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’Mamathe park project gathers momentum



ROMA – A FEW weeks ago, the residents of Ha-’Mamathe in the Berea District woke up to a carefully planned siege.
Their place had been invaded in the early hours of the morning by National University of Lesotho (NUL) Economics students, the Foot Soldiers of the Roma Valley (FSRVs).
The disciplined troops demanded to know a thing or two about a mega-tourist project planned in the area, dubbed ’Mamathe Wonderland.

“We wanted to know the villagers’ thoughts and feelings about the proposed biopark,” says Refiloe Mona, NUL Economics student who along with ’Malehloa Majoro, ’Moelo Ntšekhe and Renang Mokeki led the rest of the foot soldiers.  The expedition was funded by the NUL and Lesotho Funeral Services (LFS), and the offensive was part of a feasibility study being done to determine the potential of the incredibly beautiful place as an exceptional tourist destination in Lesotho.
NUL has been called to assist.

If we walk down the memory lane and stop right on the 14th day of July 2016 on this page, we are greeted with this statement:
,.“’Mamathe Wonderland will first emerge as a nature park. Then it will metamorphose into something of a mini-Disneyland. Then the organic city will materialise around and beyond it.”
You can be sure of this one thing. Nothing good happening in this country will escape the attention of the NUL.
That is why whereas the project was long conceived by ’Mamathe and Khalahali residents, it has now been joined by the school in the Roma Valley and “we wanted to find out the residents’ expectations of the park,” ‘Malehloa Majoro says.

“Ha-’Mamathe and Khalahali residents own trees and agricultural fields in the area, so the sooner we engage them, the greater the likelihood that they will support this project fully,” she says.
But, you may ask, why is there so much noise about this project? Is it not just one of the tourist projects we are well too familiar with?
Nope! This is different! That the NUL is already part of it is enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most unsuspecting of souls.
NUL likes good things. Here is why this is as good as it can be: You see, an average tourist place in Lesotho is about seeing!
Yes it is!

You go, you see, and you leave, never to come back again—because you saw what you wanted to see.
’Mamathe Wonderland is on a different lane.  It’s about activity!
What activity? Let’s take the 14th day of July 2016 memory lane, again, “In this park, you will stop over and hike and camp and parachute and celebrate and balloon ride and eat and drink and dance as if there is no tomorrow.”

“Then, as the park expands, there will be zoos and aquariums and gardens and play parks, and theme parks, to school and to educate, whilst entertaining.”
The park targets the local just as the international tourists. It will be a place for playing—by the young and the old alike.
Do you recall the last time you went playing by the way?

It is true that the project is the brainchild of the ’Mamathe residents themselves.
But “if you really want the same residents to support the project, you need to respect them by first learning about their perceptions of it,” ’Moelo Nt’seke says.
“That is the only way you can make them feel part of it—a major ingredient for its success.”
So what are the perceptions of the FSRVs so far?  The analyses of the results of the study have not yet been completed, “however, we can surely tell you that the people of Ha-’Mamathe just like it,” Renang Mokeki says.  “Some people even suggested that they would be happy to work in the project without pay (they will be paid, of course),” says Majoro as she revealed the enthusiasm she witnessed among the villagers.

But the villagers had a clear warning as well.  You see, this is the 21st century and our communities can no longer be taken for granted.
Listen to this, “they said they hoped the project better be a real deal because they were tired of being promised this and that,” Mona says.
Well, the FSRVs are working hard to ensure this project doesn’t fail. You bet!  But, lo and behold! The FSRVs themselves could not escape the magic of the place.
Of course they went there to interview the residents, but they ended up being lost in the charm of the moment, as they explored the place that would soon be called ’Mamathe Wonderland.
From the horse’s mouth:

“The most stunning place I have ever seen,” Ntšekhe uttered. “The cave is magnificent, so is the history behind it,” a bewildered Mokeki adds.
“I was taken aback by the abundance of indigenous medicinal plants in the area,” says Majoro.  That is, even as Mona elegantly summarised, “The place offers the epitome of community based tourism.”  If you were them, you, surely, wouldn’t have said it any better!

