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Education foundation launched

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — The Khaketla family and friends on Friday officially launched the ‘Masechele Khaketla Education Foundation.

The foundation was formed to honour Dr Masechele Khaketla, who has worked for more than 50 years in Lesotho’s education sector. Dr Khaketla is the mother of current Education Minister ‘Mampono Khaketla.

The launch was held at Maseru Sun Hotel. His Majesty King Letsie III and Her Majesty Queen Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso were among the dignitaries present.

Dr ‘Masechele was born Caroline Ntseliseng Ramolahloane on January 1, 1918.

She is recognised for scoring a number of firsts for Lesotho’s women. She was the first female Mosotho to obtain a degree and has 12 books to her name.  Along with her colleagues Mrs E Mosese and Mrs M Lebelentlele, she formed the Ikhetseng Private School in 1960.

In 1979, Dr Khaketla scored another first by becoming the first woman to be appointed an assessor of the High Court of Lesotho. She was also the first Mosotho woman to be accorded a DLitt et Phil Honorary Doctorate by her alma mater, Fort Hare University.

The education foundation formed in her honour has been set up to help children from needy families to complete their basic education by providing school fees and related necessities.

Speaking at the launch Health Minister Mphu Ramatlapeng, one of the trustees of the foundation, said: “The premise is that all of us who have gone to school through the support of someone, be a parent, a sibling, a relative or even a complete stranger find it necessary to plough back through sponsoring someone less-privileged.”

She added that while ‘M’e Masechele was no longer teaching; her legacy should live on through making education accessible to every Mosotho child.

Ramatlapeng said despite the government’s efforts of making education accessible to all, a lot of children were still not attending school.

“The government cannot do it all on its own. We need individual citizens of this country, whether living in Lesotho or outside, to take the challenge to make a difference in sponsoring at least one child who they are not related to,” she said.

She added: “The sponsorship should enable the child to go to school and study without hindrance. It should cover school fees, books and stationery, examination fees, uniforms, groceries, toiletries and transport. Using the current fee structure in Lesotho, a donation of M5 000 per term will help cater for the needs of one high school student.”

Describing what it was like to have  Dr ‘Masechele as a mother, Minister Khaketla said she was a pillar of strength and a wonderful mother.

“I have known ‘Me’ Masechele for 50 of her 92 years and one thing I can tell you about her is that mastering language was something very important to her. She would assign you a task using a deep vernacular phrase and if you didn’t understand the meaning, you would find yourself doing the wrong thing,” Khaketla said.

She also described her as a very strict woman who was particular about household chores.

“Mom was a provider. She worked at Lesotho High School during the day and Life High School at night to provide for the family.”

“She hated noise and it was always hard for a 15-child home to keep the noise down but we managed. She is a very positive individual who never took revenge when she was wronged,”  Ramatlapeng said.

Nthabiseng Phasumane, a former student, described ‘Masechele as a great teacher.

Phasumane said Dr ‘Masechele was an icon whose praises will be sang to those she impacted direct or indirectly.

“She broadened our horizons and instilled endurance in us. She empowered women to be strong individuals in their families and in their communities,” she said.

Phasumane said ‘Masechele the teacher was very particular with pronunciation and very stingy with marks.

“She ensured all her students are hard workers and would only award you full marks if she thought you had worked extremely very hard.”

South African artists Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya provided entertainment for the night.

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