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From Mafeteng with love: The journey of Dallas T


… The sonic visionary elevating Lesotho’s music scene to global heights

Kananelo Boloetse

In the heart of the United States, Tello Joseph Leballo, affectionately known as Dallas T, is making waves in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a prestigious initiative by the U.S. Department of State.

This program brings together current and emerging foreign leaders, offering them a firsthand experience of America while fostering enduring connections with their American counterparts.

Leballo, a multifaceted individual, is a seasoned broadcaster, a luminary in the music consultancy sphere, and the visionary behind Lesotho’s trailblazing venture, Sky Alpha HD – the pioneer online radio station of the nation.

His influence extends to the realm of education as he serves as a luminary advisor in broadcasting, film, and television at the esteemed Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT).

Born in Mafeteng, Leballo’s journey in music began at ‘Mabathoana High School in Maseru, where he donned the hat of a Disk Jockey (DJ) and cultivated an enduring passion for broadcasting.

This zeal propelled him to embark on a series of intensive broadcasting studies, taking him from FlipSide Record in South Africa to HeadStart College in Cape Town, where he honed his language and communication skills.

His pursuit of knowledge did not halt there; Leballo further delved into the domains of Human Resources Management and Labor Relations at Tshwane University of Technology, garnering a comprehensive understanding of the industry.

His quest for excellence led him to Cairo Media School in Egypt and later to Nairobi, Kenya, where he absorbed valuable insights from the renowned Voice of America.

In 2001, Leballo commenced his journey at the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service (LNBS) as an intern, rapidly ascending the ranks to the esteemed position of Technical Officer in 2002.

A transition to the programs department rekindled his role as a Radio Presenter and DJ, solidifying his reputation as one of the most beloved radio personalities in the nation.

“Re batla Dallas T, Re batla Dallas T,” a resounding jingle synonymous with Leballo’s Radio Lesotho days, etched itself into the nation’s artistic fabric, captivating audiences far and wide.

Leballo’s legacy extends further with the establishment of The Ultimate Radio, Lesotho’s first and only government-owned commercial radio station, in 2006.

This groundbreaking endeavor, endorsed by the then Minister of Communications and later Prime Minister of Lesotho, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, marked a pivotal moment in the country’s media landscape.

His tenure at The Ultimate Radio, alongside Lesaoana Lesupi and the late Pearl Ocansey, was marked by a seamless inception that propelled urban contemporary music to the forefront.

The station served as a launchpad for numerous artists and radio luminaries, creating an indelible mark on Lesotho’s musical panorama. Leballo’s brainchild, The Ultimate Music Awards (UMA), stood as a testament to his dedication to the local music industry, recognising exceptional talent across various genres.

Categories including Famo, Gospel, Afro Pop, Kwaito, Music Video, Dance, Duo or Group, International Breakthrough, and Song of the Year were meticulously curated, with nominees vying for public support via SMS voting.

Leballo’s role as a Radio DJ and Presenter, spanning over a decade, catalyzed the rise of countless local artists. Names like Morena Leraba, Kommanda Obbs, Mookho Moqhali, Dunamis, Stlofa, and many more, owe a debt of gratitude to his unwavering support.

In every beat, every jingle, and every award, Dallas T’s influence reverberates through Lesotho’s vibrant music landscape, leaving an indelible mark for generations to come.

The impact of Dallas T transcends mere broadcasting. It is a cultural phenomenon that has woven itself into the tapestry of Lesotho’s musical heritage. His journey from Mafeteng to the global stage is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to the art of sound.

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