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King’s gala dinner raises M400 000 for SOS Children’s Village

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Mosoatsi Mosoatsi

A LOCAL events management company, Southern Express, has raised more than M400 000 for charity through a gala dinner auction to celebrate His Majesty King Letsie III’s 25th anniversary on the throne.

The proceeds of the event held at a local hotel will be donated to SOS Children’s Village. The King is the patron of the centre.

South African company, Manti Sehloho Construction bought a red Sesotho blanket for M200 000. It also gave the King M50 000 and offered him free use of the Radisson Hotel in Johannesburg.

The company also donated 200 shoes to school needy children. Beneficiaries will be chosen by His Majesty.

Telecommunications giant, Econet Telecom Lesotho, paid M100000 for King Letsie III’s portrait.

Southern Express Managing Director, Russell Motlatsi, said they raised over M400000 on the night.

“We raised more than M400000. We are still waiting for those who made pledges to honour their promises,” he said.

Speaking at the glittering event, the National University of Lesotho (NUL)’s Professor Tefetso Mothibe, said the King’s silver jubilee marked yet another important milestone in Lesotho’s history.

“This is an important epoch in the evolution of a governance institution that is not only deeply rooted in the life of Basotho, but also one that has passed through many changes since the day of Morena Moshoeshoe in the 19th century,” Professor Mothibe said.

King Letsie III is the eighth generation grandson of Morena Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation.

Following the passing away of his father, His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II on 15 January 1996, His Majesty King Letsie III was sworn in on 7 February 1996. This was followed by his coronation on 31 October 1997.

Prof Mothibe said throughout his 25-year reign, the King has been an effective representative of the Basotho nation through promoting its image both at home and abroad.

Although as a constitutional monarch, King Letsie III’s role is largely ceremonial and he does not exercise executive powers, he serves as an embodiment of constitutional authority, protector of political neutrality of the state, and as a representative of the nation, he said.

His Majesty has held different prestigious posts during his reign. He was appointed African Union (AU) Nutrition Champion from 2014 to 2019.

In 2016, he was appointed Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Special Ambassador for Nutrition.

In 2018, he was appointed by the World Bank as champion for its Human Capital Project, “Building Human Capital in Africa: The future of a Generation”.

“With his extensive knowledge, experience, and dedication to public service, His Majesty has committed to firmly place nutrition and food security on the continental and global agenda and encourage increased investments to ensure that malnutrition is eliminated,” Prof Mothibe said.

He said he was confident that King Letsie III would continue rising to meet Lesotho’s challenges in the next 25 years in his mission to promote peace, prosperity and equity for all.

“We wish His Majesty good health and strength to carry out his duties with courage and conviction.”

On his part, Standard Lesotho Bank chief executive, Anton Nicolaisen, said they would continue offering their support and loyalty to His majesty and the Basotho nation.

“Allow me to emphasise that as corporate organisations in Lesotho, we remain your proud and loyal servants.

“We pay tribute to your diligence and tenacity in the execution of your duties.  We also cherish the many good deeds and civic responsibilities that you have undertaken in your country and in the world, which truly make us a proud nation.

“Our greatest gratitude first goes to God for blessing you with a healthy and productive life. History tells us that your journey as King has had many twists and turns. Many successes and challenges have tested your character and defined your leadership. In the end, the divinity of God’s presence in your life and His guidance has carried you and given you the wisdom and power to rise above all setbacks to give your subjects hope and unity as the Basotho nation,” Mr Nicolaisen said.