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Last week, on October 4th, Basotho, and dignitaries from near and far away countries that came with well-wishes for Basotho, gathered around Setsoto Stadium in large numbers as the Kingdom of Lesotho celebrated its golden jubilee of its independence.
As speeches echoed significant progress the country has made thus far, the Independence Day celebrations served as a reminder of the long journey the country has traversed since its independence from British rule in 1966.
Of course, like any other country journeying from colonial rule to independence, there are bound to be immense developmental challenges faced by the country.
Challenges like unemployment, high levels of poverty, inequality, lack of access to education, health care and clean water, as well as other socio-economic challenges remain common amongst countries with a similar colonial past.
Could social entrepreneurship be key to alleviating some of these developmental challenges?
As the country celebrates its 50th independence and looks at finding ways to tackle these challenges, perhaps this is an opportune time to consider (or even re-consider) the impact of social entrepreneurship in creating jobs, alleviating poverty, growing the economy, and ultimately changing people’s lives.
Social entrepreneurship is, in a way, a survival tactic for the poor.
By definition, social entrepreneurship endeavours to systemically solve social problems using ways that are inclusive, innovative, sustainable, and scalable.
In addressing some of the stated challenges, many countries are embracing entrepreneurial values to mobilize people, resources and innovative practices in ways that will result in greater impact.
By virtue of it targeting social problems to solve, and its pursuit of social change, social entrepreneurship pushes up the priority list for any nation pursuing a developmental agenda.
Social enterprises, in particular, are permeating the mainstream consciousness and increasingly gaining recognition as catalysts of social and economic change in under-developed and developing countries.
Though social entrepreneurship means different things to different people, there is at least some agreement that social enterprises are organisations that have an economic, social, cultural or environmental mission aligned to public or community benefit; they trade to fulfil their mission; they derive a substantial portion of their income from trade, and re-invest the majority of their profit or surplus back into the organisation in the fulfilment of their mission.
The notion of social entrepreneurship does not provide a magic solution but rather addresses some of the constraints faced by charity-based models that tend to trap the poor in a vicious cycle of dependency.
Such models are employed by traditional non-governmental organisations or development agencies. It introduces slightly different business models and opens up different avenues of funding.
It also brings a motive of profit to the course being pursued.
Due to of its unique ability to mix social and economic objectives, it is better suited to respond to the multi-dimensional nature of social issues.
It also creates potential for empowering people to be productive and to take charge of their own destinies.

Who is a social entrepreneur?
Although there doesn’t seem to be consensus on what exactly defines a social entrepreneur, it broadly means an entrepreneur with deep social consciousness-oriented approach to business; one who applies business techniques or strategies to solve social or environmental problems in a manner that is financially sustainable.
Social entrepreneurs are inherently agents of change in their communities, and are driven by the mission to pursue new possibilities and opportunities for their surrounding.
It goes without saying, therefore, that social enterprises are often started by people whose passion it is to make a difference.
It tends to be less about the business and more about the impact the business will have in addressing social or environmental issues that captures their imagination.
In other words, as much as they make profits, social entrepreneurs measure positive returns to society.
Social entrepreneurship and the effect of self-transcendence
At the peak of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in his revised expanded model, is self-transcendence — the motivational step beyond self-actualization.
Self- transcendence is a desire that drives social entrepreneurs to experience and serve that which is beyond the individual self.
Scholar Prof Saatci of Okan University’s Department of Management Social Entrepreneurship Research Centre, and others, conducted a comparative study on both social and commercial entrepreneurs, and found that social entrepreneurs tend to have higher scores on self-transcendence dimension compared to the commercial entrepreneurs.
It can thus be posited that self-transcendence could better unleash the potential of social entrepreneurs and facilitate their exposure to complex social problems.
Those who experience it are likely to be more alert to opportunities for social business innovation and to generate impact in tackling social problems.
The effect of the value of self-transcendence on opportunity recognition is pro-social and needs to be cultivated for socio-economic progress.

