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The goat milk business

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ROMA – KARABO Lijo from Koalabata, Berea, a NUL alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degree has ventured into one unique adventure: goat milk production.

The business has taken everyone including Facebook streets by storm. Lijo says he started the business of goat milk in July 2019.

The product, fresh goat milk, is available at Mofumahali oa Tlholo Hall, Delta-Station and Koalabata.

He works with Topela Farmers and the aim is to serve the Basotho nation. Here is the story of Lijo:

“After I graduated at the NUL, I knew I wanted to venture into agribusiness. I wanted a jersey cow for milk production. Looking at my budget I found out that it was a bit expensive, also it was such a hustle to get one,” he says.

His uncle, Ramajoe, owns a herd of goats. He says Ramajoe has been owning them for as long as he can remember.

He figured he was someone who has a lot of knowledge when it comes to animals, so he talked to him.

“When I approached him, he talked me into buying and owning goats. He would be my mentor as well so why not? He exposed me to a niche product, and I am very grateful for the entrepreneurship exposure despite my career as a registered accountant in Lesotho. There is life in farming, even when one has a different career,” he says.

Unfortunately, when his child was born, he had eczema. They couldn’t feed him cow milk or formula because the eczema got worse.

So, he approached his uncle for a supply of goat milk for him and voila! It worked, the baby could now feed without any struggles and the eczema got better.

Lijo says the situation motivated him to work hard and pursue the goat milk production business. He needed to be my own supplier, and the child needed dairy intake.

So as unfortunate as the situation was, it was a positive turning point in his life. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that causes dry, itchy, red and inflamed skin.

It is common in young children but can also occur at any stage in life.

It is a chronic disease that tends to flare sometimes. People with eczema are at risk of developing food allergies such as hay fever and asthma.

“Of course, I should admit, only a few urban people are the main consumers of milk. It was not surprising to get a hesitant reception when the product was officially released.

I mean people think goats are animals used by traditional healers only,” he tells us.

Goats are the oldest domesticated animal in mankind’s history; however, they only contribute around two percent production of the world’s total milk.

Goat milk benefits:
• Packed with high nutrients such potassium, calcium, vitamin A and copper
• Less risk of milk allergies

Studies show that one in four babies who were allergic to cow milk weren’t allergic to goat milk
• Easier to digest
• Better heart health
• Helps repair skin barrier, very good for sensitive skin

In the past four years he has been able to acquire ten goats and the growth rate is booming. There is urgent need for expansion. There is one permanent employee at the farm, and a part-time manager.

“Department of Agric — the NUL, Ministry of Agriculture and Lesotho National Dairy Board have been our guides and help in ensuring that our products meet the standards, and we get enough exposure and engagement.

“I am so grateful for the gurus I met in this industry. Truly, not a moment of life is wasted on a farm. My wife as an advocate from the NUL, made sure that we are legally registered and regulated,” he says.

“I would advise Basotho to buy pure pasteurised goat milk, it is naturally homogenised. Sensitive to lactose? Goat milk may work for you.

“Goat milk (like all-natural milk) does contain lactose; however, most people who react poorly to lactose from cow milk (lactose intolerance caused) do not have the same problem with goat milk,” Lijo says.

Some people easily digest goat milk than cow milk; however, this is highly individualised.

Goat milk is superior in terms of numerous health benefits, and lower risk of allergy when compared to the milk of other species.

“We are working hard to grow so we can venture into the diverse range of goat milk-based products such as yoghurt, cheese, fermented milk (mafi) and goat milk powder. Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness,” Lijo says.

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Suspension was malicious, says Nko

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MASERU – A gunshot wound and an attempted murder charge have not stopped Dr Retšelisitsoe Nko from starting a new fight.

The suspended Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) boss is rolling up his sleeves for what promises to be an epic legal battle to be reinstated.

In an application filed in the High Court this week, Dr Nko argues that the LTDC’s decision to suspend him had a “glaring element of bad faith and malice”.

He says the suspension was procedurally flawed because there was no complainant to instigate it and he was not granted a hearing.

Dr Nko was suspended after he was involved in a shooting incident with guests at an event at a Hillsview guest house on December 27.

He is alleged to have rushed home to take his gun after an argument with some of the guests. Dr Nko and a guest sustained gunshot wounds in the scuffle that ensued.

Reports say the guests were trying to wrestle the gun from Dr Nko when the shots were fired.

The LTDC’s board suspended him two days later, alleging that he had failed to attend an extraordinary meeting called to discuss the incident.

The suspension letter was written by Nonkululeko Zaly who was the chairperson of the LTDC board by virtue of being the principal secretary in the Ministry of Trade.

Zaly, who has since been fired following corruption investigations, also approached the court to force the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences to return the assets confiscated during a raid at her house.

Dr Nko, in his court papers, accuses Zaly of usurping the board’s powers to suspend him. He says there was never a board resolution to suspend him.

The extraordinary meeting, he alleges, was a “prearranged dishonest scheme between certain members of the board and social media personnel which were part of the ruse deliberately designed to compromise” his interests.

Dr Nko says the board called him to the 29 December meeting when he was on sick leave and then suspended him without hearing his reasons for failing to attend.

He complains that Zaly wrote his suspension letter on the basis of mere allegations even though she had remained principal secretary and chairperson of the board when the corruption investigations against her were in full swing.

He queries why he was being suspended when Zaly was allowed to hold on to her job.

