Long live the King!

Long live the King!

Rose Moremoholo

QACHA’S NEK

AT the ripe age of 65, Thusang Mokaroaleng had never met his king in the flesh.

The only image he had about King Letsie III was from the old calendar photograph pinned on his bedroom wall.

Even when he went to Maseru he could not go to the Royal Palace to see his King because of the tight security.

And so when he heard the king would be in town for his 53rd birthday celebrations last Sunday, Mokaroaleng was elated.

He defied the early cold and woke up early and walked for about 10km from his village of Ha-Noosi to the venue in town.

Luckily, Qacha’s Nek was not as cold as it is famous for. Temperatures in Qacha’s Nek can sometimes dip below freezing point.

Mokaroaleng says he was so happy when he finally saw the king at close quarters.

He says he was so happy that he wanted to dance in front of the King but was not afforded the chance.

“I am happy, I don’t even know how to express my happiness because if I was given the chance I would dance before him and recite praise poems,” Mokaroaleng says.

“We only see him on calendars and hear his voice sometimes on radio but today we had the privilege to see him face-to-face together with his son who will be the King to our grandchildren and possibly our children too,” he says.

’Mantao Lebamang, 24, lives in Ha-Sekake, a village that lies some 45 minutes’ drive south-west of Qacha’s Nek town.

She says she had to sleep over at her sister’s place close to the venue so as to be able to get a closer seat to the King.

“I didn’t want anything to stop me from being at the grounds on time. I had never met the King before and I wanted to be in the front to have a closer look at him,” Lebamang says.

She says getting reliable transport is a problem in her village.

“This is why I had to sleep over at my sister’s place prior to the event,” Lebamang says.

The chief of the nearby town of Matatiele in South Africa also sent his people to the celebration as a sign of respect and appreciation of the Basotho monarchy.

Most people in Matatiele are Basotho with a small fraction being Xhosas and Zulus.

Young girls from Matatiele broke into song singing Basotho’s lipina tsa mokopu (traditional Sesotho songs) in the Xhosa language as a sign of their appreciation of their diverse cultures.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who is also from Qacha’s Nek, expressed delight that the district was chosen for this year’s King’s birthday celebration.

IMG_5035 “We wish you many more years and your family, your nation, and your government. May the Lord bless you with many more years,” Mosisili said.

As part of the celebration, the Lesotho Defence Force Brass Band held a concert together with the Ram Brothers, Sawa Dance Group, Sekonyela Khesuoe and many others before the event in a bid to raise money for an orphanage.

They raised M30 800.

Again after the event the same groups and the LDF held another concert in which they raised M31 000.

“This is part of other concerts we usually have to raise funds that will help the vulnerable and those in poverty,” the LDF spokesman, Colonel Ntlele Ntoi, said.

Ntoi said they have been hosting such events over the past five years.

IMG_4967He said the predecessor of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli used to ask every LDF member to donate money from their own pockets to raise funds for the needy.

Ntoi said the army later changed the fund-raising strategy by holding concerts.

“The commander asked that we resort to other ways of raising funds. That is when we realised that Basotho love brass brands and the kind of music the LDF offers and the band was reintroduced,” Ntoi said.

“We need people to know that we are not just soldiers who protect them with guns and armory but we also look out for their welfare, their health and social needs,” he said.

Last year the army raised M120 000 and at least 50 people from ten families benefited from the donations.

 

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