By Liapeng Raliengoane

MASERU – Last Friday marked a huge milestone in the country when a book titled “Pollution, Profits and the People” authored by ‘Mapaballo Pascalinah Kabi, through the coordination of MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism was launched in Maseru.

Speaking at the launch, Pascalinah Kabi disclosed that this book documents water related stories she gathered during her 2022 Bertha Foundation Fellowship term.

“The particular focus of the book is on the findings of my investigations on the effects of mining operations on water sources in Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong. I have carefully weaved in personal water stories of people affected by the pollution of the mines in this book. Their personal stories helped me tell stories of blue and black water, hunger and other socio-economic challenges facing our communities as a result of pollution,” she added.   

“This book shines light on the Lesotho water sector, with particular focus on the environmental impacts of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project on rural communities. While there are other industries polluting water in Lesotho, my investigation centres on the mining industry. I place particular emphasis on Letšeng as the biggest mine in Lesotho.”

She made note that all of us are affected by these water issues, directly and indirectly.  That 13% of the book sales will go into assisting the affected communities to do blood tests in relation to water pollution.

Talk about breaking the glass ceiling, Pascalinah Kabi is the first Lesotho female Investigative Journalist to publish a book.

Pascalinah Kabi admitted that investigating and writing a book on water crisis proved to be harder than she had thought yet more rewarding than she would have ever imagined and with this book, she hopes for meaningful water conversations among ordinary Basotho, the government, parliament, human rights defenders, development partners and other key stakeholders in the water sector.

 “I dedicate this book to rural women leading the fight against water pollution in their respective communities. To my colleagues in the media fraternity, I hope this inspires you to take on similar ground-breaking projects,” she said in closing.

Also present at the event was ‘Mapontšo Lematla, a villager from Patising Mokhotlong who related her experiences and of other community members of the blue and black water which sometimes causes the alleged skin rashes. Above all she expressed a great fear she has when she is away from home, of a dam belonging to Letšeng above their village, which might just burst anytime due to the current frequent rains.