Own Correspondent

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Why invest for the future



AN investment plan forms a critical pillar of a financial plan, says Tokiso Nthebe, a local author and financial services adviser.

Nthebe, the founder of TKO Financial Wellness and Advisory, says when people invest, they can use their money to buy assets that will increase in value over the long term.
He says these assets can help them build wealth.

“When you invest, your money starts to work for you by providing returns that will beat inflation,’’ Nthebe says.

Nthebe says there is a huge difference between saving and investing.

He says investing requires that you take some level of risk in exchange for an expected return or growth.

Nthebe says Basotho should consider many factors before they decide to start investing.

“It is important to have a clear strategy that guides your investment decisions and to work with qualified professionals,” he says.

Nthebe says one should consider their growth mind-set, investment goals, and their risk tolerance.

In addition, one should consider what kind of growth or return they expect.

He says one should find out whether the institution they invest in is licensed or regulated and how long one should invest.

Nthebe says one should further consider what risks are associated with the investment option and whether there are any associated costs.

He says it is also important to remember that investments take time.

“There are no short cuts to building wealth. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes,” he says.

Moreover, Nthebe says the investment landscape comprises commercial banks, asset management companies, and insurance companies.

He says each provides different financial products and services.

Nthebe says the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) also offers investment solutions such as treasury bills and treasury bonds that Basotho can consider.

Depending on your investment goals, he says financial service providers have a wide range of investment solutions to choose from that cater for short, medium, and long-term goals.

“I encourage Basotho to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making financial decisions,” he says.

Vince Shorb, the United States National Financial Educators Council CEO, writes that “many of the financial problems people face today started when they were young and making their first financial decisions”.

Shorb further says taking on too much debt, not investing early, and failing to plan can take one decades to recover from such.

However, it takes financial literacy to make good decisions, he says.

Financial literacy has been perceived as a tool that gives you the opportunity to be confident and empowered to live the quality of life you have worked hard for.

Shorb says one of the wisest decisions one can make to prepare for the future is to invest.

Investment has been defined as the commitment of funds with a view to minimising risk and safeguarding capital while earning a return.

Refiloe Mpobole

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When Covid-19 hit and the government shut down all gatherings in April 2020, there seemed no way out for ICONICS (Pty) Ltd, a budding events management company based in Leribe district.

They had two options: shut down or innovate to keep the business going.
They chose the latter.

Three years down the line, ICONICS (Pty) Ltd has completely transformed itself from an events management and public relations company into a manufacturing company that is now the envy of Lesotho.
“The closing of events translated into the closing of our business,” Rapitso Mosebetsi, one of the co-founders of ICONICS (Pty) Ltd told thepost this week.
Mosebetsi established ICONICS in partnership with Tumo Mahapa.

Faced with collapse, Mosebetsi say they began buying Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as surgical gowns, disposal coveralls and safety apparel for resale.
Eventually they decided to manufacture the PPEs and safety clothing. That was the turning point.
But since the company was already down, Mosebetsi says diversification was a hard nut to crack.

“It became quite a long journey (for us),” he says. “We had to come up with something new for the industry.”
He says they had to overcome stiff competition from giant companies and come up with something unique that would set them apart.
“That was how thermal heating apparel was born,” he says.

“We are the first company to produce thermal heating apparel,” he says.
The company manufactures thermal clothing, which is electric clothing, using power banks of five voltages.
“The voltage is so low to electrocute a person,” he says.
The clothing also has a power button to turn it on and off.

Mosebetsi says the thermal heating apparel is on corporate clothing as well as high-visibility clothing.
Mosebetsi says they started the journey with the support of several organisations, such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), to build their capacity.
Mosebetsi says they also got mentorship support from organisations such as the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
The results of years of hard work are now all out for everyone to see.