So why is it important to cultivate social entrepreneurship?
Social enterprises create an opportunity to address many complex societal problems, and like many other countries, Lesotho is in need of platforms for innovative and impactful solutions to some of the most pressing social issues.
Although these problems may be daunting for any society, there should be a deliberate embrace and support of social entrepreneurs tackling these issues head on.
In the eyes of social entrepreneurs are challenges instead of problems, and through challenges these entrepreneurs see opportunities to drive positive impact in their communities and to generate financial returns while doing so.
Cultivating social entrepreneurship is, in essence, creating self-reliance, self-sustainability and large-scale impact.
It is to offer opportunities to individuals or groups to use their ability and resourcefulness to create socio-economic value on a sustainable basis.
To illustrate this value, one may invoke the social wisdom “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.
Social entrepreneurship takes this further by building infrastructure to lay foundations and transform industries so that more people can benefit at a large scale in a sustainable manner.
Perhaps there should be recognition that social entrepreneurship is not a linear, uniform process.
There are multiple contexts, challenges and conditions in which it occurs. Equally, social entrepreneurs have unique needs and goals to pursue. The challenge, therefore, is for social partners to create an enabling environment and deliberately invest in the development of sustainable social enterprises that would contribute in realization of development objectives of the country.
There are different ways other countries are employing to cultivate social entrepreneurship. These range from providing access to an array of high-quality resources to help them achieve their objectives — both from the point of view of financial performance and positive social impact; to making available appropriate market incentives; research and development; training; and enterprise incubation where an entrepreneur is assisted in the form of developing a business model for the enterprise or preparing and linking them up with impact investors or other sources of financing.
Lesotho’s challenges are not necessarily unique to it. Development challenges are inherently too complex and require catalystic approaches that are multi-dimentional in nature.
Social entrepreneurship offers one approach, but needs multi-stakeholder collaborations and support spanning different sectors and communities for it to thrive and generate lasting impact.
l Fundisile Serame holds masters in Business Information Systems from Tshwane University of Technology. She is a Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) alumnus. She has extensive training in the IT sector both in the private and public sectors.

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All set for Lesotho Tourism Festival



STANDARD Lesotho Bank, in collaboration with Alliance Insurance, on Tuesday launched Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) Lifestyle Experience.

The launch was meant to lighten up the festive mood in preparation for the LETOFE event to be held in Thaba-Bosiu on December 23.

LETOFE is an annual event that takes place at the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village, which has since been transformed from a mere jazz affair to a lifestyle event.

Speaking at the launch, Standard Lesotho Bank CEO Anton Nicolaisen said he was pleased to launch the LETOFE lifestyle experience.

“This festival is arguably one of the biggest music festivals that Lesotho holds and we are pleased to continue as the headline sponsor of this event that brings moments of jubilation and friendship,” Nicolaisen said.

He said since the arts industry should be guarded jealously, the bank will continue bringing joy to Basotho as a means to promote artistes.

“As patron of arts, we have jealously guarded the creative industry. The SLB is still here to promote the arts and bring happiness to Basotho,” he said.

He said the bank has been sponsoring the festival for the past 18 years.

“We are now 18 years on the trot and I am proud that we have been a significant contributor to the growth of this festival.”

He said this festival has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the biggest features of their entertainment calendar during the festive season, attracting multitudes within Lesotho, Basotho in diaspora and tourists from neighbouring countries.

“We have benchmarked on the successes of these festivals and we will improve our offering every year to the level of a full lifestyle event.”

He said the event is a way of acknowledging the talent that Basotho have as well as the avenue for cross-fertilization of local artists to experience and present their craft.

He added that the bank had made an arrangement for their customers to enjoy a six percent discount when they buy festival tickets using Standard Lesotho Bank cards at any Computicket in Lesotho or other countries.

The promoter of the LETOFE Lifestyle event said they are transforming the event from a jazz festival to a lifestyle event.

“We are introducing young stars to the concepts hence our event is composed of the upcoming stars.”

The co-sponsor from Alliance Insurance, ’Makearabetsoe Mabaleha, said as sponsors they sponsor the LETOFE Lifestyle experience because they are also benefiting from the event.

“Our benefaction is seeing the event creating jobs for Basotho and attracting foreigners in order to improve the economy,” Mabaleha said.

Alice Samuel

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Joang locked in rentals row with tenants



FORMER Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is in a nasty fight with tenants over rentals at a shopping complex in Maputsoe which he is managing.

The main tenant, Ha Seotsanyana managed by Jaan Mahomad Suleman, says Molapo does not have authority to demand monthly rentals from him as he does not legally represent the company owning the property.

