MASERU — Sam Matekane’s name has always been associated with success and breaking new ground.
Since he ventured into business in 1986, Matekane, 52, has continued to defy the odds.
Today he stands tall among his peers in business as a symbol of dedication and hard work.
On Wednesday Matekane’s meteoric rise in business was paraded for all to see.
And his success is soaring high into the heavens.
The “house” that Matekane built finally came of age.
On Wednesday the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) officially launched two aircrafts, largely seen as the pride of Basotho.
This was a Hawker 700A private jet and the Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter.
The two aircraft, which arrived in Lesotho last December, are worth a staggering M40 million.
Matekane became the first Mosotho to own a private jet and a helicopter.
Speaking at the official launch, a member of the MGC management team, Toloane Matekane, said this was a dream come true.
He said the company had for years dreamt of venturing into the aviation industry.
“We have had this plan for a long time and we are happy that this plan has finally happened,” said Toloane.
“We hope to develop MGC aviation into a bigger airline and add more planes in the future.”
Toloane said the company was determined to provide the best service in the aviation industry which has always been synonymous with the company.
“I would like to assure everyone that we will provide good and timely business services that we have always provided to the nation throughout the years,” he said.
Toloane said the two aircraft will be used for private hire by companies, individuals and the government for both local and international flights.
Lesotho does not have its own national airline.
Its Lesotho Airways went bust in 1996.
The MGC is an integrated private company with interests in mining, load-and-hauling services, construction, property development and commercial farming.
Speaking at the same occasion, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili congratulated Matekane for being the first Mosotho to venture into the aviation business.
Mosisili said the partnership between the government and the private sector held the key to improving Lesotho’s economy and creating jobs for the unemployed.
“We as government wish to congratulate them for this milestone and we will render all the necessary support,” Mosisili said.
He said the government will in future hire the plane for official purposes as a way of supporting the private sector in the country.
“This is through hard work and dedication of the management and staff at Matekane Group of Companies,” Mosisili said.
The Hawker 700A twin-engine private jet has a seating capacity of eight and can cruise at speeds of between 800 and 900 kilometres per hour.
This means a flight from Maseru to Cape Town could take just an hour and 10 minutes while a flight from Maseru to Johannesburg could take just 35 minutes.
A flight from Maseru to Durban could take 30 minutes.
The Hawker 700A jet is already providing charter services in conjunction with a South African airline.
Matekane began his career when he launched a transport and plant hire business in 1986.
He founded the MGC in 1992.
He says he grew up selling “everything” from wool to mohair to bones.
Matekane is married to `Mamakara and the couple is blessed with a daughter and five sons.