Racing to honour 1982 Maseru Massacre comrades

  • 6 December, 2018

The South African Deputy High Commissioner to Lesotho on Thursday launched the Inaugural Maseru Massacre Race which will take place on Sunday. The event will involve both the 5km and 10km races.

The race will start at Pitso Ground Stadium, through Ha-Hoohlo via Sea Point, and back to the starting point. Registration is free and over 500 local and international athletes are expected to participate in the race.

The annual event to be hosted in Maseru and observed on South Africa's annual sporting calendar seeks to foster nation building and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Elion Von Wielligh said the race is very befitting as it honours and recognises people who fought for the liberation of the people of South Africa.

He noted that they are willing to partner with the organisers of the race to reflect on the lives and sacrifices made by heroes and heroines for a better South Africa.

“It is encouraging to realise that, other than the families of the victims of the massacre, there are still those who care to remember and honour them,” said Mr. Von Wielligh, commending the organisers of the race.

On the other hand, the Race Director Mr. Thami Hlatswayo said the race is intended to draw a large number of athletes - locally and internationally - to honour the fallen heroes of our struggle.

Rebatho Mdlankomo, whose father Ligwa Gragam (also known as MK Nom de Guerre) was killed on December 9, 1982 - three days after she was born at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, said though she never got the chance to know her father, she is happy that him and other comrades are being honoured for their selfless struggle for a better South Africa.

“I am happy that the commemoration is being done in the country where my father and his fellow comrades died. This means a lot to me and my family and I have brought my children with me so that they know where the remains of their grandfather are,” she added.

Meanwhile, the race regalia bears the #leronarebatho slogan and 82 at the back, which symbolises the year Rebatho was born. On the left front side, it has the Basotho hat with colours of the Lesotho flag, a raised fist as a symbol for struggle for both countries with colours of the South African flag and 42 – the number of massacred victims.

Maseru Massacre Race is conceptualised to celebrate the spirit of those fallen heroes and recognition of the sacrifices and contributions made in South Africa's struggle for freedom. It is not only informed by the current and history South Africa has with Lesotho but rather a view that Lesotho is South Africans' second home because people share the same history and descendants.

On December 9, 1982, 30 African National Congress (ANC) activists exiled in Lesotho and 12 Basotho were killed by the South African Defence Force (SADF) during the Maseru Massacre. Lena

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger