Sesotho film wins award

Carlos Carvalho, director of photography for The Forgotten Kingdom, the first feature film produced in Lesotho, has won the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the 14th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Gala held in New York. The annual gala celebrates exceptional independent film.

Sesotho film wins award
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Guelph’s Bracelet of Hope launching new swine initiative in Lesotho

GUELPH—First it was small chicken operations, now small piggeries could be the next sustainable agriculture initiative helped along by Guelph-based Bracelet of Hope in the tiny African nation of Lesotho.

A contingent of local swine experts will pay their own way to travel to Lesotho on April 19 to make preliminary connections with existing pork producers and government officials in that country, all in an effort to rejuvenate the country's pork industry.


Fitch revises Lesotho's outlook to stable

Fitch has simultaneously affirmed the country's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at 'BB-', long-term local currency IDR at 'BB' and short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'.

Fitch has also affirmed Lesotho's country ceiling at 'A-'.

Fitch says the revision of Lesotho's reflects the following key rating factors:

1. On-going improvements in public finance management which will support budget consolidation and lessen dependence on South African Customs Union (SACU) receipts. Reforms with the assistance of the IMF (Extended Credit Facility started in 2010) have led to improved tax compliance and increase in non-SACU tax revenue (at 23.5% of GDP in fiscal year 2012-13 (FY12-13) from 20.5% in FY09-10).

Although the agency forecasts a budget deficit of 1.1% of GDP by FY14-15 from a surplus of 5.1% in FY12-13, this reflects an expected rebalancing of Lesotho's public finances, with lower SACU receipts partially offset by lower investment, restraint in current expenditures and gradual increase in non-SACU tax receipts.

2. Structural reforms expected to benefit real GDP growth. Fitch expects growth to remain above 4% (from 3.6% in 2012) in the medium term, supported by public investments in infrastructure, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the diamond sector and structural reforms to improve the business environment (such as the new Company Act) in line with the National Strategic Development Plan. The extension of the Third Country Fabric Provision of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) in September 2012 allows the textile exporting sector, the main private sector employer, to keep sourcing materials from non-AGOA countries and supports growth prospects.

Continue: Fitch revises Lesotho's outlook to stable


Lesotho holds first ever Money Week

The Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the United Nations and Central Bank of Lesotho, on Monday this week launched the first-ever awareness campaign on financial literacy in an effort to foster responsible handling of funds.

The Money Week Lesotho, as the campaign is called, is a public awareness initiative that is intended to help Basotho better manage their financial resources and get the best out of them. The campaign runs from April 8-30.

“This is the first campaign of its kind in Lesotho. It is part of a joint effort between the government, Central Bank, and United Nations Development Project (UNDP), to promote access to finance.
~By Bereng Mpaki

Read more: Lesotho holds first ever Money Week


Sesotho film wins award in US

A new South African film The Forgotten Kingdom has lifted the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival in Oregon, the US.

Although Ashland is just a small festival, it’s big news for the Sesotho-language film that was shot in Lesotho and written and directed by Andrew Mudge.

It indicates that foreign audiences are happy to buy into a universal story told in Sesotho.

More: Sesotho film wins award


Botswana Looking to Draw Water from Lesotho to Boost Development - Bloomberg

Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding to examine options for Botswana to draw water from Lesotho to boost its economic development, according to Lesotho’s minister of energy, meteorology and water affairs.

Lesotho sells water from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to neighboring South Africa. The Lesotho minister, Timothy Thahane, said today at a news briefing in the capital, Maseru, that the envoys had recognized the need to collaborate in addressing acute water scarcity issues, especially in Botswana, and equitably the resource.

Read more: Botswana Looking to Draw Water from Lesotho to Boost Development - Bloomberg


Gem Diamonds to establish Lesotho manufacturing facility

London-listed Gem Diamonds was in the process of establishing an in-country manufacturing facility for its flagship Lesotho-based Letšeng mine to further develop downstream activities.

The facility, which was expected to process certain categories of the mine's rough diamond production, using proprietary diamond processing technology, would be completed during the second half of 2013.

