III became king in 1986.  King Mswati is known as “the lion” and often appears in traditional dress when in public. The King has often been criticised for using public funding for personal palaces and cars, especially as Swaziland’s economy falters.

Media Profile

The state has a tight-fisted control over the media and the broadcasting scene is dominated by government-run outlets. Freedom of expression is severely restricted. Journalists are frequently attacked and threatened by authorities. Although the government does not restrict internet access, few Swatis can afford to go online. In December 2011, there were only a little more than 95,000 internet users. However, South African media is accessible in eSwatini.

Our eSwatini Portfolio

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHh-HEvBU-m1p9WYCBUboDaaEeMSW-Lhs

OUR MISSION

To build a global network of musicians and youth volunteers to deliver environmental education through the catalytic power of music.

OUR VISION

A global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

FOLLOW US

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