#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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Here’s your Monday update on a few of the stories that made headlines over the weekend. 

1. Local headlines

The National COVID-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) has released a final version of the Risk Determination and Mitigation Framework. The document is freely available and can be accessed on their website.

NACOSEC reports that the document was informed by a thorough consultation process with various stakeholders; and will serve as a guide for decision making for the Government of Lesotho to manage and control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. It features colour-coded outlines of the different stages of community transmission with guidelines for weddings, schools, funerals and other activities.

[COVID-19 Risk Determination and Mitigation Framework, National COVID-19 Secretariat]

2. Local headlines

Unlike in previous years when King’s birthday presents an opportunity for Basotho nation to come together and celebrate  in different districts, the 2020 57th King’s birthday saw many confined to their homes, clued to their television sets as the national television shared a live broadcast of selected events at the Royal Palace, Maseru.

In his address, His Majesty said the day is not worth celebrating  as more and more people continue to be infected while Lesotho has also lost three of its citizens  due to COVID-19.

“This year we felt Christian Council  of Lesotho (CCL) had to come to deliver a special prayer as part of fighting the invisible enemy of COVID-19, ” he stressed. Over and above, His Majesty indicated the need for the nation to also abide by all life saving protocol measures against COVID-19.

The King also presented a cheque for two million (M2 million) which was meant for his birthday activities to the Honourable  Minister of Health, Motlatsi Maqelepo in an attempt to ease the work of the health sector in fighting COVID-19.

[COVID-19 Presents New Posture for King’s Birthday, Maseru Metro News]

3. Global headlines

Zimbabwean police are investigating the country’s top mobile telephone operator Econet Wireless for suspected money laundering, according to a search warrant issued on Friday.

Police want the telecommunications giant to disclose its customers’ details and records of all transactions conducted within the first half of 2020 as a stand-off between the government and the company mounts. In a dramatic move, the government last month abruptly suspended mobile money transactions provided by telephone operators, the most widely used platform to make and receive payments in the crisis-ridden country.

The company, which has some 10.5 million customers, was ordered to surrender all the requested documents within seven days. Econet’s spokesman Fungai Mandiveyi declined to comment. Mobile money payments account for most electronic payment transactions in the country, which is critically short of banknotes. Zimbabwe is being buffeted by its worst economic crisis in over a decade, including scarcity of basics like fuel and cornmeal.

[Zimbabwe police probe telecoms giant for suspected money laundering, News24]

4. In lifestyle

In partnership with Luma Arles and the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles (ENSP), the House of Dior just announced the winner of the 3rd edition International Photography and Digital Arts Award for Young Talents. Pamela Tulizo is a young Congolese artist and photographer living in Johannesburg and perfectly captured the “Face to Face” theme of this year’s competition.

Tulizo, who attends the Market Photo Workshop School in South Africa, submitted a series of thirteen color portraits titled “Double Identity” that conveys how women in Goma are presented to the outside world through the international media and contrasting that to a more personal image of how they wish to be represented.

According to a press release, Tulizo “chose to explore both the richness and conflict of identity in African women” and the photographs demonstrate “powerful representation, remarkable acuteness, and genuine evocative strength which captivated the entire jury.” Tulizo will receive a 10,000 euro grant from the House of Dior, as well as a creative commission.

[Dior Beauty announces Pamela Tulizo as the winner of its Photography and Digital Arts award, vmagazine]

5. What we’re reading

Today’s reading recommendation is a short piece by our friends at The Reporter that discloses traditional healers’ pleas to get the Lesotho government to take traditional medicine seriously in the fight against COVID-19. We hope it’s food for thought on the role of indigenous knowledge in this global pandemic and what this struggle might mean for the place of the global West in local healthcare. [Govt advised to tap into traditional medicine, The Reporter]

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.