The mine would, as part of the development of Letšeng's downstream activities and capabilities, ramp up to full production by 2014.

Read more: Gem Diamonds to establish Lesotho manufacturing facility


Former CJ Ramadhani enlisted to solve Lesotho judiciary crisis

Former Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani is one of three retired top judges whose expertise has been sought to solve a crisis in Lesotho’s judiciary.

Mr Ramadhani joined former South African Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and their Botswana counterpart Julian Nganunu in a fact-finding mission in Lesotho last week as part of efforts to solve the crisis that pits the president of the Court of Appeal Justice Michael Ramodibedi and Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla. Mr Ramadhani told The Citizen that the team of three has been commissioned by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) who were alarmed by the failure of the Court of Appeal to hold a session in January because of the dispute.

Read more: Former CJ Ramadhani enlisted to solve Lesotho judiciary crisis

Botswana signs MoU to get water from Lesotho

Botswana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the weekend to explore the possibility of getting water from Lesotho. The MoU was signed by ministers responsible for water in Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

Speaking during the signing ceremony in Gaborone, the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa said that the collaboration was an effort to assist Botswana with water for socio-economic development.

Read more: Botswana signs MoU to get water from Lesotho


Pushing forward Lesotho’s services agenda

Lesotho’s services sector is the biggest contributor to national gross domestic product (GDP) and has great potential for generating sustainable growth and creating employment opportunities in the future. However, the relative performance of Lesotho’s services exports has been poor in comparison to the country’s total merchandise exports over the past two decades. Lesotho remains a net services importer.

The Lesotho Services Policy Review provides an analysis of the current policy framework for the three sectors, identifies regulatory challenges and institutional weaknesses inhibiting sectoral development, and proposes policy options that could better respond to the country’s financial, health and tourism development objectives. Issues are reviewed that pertain to the strengthening of domestic supply capacity, the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, employment and poverty alleviation, and universal access to basic services. The potential impacts of services and services trade liberalization, and the prospective benefits of access to foreign markets, receive particular attention.

Read more: Pushing forward Lesotho’s services agenda


The Mysterious Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho

Lesotho is completely encircled by South Africa, so making a visit to the fabled mountain kingdom was a big priority of mine when I knew I'd be nearby. The only question was how. Many options for visiting Lesotho exist, but several of them are logistically challenging.

I could've traveled via the Sani Pass in South Africa's southern Drakensberg region. This would've allowed me to enjoy a cocktail at the Sani Chalet, which is arguably one of the World's Best Bars, at thousands of meters above sea level. The problem? Getting to the southern Drakensberg is difficult for backpackers, and Sani Pass treks are very expensive.

Read more: Robert Schrader: The Mysterious Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho


Lesotho orphans trip to see London Welsh

Eighteen young rugby enthusiasts from the orphanage project, TY Academy, in Lesotho attended London Welsh's Premiership Rugby fixture against Sale Sharks on Sunday as guests of QBE, the business insurance specialist.

QBE employee Chris Hart organised the trip to the Kassam Stadium on behalf of his local rugby club, Braintree RFC, who hosted the children from TY Academy. Braintree RFC worked with the Federation of Lesotho Rugby and touraid to give these boys a once in a lifetime trip to the UK and an opportunity to experience the joy of rugby. For the families involved in hosting them, it was an opportunity to learn first-hand about life in Lesotho.

Read more: Lesotho orphans trip to see London Welsh

Summer in Lesotho

Summer in Lesotho is not entirely unlike summer in South Dakota.

It is hot, even at 9 a.m., and the flies and mosquitoes are rampant. Without air conditioning, life shuts down in the afternoon as people retreat to thatched-roofed homes or shady trees until the sun starts to descend and it’s cool enough to socialize again.

Read more: Summer in Lesoth

A suggestion

I suggest that in Sesotho when people resemble each other too much, I suggest we say: "Ba tšoana joalo ka libono!"