In 2022, ICONICS won the M100 000 Business Plan Competition hosted by BEDCO.
This grant enabled them to acquire land and buy five more industrial machines.
This did not only enable the company to increase their production to 100 worksuits a week, but it further created permanent jobs for five people as well as three temporary workers.

Last year, the company took part in the Exporter of the Year event hosted by the LNDC in partnership with the Lesotho Post Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mosebetsi says they won the award for Lesotho’s most innovative and versatile exporter.
He says this did not only put them in the spotlight, but it further encouraged them to do more.
ICONICS was announced as the best exporter of the year at an event hosted by the LNDC earlier this month.
Mosebetsi says this made them proud, as the award is aligned with their vision.

The award further gives the company an opportunity to participate in the regional competition.
He says this opportunity will further give the company a competitive edge in terms of production locally and globally.
“It will be an honour if we can win the regional competition,” he says.

In terms of markets, Mosebetsi says the company has had the opportunity to list their products in the African Trade Market since 2020 with the support of USAID.
This is an e-commerce platform that opens up the market for African countries to list their products.
Mosebetsi says the company did not only get publicity, but the client database also increased.
He says they moved from supplying individuals only to big companies, different organisations, and different government departments such as those involved in mining and health.

Considering the decline of the Lesotho textile industry, Mosebetsi says their secret to success has been their being innovative.
“Our sustainability is matched with innovation,” he says.
Mosebetsi says it also requires patience coupled with lots of investment in terms of time.
“Rome was not built in one day,” he says.

He says working as a team also plays a critical role.
Despite their achievements, Mosebetsi says the market for innovative industries is one of the hardest nuts to crack.
He says the company is in the process of not only making their products known but also educating people about their safety.
Mosebetsi says the other challenge is the decline of the South African Rand as compared to the US Dollar.

He says some of their materials are sourced from China.
Therefore, it is more expensive to buy such materials.
ICONICS is not only seeking to make their brand well known globally, but Mosebetsi says they are also seeking to create more jobs for our youths.

Own Correspondent

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LetsGo and Win!



LETSHEGO Financial Service has launched the LetsGo and Win loan consolidation campaign where customers win weekly and monthly cash prizes of up to M150 000.
The campaign, which was launched yesterday, will end on November 8.
The LetsGo and Win campaign rewards customers for consolidating their loans.
It is aligned with Letshego Lesotho’s version to offer competitive products that cater for the evolving needs of its customers.

The financial services company operates in Lesotho, Botswana, ESwatini, and Zambia.
The Marketing Manager and Business Partner, Tšotetsi Seema, said Letshego Lesotho is committed to delivering increasing value and options to customers.
Seema said this programme is a testament to that commitment.

“The campaign invites customers to consolidate their loans into one low and easy repayment with reduced rates and they stand to win weekly and monthly prizes,” Seema said.

“The weekly cash prizes will be won by lucky customers randomly selected and notified through Letshego Radio shows,” he said.

Additionally, he said two lucky customers will be randomly selected each month and given a chance to spin the wheel of fortune with a chance to receive a maximum of M20 000 each.

“The loans consolidation campaign makes it easier for customers to choose Letshego Lesotho as their preferred financial services partner.”

He said this innovative campaign aims to help individuals streamline their debt payment while benefiting from reduced interest rates.

“Debt consolidation can help customers get a lower monthly payment, pay off their debt sooner, increase their credit score and simplify their life.”

Letshego Lesotho’s Head of Sales, Distribution and Marketing, Motebang Moeketsi, said managing multiple loans can often be overwhelming with varying interest loans due dates and terms.

“The campaign addresses this challenge by combining multiple loans into a single, easy to manage repayment plan,” Moeketsi said.

He added that this simplification not only eases the financial burden on borrowers but also potentially leads to significant savings over time.
Moreover the new consolidation campaign invites customers to take advantage of their best-in-class financial services provided through Letshego Lesotho branch network and digital platforms.

“Letshego Lesotho is committed to increasing financial inclusion through its efforts to serve underbanked communities, promoting financial literacy and delivering positive social impacts for its customers and communities.”

Alice Samuel

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