Zaly appears to have been belligerent when Dr Nko’s lawyers contacted her to query the suspension.

She told the lawyers, in a letter, that their queries were based on misinformation. She also dismissed the lawyer’s request for a record of the board meeting that decided to suspend Dr Nko.

“We are therefore not going to honour any of your demands and if your client is not satisfied, he is free to approach any appropriate forums to pursue these baseless issues,” Zaly said in her letter.

The lawyers say that response shows that Zaly was hell-bent on suspending their client.

Dr Nko wants the High Court to order the LTDC board to reverse the suspension, stop his imminent disciplinary proceedings and release the records of its December 29 meeting.

He also says the board is already conducting investigations on the incident to use as evidence against him in the disciplinary hearing.

Staff Reporter

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thepost columnist wins award

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Maseru – Two scholars associated with the National University of Lesotho have been awarded the 2022 Thomas Pringle prize for the best literary article published the previous year.

Chris Dunton, who is a columnist for thepost, and Lerato Masiea have won the prize, which is awarded by the English Academy of Southern Africa, for their article “Between rocks and hard places: the controversial career of A.S. Mopeli-Paulus,” which was published by thepost.

Dunton was previously Professor and Dean of Humanities at the NUL and for some years cwrote a column for this newspaper titled “Left Side Story.” Masiea is a lecturer in the NUL’s Department of English and is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of the Free State.

Their prize-winning article was published in the journal English in Africa (vol.48 no.3, 2021, pp47-64). In it the authors explore the writings and life of the South African Mosotho author Mopeli-Paulus.

As their title indicates, their subject was a controversial figure, who degenerated from being an opponent of the apartheid regime (he was, notably, one of the leaders of the Witzieshoek Cattle Rebellion, for which role he was incarcerated in the Pretoria Central Prison) to being a high-ranking accomplice in the Bantustan system.

He was a prolific writer in both English and Sesotho (at one point he referred to the compulsive desire to write as a kind of madness!), his best-known works being the poetry-collection Ho tsamaea ke he bona (from time to time a set-text in Lesotho schools), the novel Blanket Boy’s Moon and the autobiography The World and the Cattle.

Dunton and Masiea’s article covers all his writing, published and unpublished (his papers are freely accessible at the William Cullen Library, Wits University) and is especially concerned with the question of cross-border identity.

Mopeli-Paulus was born in Monontsa, South Africa, in the lost territories—much in the news recently—and remained a South African citizen all his life. The dust-jacket for his first novel, Blanket

Boy’s Moon — which was an international best-seller — carries his name with the tag “Chieftain of Basutoland”, but this was a mistake.

Nonetheless, Mopeli-Paulus identified very strongly with Lesotho and has much to say — some of it fanciful, even spurious — on concepts of Sotho identity.

Dunton and Masiea explore this issue in detail, as it remains a topic of crucial importance even today.

Staff Reporter

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Matekane to boot out PS

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MASERU – THE Sam Matekane government is getting ready to get rid of Principal Secretaries appointed by the previous administration.

First to be axed is Nonkululeko Zaly who Matekane fired as a PS for the Ministry of Trade on January 11.

Zaly, who is challenging the decision, suffered a blow yesterday when the High Court refused to hear her case on an urgent basis.

Her case will now have to join the long queue of hundreds of others pending in the High Court.

Lefu Manyokole has been replaced as the PS of the local government ministry.

The axe is also likely to fall on government secretary, Lerotholi Pheko, and Foreign Affairs principal secretary Thabo Motoko.

The four have been the subject of a graft investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).

Their homes and offices have been raided and properties seized as the anti-corruption unit investigates allegations that they received millions in bribes from contractors. The four are likely to be the first to be shown the door.

Indications are however that Matekane could be readying to purge the government of principal secretaries inherited from the previous government. Matekane hints at that impending clean up in his dismissal letter to Zaly.

“You will agree with me that as a Principal Secretary, yours was a political appointment,” Matekane said in the letter that Zaly claimed not to have received in her court papers.

“It follows therefore that the working relationship between yourself and the person appointing you, the Prime Minister in this case, is mainly based on utmost trust and confidence.”

“The trust and confidence components become even more important under the obtaining circumstances where the new government, of which I am the head, has just been installed.”

Matekane told Zaly that his government came with new ideas and policies at the top of which is to fight corruption.

He said he was aware that the DCEO had seized certain documents in Zaly’s possession “evidencing a commission of crime and that you failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your possession of those documents”.

“This has eroded all the trust and confidence I had in you as the Principal Secretary and there is no way I can continue with you at the helm of any government ministry,” Matekane said.

Highly placed sources in the government have told thepost that Zaly’s exit is just the beginning of a shake-up that will continue for the next three months as Matekane seeks to bring in new people he trusts and share his vision with.

Meanwhile, Moahloli Mphaka, the government’s special adviser in the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission this week told the High Court that there is a plan to fire him and two other senior officials.

Mphaka made the allegations in an urgent application to force the commission to pay his salary and that of Thabang Thite, and Bahlakoana Manyanye who are also part of the lawsuit. Thite and Manyanye are assistant advisers in the commission.

Mphaka told the court in an affidavit that on December 22 last year, the Natural Resources Minister Mohlomi Moleko told them that his superiors had instructed him to terminate their contracts.

The reason, Mphaka said, is the fact that they are the All Basotho Convention (ABC) members hired by former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. He said the government’s delay to pay their December salary was meant to frustrate them into resigning.

Nkheli Liphoto

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