Tributes for veteran broadcaster

Tributes for veteran broadcaster

MASERU – A veteran of the airwaves and an authority on reporting on Parliament, the late Lereko Phatela was a respected presenter.
Fans will not hear the voice that had become part of their menu for 37 years anymore. Phatela died two weeks ago at his home in Ha-Thetsane. He was 58. Popularly known for a music programme called “Re Khaola Maseka” which featured African music of the 1950s and 1960s, Phatela was affectionately known simply as LP.

“Indeed a legend has fallen,” said his friend Seopi Makara.
Phatela was also a permanent reporter of parliament.
He worked there in the 1980s where he was in the news department and was a news reader.
He attended school at Tebellong Primary, Makhaola Secondary, Thabeng High school and furthered his studies at the Tanzania School of Journalism.
Makara said he used to listen to Phatela back in 1981.

That was before he met Phatela in person. “I loved him because he was unique,” said Makara.
Makara said later in 1984 he joined Phatela in the news department before leaving for Parliament’s news department.
Phatela stayed on at the station until his death.

“Working with him was the best thing I have ever experienced,” Makara said.
He described Phatela as a great man with “a good character who always cracked jokes”.
“I will always remember him,” said Makara Former MP Sello Maphalla said he had known Phatela long before they met in person.
He said he loved Phatela’s music programme and always tuned in.

Maphalla was to meet Phatela in person when he first arrived at parliament.
He said Phatela, Seopi Makara and Raneo Khojane sat right behind his chair in parliament and when they realised that he was not familiar with parliamentary operations they helped him.

“Even when I did not understand they were patient with me,” Maphalla said.
He said he loved the way Phatela approached news. “If he found something sensitive he would not report it,” he said, “Phatela would bury that news for the good (of the country).” “He loved a peaceful country at all costs. It is because he cared and had mercy for other people and did not want to add fuel to the fire,” Maphalla said.

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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