By Leseli Mahloane

MASERU – Monday July 17, 2023, scores of Basotho, high officials, diplomats, international guests, heads of states gathered at Setsoto Stadium to celebrate with the Royal Family the 60th birthday of beloved monarch, King Letsie III. The celebrations were nothing short of spectacular, this year the Lesotho Defence Force Youth Development Boot-camp was featured for the first time in history.

With a diverse array of activities that left the crowd in awe, the event showcased not only the prowess but high talent as jets and parachutes freestyled in the sky individually and around the overflowing venue. The stadium roared with cheers as parachutes gracefully descended from the sky and various air crafts of all shapes and sizes added a mesmerizing touch to the celebrations. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the surprising fireworks display that painted the blue clear sky with smoke and vibrant flag colors. The crowd watched in amazement as the Boot-campers marched, saluted and displayed the age of their King, symbolic number 60 years in art, symbolizing the nation’s gratitude and love for him. To those LDF Boot-campers who attended for the first time and took part, the birthday celebrations of King Letsie III will be etched in the memories, leaving a lasting impression of unity, love, admiration for their beloved King and their remarkable nation. Below are the views of some Boot-campers.

“Standing in the center of the stadium, with the entire audience cheering for me, was an indescribable feeling that made me feel truly special. The overwhelming support from the crowd filled me with immense motivation and pride. It was a moment I’ll cherish forever. I firmly believe that our presence and performance have created a significant impact. Seeing the positive reactions from the audience reassured me that our efforts were appreciated and that we made a difference. It was an honor to be part of such a memorable event, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent our cause and inspire others youth through our actions.” -0013 Mahloane SER1

“It was an incredibly rewarding experience for us Boot-campers to be included in our King’s birthday celebration. It demonstrated that our dedication to the Boot-camp and youth development is recognized and acknowledged by even the highest authority in the land. Being present at the King’s birthday empowered us as Boot-campers and filled us with joy knowing that we could contribute to making our King’s special day even more memorable. Our presence also served to boost the LDF program’s visibility, as people saw us and witnessed the meaningful work we’ve been doing, leaving a positive impression on them.

Participating in the celebration and showcasing our efforts to other countries filled us with huge pride. We had the opportunity to demonstrate how the LDF has inspired the youth of our country, and it wasn’t just about what we do, but rather about us as a collective force. The experience touched the hearts of many; we could see it in their reactions. We displayed genuine love for our country, and our passion inspired some individuals to consider joining the LDF Boot-camp and be part of this incredible journey.” – 0010Ndaba SER1

“For me, it was an unparalleled feeling of joy and pride to represent our country and show other nations what the LDF is all about. Witnessing how our efforts have positively impacted the youth of our nation made it all worthwhile. It’s not merely about the actions we take, but it’s about who we are as a united group, working towards a common goal. Yesterday’s event moved and inspired countless people, as we showcased our love and dedication to our country. We hope that through our demonstration, more individuals will be motivated to become part of the LDF Boot-camp and contribute to the betterment of our society.” -0636Makoala SER3