The property belongs to Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd. The owners of the mall are however locked in a fight for its control.

In April this year, the High Court issued an order giving Molapo power to manage the mall pending finalisation of the case.

The tenants have however refused to pay rentals to Molapo. Molapo then filed an urgent application in the Northern Region High Court seeking intervention.

The Deputy Sheriff Mpho Maphiri padlocked the shopping complex last week executing an order sought by Molapo in the property dispute.

Molapo, who is a former deputy leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), claims that the tenants owed him rentals for 10 years.

He has sought to terminate the sublease agreement entered between the company and the tenants.

The High Court’s deputy sheriff closed down the shops on Monday last week amid resistance by the tenants. The police told the tenants that they would be arrested for contempt of court if they continued to resist the order.

Six businesses trading there were closed.

However, before the end of the day, Maphiri was sent back to open the pharmacy under condition that the owner was still paying directly to Molapo and did not owe any rentals.

Suleman told thepost that his company, Barakah (Pty) Ltd trading as Ha Seotsanyana, was in agreement with Molapo to use the property but “we are surprised to find a court order without notice”.

He said even in that order they inserted wrong company details.

“I find it illegal that they are closing me down,” he said.

He said Molapo’s company, Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd, had entered into an agreement with him through lawyers that there was a new board of directors.

He said Molapo illegally kicked out the other shareholders from the company and they have a pending case in the High Court.

“Molapo acts as a secretary and does not have any decision-making powers alone,” Suleman said.

He said Molapo’s actions should be directed by the board.

He said Molapo does not want to discuss the agreement he had entered into with the former board of directors.

“He must honour the previous agreement on the sublease,” he said.

Suleman said what pains him is that they have made a lot of developments on the property under the previous agreement with Litjotjela, which Molapo is now ignoring.

“We have made developments worth over M4 million, constructed a garage and other buildings,” he said, adding that it is odd that Molapo wants him to pay rentals to use them.

“This cannot happen under my watch,” he said.

Suleman said it is either they take all their investments away or Molapo has to compensate them for all the developments on the site.

Molapo told the court in an affidavit that he is the one who was put in charge of collecting rentals from all tenants.

“They have failed to pay rentals to me without any justification and have refused to comply even after the demand had been made,” Molapo said.

He said the tenants owe him about M110 400.

He said he is a director, shareholder and board secretary of Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd.

He said in June 2013 Litjotjela Mall and Ha Seotsanyane concluded a sublease agreement of 10 years.

He said it was agreed that Litjotjela was going to develop the site and was to collect all the rentals to be generated from the development site in order to recoup its expenses.

He said the 10 year period expired in May 2023.

“Prior to the expiry of the sublease agreement we engaged with Litjotjela (Pty) Ltd on the possibility of extending the sublease agreement,” he said.

He said after a lengthy deliberation, it became evident that they could not reach an agreement on the terms of the extension of the sublease agreement.

“It was at that time that we instructed our legal representatives to write to Litjotjela on September 20, 2023 that if the parties cannot agree on the extension of the sublease agreement the sublease shall be given a period not less than a year to find a market price to sell (the) business,” he said.

He said Suleman was informed that he was going to vacate the premises in a period of a year from June 2023 and that he had to pay rentals for that period at the rate of the rental payment immediately before the expiry of the sublease agreement.

He said other cited parties were further informed that they should no longer pay rentals to Ha Seotsanyane (Pty) Ltd.
He said to his surprise Suleman responded that Molapo does not have any authority to represent Litjotjela.

He said there is a court order issued on April 27, 2023 that he together with ’Mamphaphathi Katiso and Mpeuoa Mafike will remain in control and administration of Litjotjela Mall until the dispute has been resolved by the court.

He said Suleman is now benefiting from occupying the premises of Litjotjela without paying anything to him.
He said he has a right to receive rentals from its premises from the tenants occupying the premises.

He emphasised that his authority to represent Litjotjela in this matter cannot be questioned.

‘Malimpho Majoro

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The lawyer who designs wedding dresses



Fikile ’Makhang Khang has always loved working with her hands, designing and producing fabulous patterns of knitwear.
“The sewing has always been something I have always liked to do,” Khang says.
“While I was still at the NUL (National University of Lesotho), I would crochet and sew my own skirts and even for others. It was common practice that I would be seen walking around working with a crotchet.”

