MASERU – Basotho in the Free State Province and Lesotho celebrated Basotho’s New Year on Saturday in Qwaqwa by honouring the political struggle heroes; the late Dr Leabua Jonathan and Dr Oliver Tambo.
Basotho’s New Year starts with the dawn of spring season on August 1.
The occasion that was held at Basotho Cultural Village (BCV) in Free State also saw the inauguration of a Basotho blanket tailormade in honour of both Jonathan and Tambo with their pictures on the blanket. Both late leaders are hailed the world over for having contributed actively and having acted in concert for the liberation of South Africa by also using Lesotho as the springboard for saving those who ran away from the apartheid brutality.
The event was led by culturally dressed MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation in Free State Ms ‘Mathabo Leeto and Lesotho’s minister for communications, science and technology, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane. Both were accompanied by entourages of fellow ministers and high ranking officials from both governments.
“The pair were committed freedom fighters. Dr Leabua protected fellow South Africans who ran to Lesotho fearing for their lives during the apartheid era. These South Africans were not only given accommodation but the late father even explored sponsorship opportunities for them, thus investing in their personal education and that of South Africa,” said MEC Leeto.
According to MEC Leeto, in this 100 years centenary of the late South African icon Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sizulu, the department of culture also found it appropriate to remember and honour those who contributed towards freedom of South Africans.
Chief Maseribane appreciated the gesture and announced that the blanket will officially be launched in South Africa in October.
He said that Spring Celebration also marked the shared history amongst Basotho living in South Africa and Lesotho. “The late Oliver was son in law of the Basotho,” he revealed.
Chief Maseribane appealed to Basotho to stand up and join the opposing of continuous killings over Basotho’s cultural famo music by musicians. He made a special plea to famo musicians to end the killings which have already claimed lives of young men, innocent women and children.
“Whatever the causes of these killings, we owe it to ourselves to forgive one another and protect each other, especially women and children,” he pleaded.
Chief Maseribane also took the opportunity to appeal to MEC Leeto to advocate for the speed up of efforts between Lesotho and South Africa to ensure that Basotho receive smooth services at the borders.
When explaining the meaning of the celebration of New Year at the beginning of spring, the vice chairperson of the principal chiefs in Free State, Chief Lirahalibonoe Sekonyela, said Basotho were using the time to thank God for having protected them from winter season while also praying for the coming of rainy seasons.
According to the renowned Sesotho language radio personality on Lesedi FM, Mr Mosololi Mohapi, Basotho honour four seasons in a year; Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
“Spring marks the new year of Basotho. At this time, Basotho often anticipate rain known as ‘Serakoe’ in August. Spring marks beginning of celebrations held with the view to thank God for a living. It is called ‘Phato,’ a time when Basotho start planting,” explained Mohapi.
The celebration was graced with traditional and cultural songs, plays and dances while Basotho also exhibited their various products and services