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

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From a local movie that tells untold African stories to Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF calling US envoy ‘thug’, here’s a wrap of a few local and global headlines you might have missed. 

1. Local headlines

The government of Lesotho has been urged to work hand in hand with development partners to design recovery packages to assist small and medium enterprises (SME).

This appeal was made by Private Sector Development Foundation president Thabo Qhesi, acknowledging that while the effects of Covid-19 are destabilizing for many enterprises, they are particularly challenging for SMEs, many of which are facing severe losses in revenue and rely on limited reserves, while facing less access to finance.  

“The government of Lesotho seems to be aware of the impact of Covid-19 and opted to refocus on agriculture and manufacturing. The fortunate part about this option is that the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have already availed financial resources in this regard. If done at a large scale and across the complete value chain, more job opportunities would be created to substitute the textile and apparel sector. Again, relaxation of mining laws to allow small miners to do mining activities might also play a significant role in terms of job creation,” he added. 

[Govt urged to assist SMEs, The Reporter]

2. Local headlines

Basotho miners working in South Africa have started to die due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reports have shown. Metro has it on good authority that the pandemic has recently killed at least two miners, one from Mafeteng and another from Leribe.

With these developments, the Ex-Miners Association of Lesotho has expressed deep concern over the level of awareness and the way information is being disseminated through the mining industry.

The association confirmed to Metro that indeed Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, saying that due to the level of illiteracy among Basotho miners, the information that is being provided about the pandemic may be difficult to comprehend.

“Most of these people did not go to school at all and are therefore away from all the structures that are being employed to create awareness and provide updates on the pandemic,” the representative of the Ex-Miners Association of Lesotho Rantšo Mantsi said in an interview with the paper.Mantsi said his association should be capacitated financially to be in a position to provide education about the pandemic to Basotho miners in the diaspora.

[Basotho miners dying of Covid-19 in SA, Maseru Metro News]

3. Global headlines

Zimbabwe’s ruling African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has called the US ambassador to the country a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of this week’s planned anti-government protests.

Patrick Chinamasa, a spokesperson for ZANU-PF, told reporters on Monday that Ambassador Brian Nichols was involved in subversive activities to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. The US embassy in Harare did not immediately respond to Chinamasa’s comments.

In the past week, Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sibusiso Moyo have accused Western countries of sponsoring Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist known for exposing alleged government corruption, and Jacob Ngarivhume, an opposition politician behind the protests which organisers say will be peaceful.

Chinamasa on Monday urged party supporters to defend themselves from protesters and avoid a repeat of the deadly violence that followed post-election demonstrations in August 2018 and the January 2019 protests over a steep fuel price rise.

[Zimbabwe calls US envoy ‘thug’ as anti-government protests loom, News24]

4. In lifestyle

Twenty-one-year old, Refiloe Mafatle is a cinematographer and film editor who wants to contribute to the film industry in Lesotho by telling African stories, hence the release of the movie ‘The Dead’. 

Mafatle, who is the founder of Ntja-Peli Motion Pictures, has worked on a movie titled Lia bela lia hloeba and a film called Nightmare, whose trailer went viral.

The Berea-born workaholic says ‘The Dead’ is about a young girl who just joined university and is followed by a curse cast on her from the village by her grandmother, and she now faces challenges of seeing old dead people.

“This film is proof that the stories we were told by our forefathers and mothers, especially those people that don’t believe, are very real. I want the audience to know that these things happen and, visually, I am hoping to convince them. This is a lesson about witchcraft stories which people take for granted and dismiss as a hoax. The movie was shot in Lesotho (Maseru and Berea) and will premiere on August 7,2020.”

This movie was shot by Ntja-Peli Motion Pictures and Mphatlalatsane Productions which was founded by Tshepo Oliphant, Tumisang Tlhanyane and Tiisetso Kholoane.

[Movie tells untold African stories, The Reporter]

5. What we’re reading

News of Maud Boikanyo’s appointment as District Governor of the Rotary Club of Maluti made headlines last month. Mokebe, the first Mosotho woman to hold the position, talks about the appointment and her vision for the organisation in this interview. 

[INTERVIEW: Rotary’s Maud thinks big, 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.