Years after graduating with a degree in law from the university, Khang has now transformed her hobby into a booming business. She now designs wedding outfits for lovebirds.

She told thepost this week that for one to thrive in business, they must follow their passion.
Khang says although she graduated as a law student, she just could not fathom spending the rest of her life in the courtroom and in her chambers drafting legal documents.

It was for that reason that she decided to follow her passion by designing wedding gowns.
Khang was admitted as an advocate in the High Court of Lesotho in 2007.
Although the financial rewards as a lawyer aren’t satisfactory, it is a job she says she finds really fulfilling.

“In October 2010, I needed to be more focused in my craft and therefore abandoned practising as an advocate and concentrated on the bridal boutique business full time,” she says.

In an effort to meet the high standards for her clients, she would travel abroad in search of the most impressive wedding gowns she could lay her eyes on.
She would travel as far as China searching the best bridal collection.

She says her husband, who has been very supportive, has always advised her to search for other ventures to supplement the family’s income.
It was against that background that she thought of venturing into the sewing business.

Each and every generation has a way of conducting a wedding ceremony and the question of fashion is always pinned to it.
At some point in the past, shiny apparels were considered to be eye-catching.
Today, when people plan a wedding, Khang suggests that brides should go for heavy bead work, melano draped gowns with exaggerated shoulders, side trains and corsets.

On the other hand, grooms should go for a tuxedo, army green and wine coloured three piece suits.
Khang has not refuted the fact that, although vintage, there are timeless designs out there which remain relevant to this day.
A dent of cultural taste is also acceptable, she says.

It is undeniable that anyone can have a nuptial anytime of the year but for many they consider certain aspects which might impact on their occasion.
For instance, some people may prefer to host a wedding when it is warm so that everyone can showcase and flaunt their fashionable looks.
Moreover, other people can opt for end of year weddings when the majority of people are on holidays so it wouldn’t interfere with their schedules.
This explains the reason why spring marks the beginning of the wedding season.

“September to April is the best time to set a date for a wedding because it is warmer and people are at liberty to sew any design they desire,” Khang says.

Currently, it has proved that a lot of people are discouraged and shying away from having wedding ceremonies for different reasons.
Among them, others feel it is a waste of money as it is costly while others are appalled by alarming divorce rates which have nothing to do with whether one had a wedding ceremony or not.

Khang has however spoken highly of the need to normalise having wedding ceremonies in celebration of matrimony which unifies two devoted hearts in love.

“The celebration of a union between two people is very important,” she says.

“It brings the two families together. It makes everyone in attendance feel included and honoured to be part of the beginning of the union.”

Due to frustrations that often come up on the wedding day, many people are now resorting and adopting to outsourcing the services of wedding planners.
This gives opportunity to the bride and the groom to have a moment of their lives without having to be bothered to attend to the hurdles that are presented by the occasion.

“In the past, this was the role reserved for cousins or any immediate family members but I’m not sure if they are still willing to carry it out,” she says.

With a wedding planner in place, a space for calmness by the bride and the groom is at least guaranteed to a larger extent as there is someone overseeing that all is in order.
Although it’s optional, Khang says everyone can do with some help.

Organising a wedding can be tedious and stressful, a lot of brides never get to enjoy their special day.
If one can afford the services of a wedding planner, then they can go for it.

Khang has also highlighted that from the outlook many people believe that nuptials are for the sophisticated people due to their demands.
For ease of presentation, she has outlined necessities of a wedding: officiator, rings, music, cake, décor, photographer and refreshments.
In a nutshell, Khang is of the opinion that people should make wise decisions when planning for their weddings.

“The wedding day is a joyous day for everyone involved from the couple to their friends, family and colleagues,” she says.

“Everyone anxiously anticipates the day. The mood is always blissful and peaceful. The only thing that could go wrong is when couples fail to celebrate within their means and make ridiculous and unnecessary decisions.”

She says lately, anything seems to go when it comes fashion.
A lot of couples are breaking traditions and doing what best represents their style and preferences.

“Brides have been seen wearing coloured gowns for instance,” she says.
Khang now designs and makes wedding gowns, thanks to the skills she learned at the Bloemfontein Fashion Academy in 2016 which has beefed up her art.

Calvin Motekase

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