MASERU — The city is buzzing with activity.
The festive breeze is blowing everywhere.
Ear-splitting music booms from speakers placed at shop entrances.
Christmas decorations adorn most shops and offices.
With Christmas just this week, families are shopping up a storm in preparation for the big day.
Spirits are high and nothing deters them — not even the global economic meltdown.
‘Mathato Lebale said she would not let the recession stop her from celebrating Christmas the “traditional way”.
Lebale’s two children are excited by the shopping spree.
Little Thato and Lerato run around a local children’s clothing store.
They are both excited their mother has brought them along to buy their Christmas clothes.
Their mother says she could not deprive them of the joy of having new clothes at this time of the year.
She said the kids had been pestering her since schools closed early this month.
“They have been reminding me almost everyday about buying them new clothes,” she said.
“I could not say no.
“I think this is the most joyous moment they could ever have in a year.”
At Sefika bus stop, 11-year-old Limpho Phiri was waiting patiently for her turn to get her hair done.
She had been looking forward to this day, she said.
Limpho excitedly said her hairstyle this season would be a “Waterfall”.
“It is an in-fashion, hair-braiding style. I will be beautiful this Christmas. I cannot wait,” Limpho said.
She was not the only one in the queue.
It has been good news for hairdressers who have been smiling all the way to the bank.
Limakatso Shebile, a hairdresser, said this season promised to be even better than previous years.
“People are already coming in large numbers. More appointments are pouring in,” Shebile said excitedly.
“The last two days before Christmas will be hectic. Not that I am complaining.
“The more people we have, the more money we make.”
Down at the new Pioneer Shopping Centre, Christmas was already in the air by last week.
People flocked in and out of the shops.
Almost every single person had a parcel or two — no one came out empty-handed.
“This is the only day in a year when we can enjoy the fruits of our toil,” said Setefane, a Maseru resident, about Christmas.
“Those of us who have worked hard deserve a little joy.
“I cannot wait for the day.
“I am going to enjoy good food with my wife and three kids.
“We will party and drink with friends.”
‘Mateboho Ralekhetla, an assistant at the new shopping centre, said Christmas had never made her so excited.
Ralekhetha said her job was to help people around the mall, ensuring they found the shops they would be looking for.
She had never done this kind of work before and said she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
“This is nicer than I had imagined. Showing people around has so much immersed me in the Christmas spirit. I like it,” an excited Ralekhetla said.
Her workmate, Nthabiseng Matlhare, said she was looking forward to the few days before Christmas.
Matlhare said more people had been shopping since the opening of the mall a month ago.
“More and more people have been doing their shopping since the mall was opened to the public last month,” she said.
“In the next few days, the mall will be filled with a lot people. There will a lot of work to do.”
This is the first year Sammy Tlali has been so involved in pre-Christmas activities.
Tlali said he had been over the moon since he started his job as Santa Claus’ assistant.
He said his job was most enjoyable — entertaining children and taking pictures of them with Santa.
“We take pictures of children and families with Santa. It is the most amazing thing to do,” he said.
“We then decorate pictures or create calendars. Kids love it. It is such a good feeling.”
Tlali said he was looking forward to this week when there will be lots of activity.
“Next week will be even better. People will be coming in large numbers. Children will thoroughly enjoy the experience here,” Tlali told the Sunday Express on Friday.
‘Manoka Molise said she was going to prepare a “feast” for her close relatives come Christmas Day.
Molise said it was her family’s tradition to contribute money and have a “small” party every Christmas.
This year, the party will be at her home in Katlehong, Maseru, she said.
“I am going to prepare delicious food for my family,” she said.
“Christmas is a time for family members to re-bond after a year of hard work.”
Nthako ‘Mate said nothing beat the festive season joy like a Christmas eve vigil at church.
‘Mate goes to the Anglican Church of Lesotho.
He said the night vigil was not one to miss.
“The Christmas eve vigil is like the peak of all the church services of the year. The nights are normally celebrated with songs that praise the birth of Jesus Christ,” ‘Mate said.
But not everyone is pleased with the way the festive season has turned out in comparison to previous years.
Ratsuba Ratsuba, a cab driver in Maseru, said business had not improved this festive season.
Ratsuba said this year business had been slower compared to 2008.
He said in “normal pre-Christmas” days they would not be fighting for passengers.
“On good days, passengers would be lining up for taxis,” he said.
“But now we have to fight for them. This is not good at all.
“We might be herding for worse days.”
But Ratsuba said he was not going to sulk and spoil his mood because of poor business.
“I am going to enjoy the food and music with my family. This is going to be a merry Christmas for us all,” he said.