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

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Lesotho moves from level orange to purple; LETOFE affected by the pandemic and  Khauhelo ‘Mile’s Puo Ea Pelo tugs at our heartstrings — catch these and other headlines ahead of the weekend.

1. Local headlines

With effect from Monday 24/08/20 Lesotho moves from level orange to purple. This means that the reproduction rate has decreased from 2.04% from last month’s presentation to 1.27 % according to NACOSEC experts.

It is against this background that The Right Honourable the Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro announced in his official speech that many entities like salons, liquor stores, churches and schools amongst others will be opened bearing in mind WHO life saving protocols and guidelines.

The PM said more women are affected by the Corona virus than men, adding most affected age groups include 20 to 50. The PM’s speech comes after a meeting of Cabinet Ministers with NACOSEC authorities earlier on Thursday.It also comes a few days after the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced relaxation from level three to two.

As of August 19, 2020 a total of 30 deaths were reported by the Ministry of Health, 472 were recoveries while 996 were positive cases with 12 682 specimens having been tested.

[PURPLE LEVEL RESTRICTIONS: What you need to know, The Reporter]

2. Local headlines

This year’s edition of the annual Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) remains in limbo due to the current COVID-19 regulations which prohibit large gatherings. However, LETOFE organizers still hope that they will be able to continue with the tourism fiesta.The annual Lesotho Tourism Festival takes place every December. Some of the activities are the Main Jazz Festival, Divas Concert, Poetry, Comedy Nights, Tour Packages, Parties, Golf Tournament, CSI projects.

Its founder, Montoeli Moleli says they will definitely know their fate six weeks before the usual dates of December 20 to 24. Moleli also mentioned that even though six weeks are not enough to prepare for such an event, it definitely will be a small one compared to the usual. He added that the turnover will not be the same due to it being small.

This annual festival promotes tourism and entertainment in Lesotho during the festive season with world-class artists, from Tshepo Tshola, Trompies, Tortured Soul, Selimo Thabane and Maleh, to mention a few, attracting people from the SADC region.

[Biggest event affected, The Reporter]

3. Global headlines

The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has confirmed that credit bureau Experian suffered a data attack which “has exposed some personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans”.

Nearly 800,000 business entities have also fallen prey to a “suspected fraudster”, Sabric said.

According to the risk centre, Experian confirmed the breach, which has been reported to law enforcement.

“Banks have been working with Experian and Sabric to identify which of their customers may have been exposed to the breach and to protect their personal information, even as the investigation unfolds,” Sabric said in a statement.

It added that the affected banks would speak to customers about how they may be affected by the breach and what is being done. “The compromise of personal information can create opportunities for criminals to impersonate you, but does not guarantee access to your banking profile or accounts. However, criminals can use this information to trick you into disclosing your confidential banking details,” warned Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall.

Sabric advised that if anyone suspects that their identity has been compromised, they should apply immediately for a free protective registration listing with the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS).

[Massive data attack exposes personal info of 24 million South Africans, TimesLive]

4. In lifestyle

Lesotho beauty queen and model Rethabile Letsoepa is raring to go and all pumped up to bring 

the crown home after making it to the finals of the annual Miss Africa 2021 beauty pageant scheduled for later this year.

Twenty- year old Rethabile started modelling in 2017 and has already made her mark in the beauty scene, having bagged numerous crowns. She won her spot among 25 finalists in February.

The pageant is a beauty spectacle for African women and models between the ages of 18 and 60. It has several categories, such as Miss Africa, Miss Africa Elite, Mrs Africa and Mrs Africa Classic. The 2021 Africa Pageant is scheduled for November 12 to 22 2020 in South Africa.

Describing how she ended up entering the competition, Rethabile says she came across a post online in December 2019, of the search for models who were interested in testing their mettle and vying for the Miss Africa contest.

“There have also been hardships in my journey. It is not easy securing sponsorships during this Covid-19 pandemic, but they are necessary because without payments, I cannot be part of this competition anymore,” she said.

Rethabile launched her modelling career in 2017 with the Miss Botha Bothe High School contest, which she won. She went on to be crowned Miss Valentine’s 2017 before becoming first princess in the Miss Teen Botha Bothe pageant. The list is endless, but the big one was

being crowned Face of Lesotho in 2018. 

[Lesotho Beauty in Miss Africa finals, The Reporter]

5. What we’re reading

Today’s reading recommendation is Khauhelo ‘Mile’s self-published anthology titled Puo Ea Pelo, which is Sesotho for “Soliloquy of the Heart”. The book is a self-reflected of ‘Mile’s journey as a young, queer woman exploring feminism, love, relationships, family, self-care, neo-colonialism, patriotism, and social justice. Written in both Sesotho and English, ‘Mile  highlights the importance of vulnerable self-expression through the mother-tongue, especially for those of us who grew up in a generation that values English more than indigenous African languages. We think it’ll be a great read!

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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.