People & Power

The Accordion Wars: Famo music and gang violence in Lesotho

How musical rivalry in Lesotho gave birth to gang violence.

Fierce rivalry between followers of a unique, accordion-based, musical tradition known as Famo has fuelled years of deadly gang warfare in the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho.

Financed by organised crime and gold salvaged from the area’s disused – but still productive – apartheid-era mines, the murderous feuds have now spilled over into neighbouring South Africa.

So why is this blend of traditional songs with Western instruments causing such violent animosity and what can be done to bring it under control?

For People & Power, filmmakers Naashon Zalk, Hamilton Wende and Tankiso Makhetha went to find out.