DRESSED in khaki trousers, white T-shirt and a traditional blanket Seanamarena, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso could have been easily mistaken for any one of the ordinary people who attended his golden jubilee birthday celebrations yesterday.
Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, affectionately known as Tšoana-Mantata, was born on 16 April, 1966 and is the second son of the late King Moshoeshoe II and Queen ‘Mamohata Seeiso.
“I am very happy that you all came from all the corners of our country to celebrate with me. I must also thank God for protecting ‘M’e ‘Maselala and I, giving us true love which has yielded three children – Selala, ‘Masentle and Masupha,” said Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso.
Multitudes – be it ordinary people and dignitaries, the young and old, traditional dancers and church groups – came out in full force and descended on Matsieng to celebrate with the royal family.
However, it could have been a different story if the Prince had had his way. He told the hundreds who joined in celebrating his 50th birthday that he had envisaged a small and intimate affair only to be talked out of it by his wife who had a much bigger event planned.
“‘M’e ‘Maselala (Princess ‘Mabereng) persuaded me to host a bigger celebration, arguing that the nation had to celebrate my birthday with me. I am grateful that she had such foresight,” Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso said.
And the royal became very much the life and soul of the party, singing and dancing with the various Christian denominations from the Catholics to St John Apostolic Faith Mission.
“The St John Church in Lekokoaneng has special water which gives life to the people and they are a part of our Christian lives. I want us to rejoice with them,” he said.
Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, who is also Senate president, attributed all his leadership achievements to his wife, describing her as his pillar of strength.
“Today I am going to tell you my secret. I am only able to stand before you because I draw strength from my wife,” he said.
“I draw the inspiration to preach unity and reconciliation from this woman. Thank you very much my love for agreeing to be my wife.”
The principal chief of Matsieng also thanked his brother, King Letsie III, for standing by him during their darkest hours when they lost their sister, father and mother.
“You (King Letsie III) always told me to take courage, soldier on and trust in God to show us the way during our darkest hours and I thank you for standing by me,” he said.
Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso also used the occasion to remind chiefs of the importance of upholding the rule of law and shunning corruption.
“We need to ensure that we uphold equality and we shun favouritism to ensure peace and reconciliation among our people. This will lead to prosperity,” he said.
“I would also want to thank the Prime Minister (Pakalitha Mosisili) and his government for coming to celebrate with me and pray that God immerses us in love so that this country can be big enough to accommodate every Mosotho.”
For his part, Dr Mosisili said that Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso a real “man of the people.”
“You have demonstrated your ability to interact easily with different types of people and I must mention that you are blessed with leadership skills,” Dr Mosisili said, adding that the Prince was at one point the country’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
“We are this year witnessing three jubilees – our country’s independence, the Christian Council of Lesotho’s 50th anniversary and your birthday. I pray that through these jubilees, Lesotho will unite.”
King Letsie III spoke on behalf of the royal family and praised Princess ‘Mabereng for ensuring that Prince Seeiso celebrates his birthday in style. He also lauded Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso for his fun-loving and sociable nature.
“I must thank you because you have listening skills and that makes me happy. You are a people’s person. You love fun and while this is a good thing, this usually gets me into trouble with my children,” His Majesty said.
“Sometime last year or in 2014, my children spent the whole day with you and when we were having dinner they said ‘Ntate Mantata is so much fun, dad you are so boring’.
“My brother loves fun. I am sure he didn’t just join Sacred Heart Sodality for spiritual purposes but for fun as well because he loves fun. However, it is not wrong to love fun because God gave us life for us to have fun.”