Lesotho’s economy is strongly tied to that of South Africa, writes Pali Lehohla
Lesotho’s economy is strongly tied to that of South Africa, writes Pali Lehohla

OPINION: Lesotho launches Covid-19 fund to fight pandemic

By Pali Lehohla Time of article published Apr 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The turn of the decade - especially its first quarter and by all indications the rest of it - will be known as the decade of coronavirus.  

The king of Lesotho, Letsie III, has announced and laid out plans to fight the pandemic.  

Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso has established a Covid-19 Obe Lesotho Fund, mobilising all Basotho and its South African friends to support the efforts towards fighting the scourge. 

As the chairman of the Fund, I place the call of Her Majesty the Queen to the benefit of the Basotho and friends here in South Africa and urge you to answer the call for this Solidarity Fund launched this week.

Similar to other nations, the Basotho have had mythical stories that explored the depths of life.  

Such a mythical story that is relevant to the modern age relates to Obe, which teaches us lessons of existential threats.  

The mythical animal Obe is said to have attacked people in the heart of the night.  It would snatch its victim and gallop into the night.  The victim would wail from pain and the voice would fade in the distance each time it dropped the loot for relief and grab it again into the night.  

Humans prevail and one day men went out armed to the teeth with spears and knob kirries and defeated the monster.

Today we are confronted by an existential reality from a monster.  Covid-19 is the latter day mythical Obe, which is marauding across the globe and causing havoc.
Lesotho has made a call for addressing this monster.  

In support of this call I appeal to every Mosotho and friends wherever they are to take on the necessary ammunition to go and fight and defeat this latter day monster- Covid-19.  

Kindly answer the call by donating to  the fund in anyway possible to help us in this moment of greatest need.   

God save Lesotho and Basotho and all nations of the world.  Peace Rain and Prosperity.

Lesotho’s economy is strongly tied to that of South Africa.  This was initially through the historical migrant labour system to the mines and farms, followed by a twin process of establishment of South African business brands in Lesotho and high skill labour migration into South Africa.

We learn the following from the fact finder of the nation, StatsSA, that from in 2018 of the 5 million South Africans who travel by road out of South Africa, one and half million travel to Lesotho.

On the other hand of the 12 million travellers arriving by road into South Africa, 4 million arrive from Lesotho.  This implies multiple trips into South Africa by the Lesotho nationals.  

The trans-border movement by these two neighbours suggest that they should be true neighbours in times of need and in those of prosperity.   This act of committed neighbourliness is affirmed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speedy action of sending an envoy to Lesotho to mitigate the symptoms of a political ailment that accompanied the 
Coronavirus this week.  

Furthermore, many a South African in positions of influence cut their teeth at the National University of Lesotho and have strong ties with Lesotho. 
Lesotho is small in size with a population of around 2.1 million. Known as the ‘Mountain Kingdom’, the country has a unique landscape, which affects the distribution of its 

Most of its people, more than 60 percent, live in the foothills and mountain areas of the country.

The bulk of Lesotho’s urban population (674 000), which makes up 31.5 percent of the total population lives in the capital city, Maseru (118 355). 

The rest of the urban population lives in other relatively small towns such as Mafeteng, Teyateyaneng and Leribe.  

The age structure of Lesotho shows that the largest cohort of the population is between 24 and 54 years with a share of 55percent and 31percent is younger than 15 years.  Like its neighbour, South Africa, it  has a high infection rate of HIV/Aids.

Pali Lehohla is the chairperson of the Queens Trust Fund COVID-19 Obe Lesotho 


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