Link: A suggestion


Book: "The Mountain School"

Greg's book is true: it happened, and it depicts Lesotho as it is. I like the conversational and non-rambling style the book is written in. I haven't been able to put it down, and I am from Lesotho! There is language, terrain, people and personal experience touched upon. A book I'd recommend for anybody.

Link: My review of "The Mountain School," by Greg Alder

Partners In Health

Lesotho suffers from the third-highest rate of HIV infection in the world—almost one-quarter of the adult population is estimated to be HIV-positive. By some estimates, average life expectancy is less than 40 years. Lesotho’s steep mountains and harsh weather also restrict access to health services for many people. Many patients must walk an average of three to five hours over steep terrain to reach medical facilities.

PIH/Lesotho (PIH/L), launched in 2006 at the invitation of Lesotho’s government and in consultation with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, works to improve the health of eight remote mountain communities, providing integrated services for maternal and child health, HIV, and tuberculosis, while managing the national program to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The program brings health care to nearly 200,000 people.

Read more: Partners In Health


Lesotho Chef Wins Prize

And to think I'm going to meet her when she comes to Paris to collect it!

Lesotho - Fun Facts and Information

Yes, it's fun, except when the editor of this informative piece calls us "Lesothians", and says we belonged to the British Crown...

Read it here: Lesotho - Fun Facts and Information

▶ Lesotho Joins the World in Celebrating the World Radio Day

Lesotho Joins the World in Celebrating the World Radio Day

Lesotho will be joining the rest of the world in celebrating the World radio Day from 12th to 13th February, 2013. In a quest to encourage public, private and community broadcasters to come together and celebrate the day, UNESCO Windhoek Office in partnership with the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO and in collaboration with the major media stakeholders, have organized two major events that will both be graced by the presence of the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Hon Ts’eliso Mokhosi.

Listen: Jingle: Lesotho Joins the World in Celebrating the World Radio Day by UNESCO


Lesotho develops National Business Continuity Plan

Lesotho recently completed a training session on the development of a National business continuity plan for the country, which was followed by the development of a draft plan.

Present at the training were the International Health Regulations Manager Mr Khotso Mahomo, Chief Executive Disaster Management Authority „Mé Mojaki, StratMan Consultants, Government Officials and Representatives from non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Mufunda, WHO Representative, opened the training session, which took place over 3 days.

The several days which followed were used to develop the plan for Lesotho based on the five main working groups of the Disaster Management Authority– health and nutrition; water and sanitation; food security; logistics; and training.

Read more: Lesotho develops National Business Continuity Plan


PIH Lesotho Opens New TB Reference Lab

Today Partners In Health Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer and Executive Director Ophelia Dahl celebrated the opening of Lesotho’s National TB Reference Lab, the first biosafety level 3 lab in the country and one of only two such state-of-the art tuberculosis testing facilities in southern Africa.

The burden of tuberculosis in Lesotho, a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, is among the highest in the world. There are 633 new cases of TB per 100,000 people each year. Located in the capital city Maseru, the lab will allow cases of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) to be identified without having to send samples outside of the country. Until now, identifying XDR-TB required samples to be shipped to labs in South Africa, a cumbersome and costly process that hindered care.

Read more: LINK

Lesotho's Lebesa implicated in student-rent fraud

Former Lesotho Trade Minister Propane Lebesa benefited from a government scheme that was intended to pay the rent of students studying in SA.

The M&G has also learned that Lebesa was and still is the business partner of Bothata Mahlala, who is suspected of defrauding the scheme of millions of rands in 2009.

Read more: Lesotho's Propane Lebesa implicated in student-rent fraud


Couple's loan project in Lesotho will build new school

Bill Noble signed up for a two-year commitment. Two decades later, at 44, the former Peace Corps volunteer is still giving back to the nation he once served. While passion for global service motivated him to volunteer abroad, friendship led to a lifelong connection to the African nation of Lesotho. Through letter writing and phone calls, Noble stayed in touch with David Kiwanuka, headmaster of the school where he had worked. Read more: Couple's loan project in Lesotho will build new school - Queen Anne & Magnolia News - Seattle, WA