By: Mpho Shelile

Thaba-Tseka celebrated the 30th anniversary of the treaty between Katse Dam and South Africa. Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) together with the Bokong community conspired to build a house for a family living with Disability on the 8th of November at Khokhobane Bokong Thaba-Tseka.

On the 24th October 2023, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) celebrated the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Treaty, signed between the governments of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa, on the transfer of water and hydropower generation.

To accredit the celebration, LHDA commemorated this day with some media briefings, which included interviews on local radio stations, and Lesotho Television on the 24 and they also began working on building a house for a couple living with disability. To further highlight the day, the LHDA’s Public Relations Branch as mandated to continuously disseminate relevant information to the general public, saw the day as an opportune moment to erect an Information Stall at the LHDA Tower along Kingsway Road, Maseru. The multi-phased project aimed at providing water to South Africa’s Gauteng province as well as generating hydroelectricity for Lesotho. Which was established by the 1986 Treaty signed by the governments of Lesotho and South Africa. The project entails harnessing the waters of the Senqu/Orange River in the Lesotho highlands through the construction of a series of dams for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

During his presentation at the handover ceremony, the PRO of LHDA, Mr. Ben Molapo stressed that in 1986, Lesotho and SA signed a treaty that governed LHWP and committed the two countries to the implementation of the first stage, which was completed in two phases 1A and 1B –consisting of the main tunnel system and hydropower station, adding that the implementation of the treaty had given Basotho so many opportunities, infrastructure, economic growth, job opportunities and has grown Lesotho’s tourism industry in many ways. So this year to celebrate their 30th anniversary, LHDA employees saw it necessary to continue their celebration by giving back to the community by building a home for Mr. Sesheme and Mrs. Manyalleng Mosiuoa, a couple living with Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI).

Adding that they would not have known about all this if it was not for Miss. Mosa Moteki the owner of Blitz Boutique and Bokong business forum chairperson Mr. Phoka Tlabaki for seeing what all the other people saw but chose to act, “The money contributed here was not given by LHDA but it was given by us the LHDA workers to make sure we do not only build a house but give them furniture, and this initiative was put in progress on the 24 October, and we profoundly thank the community for their part in all of this, Bokong community is one of a kind. And this could not have been possible without their help,” he said.

On behalf of Social Development, Miss. Lineo Mahloba said she was proud of how the Bokong community came together in making this a success, stating that there is only a little social development can offer people living with disabilities and that alone is not enough to sustain them, “what LHDA and the community are doing demonstrates the power of collective effort and kindness. Sadly, because of misinformation and misunderstanding, people with disabilities are often not thought of as equals or valued members of society. That is why observances like this can serve as a reminder to society that we are all human – with or without disabilities – and everybody deserves kindness. People with disabilities constitute the nation’s largest minority group. So maybe offering a little kindness to this key population can have a big effect on humanity, it is worth a shot”. She concluded

Miss. Mosa Motseki in her remarks stated that Blitz Boutique is still a developing company that does not have much but she was willing to share the little she has with the Sesheme family, “the first time we met Mr. Sesheme I knew that I had to do something to change the way they were living. so I took it upon myself to approach my manager to propose the idea of giving Mr. Sesheme a home, but we could not do it alone as Blitz so joining forces with the community, Bokong business forum and LHDA was the right choice and the Sesheme family is going to sleep in a better home thanks to them for being so willing to make a difference in the lives of those who need help”.

She concluded by stating that it is only God who knows how much difference was made in the lives of the Sesheme Family, she advised the rest of the community, to never quit what they are doing for each other because no human, with and without disabilities is perfect. “Is it not kind to offer ourselves and others a bit of grace? Because humans make mistakes, we all struggle. All humans can display kindness to ourselves and others in how we respond to challenges and victories. This means kindly educating ourselves and others about diversity and inclusion, offering kindness and patience to all humankind is what we should be doing as Basotho”

The DA. Of Thaba-Tseka Mr. Tlali Mphafi, in his closing remarks acknowledged the community of Bokong and LHDA for their generosity, he also indicated that it is not only by providing a safe and accessible living space for those in need but he added that we also need to foster a sense of togetherness and community spirit all around Lesotho, and Bokong is a good example to look at while doing so. “Lesotho is no longer a safe place for our young girls and women to live in, we are using what God has given us to do more wrong than good,” he said adding that he admires the kind of relationship Mr. Sesheme and his daughter share because it is rare to find. A healthy father-daughter relationship is built on love, trust, respect, and communication like all other relationships. Having boundaries, trust, and support creates a positive relationship between fathers and daughter. He concluded by stating that he wishes most fathers were like Mr. Sesheme and not enemies to their daughters.