By Tim Whewell, BBC News | Rivalry between stars of a unique accordion-based style of music in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho has sparked years of deadly gang warfare that has turned the tiny country into the murder capital of the continent.

“Maybe I’ve survived because I’m a woman,” Puseletso Seema says quietly, her whisper a shadow of the powerful voice that once entranced thousands of fans in beer-halls and stadiums across southern Africa and beyond.

Acclaimed as the Queen of Famo, the popular national music of Lesotho, she sits on a scuffed sofa in her tiny, bare, cement-block home, with little to show for her years of success.

“Everyone wants to show off their manhood by owning a gun,” she says.

Famo has the gentlest of origins. It developed when traditional “wayfarers’ hymns” – a form of spontaneous oral poetry, or rap, composed by herders or travelers to while away long hours guarding cattle or journeying on foot through Lesotho’s mountains – began to be accompanied first on the concertina, and later the accordion.

But in 2004, after one Famo musician allegedly shot another, a cycle of revenge developed, fueled by poisonous lyrics in songs. And over the last two decades scores of Famo artists and hundreds of other people connected with the music – producers, fans, DJs, musicians’ family members – have been gunned down.

“They come to a house looking for you – and you are not there. And they kill the wife, they kill the children, eliminate everybody in the family. Villages and villages are orphanages, because of Famo music,” says one of its original promoters, Sebonomoea Ramainoane.

Read the rest of this utterly stupid and ridiculous story here:

[Sounds more like a “gang war” to me – only using accordions and music as excuses.]

[Thanks to Alex Teitz for contributing this article!]

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