Mohloai Mpesi and Itumeleng Lebajoa
In a grand celebration at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on Monday, His Majesty King Letsie III marked his 60th birthday with dignitaries and well-wishers from near and far.
The event was attended by esteemed guests, including King Mswati III of Eswatini, who lauded King Letsie IIIâ€™s steadfast leadership and commitment to youth development and nutrition.
Among the prominent attendees were President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the United Nations Residential Coordinator, Paola Amadei, the European Head of Delegation, Maria E. Brewer, the American Ambassador, and Harry MacDonald, British High Commissioner to Lesotho, to name but a few.
A JOYFUL GATHERING OF BASOTHO
The celebrations commenced early in the day, with thousands of enthusiastic Basotho filling the 20,000-seat national stadium. Joyful chatter, childrenâ€™s laughter, and ululations echoed throughout the venue, creating an atmosphere of shared excitement and unity.
Adding musical exuberance to the event, the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) band delivered a rhythmic performance with saxophones, trombones, drums, trumpets, and more.
The military parade, featuring different legions in their distinctive uniforms, demonstrated the nationâ€™s pride and honor for their beloved king.
KING MSWATI III COMMENDS KING LETSIE III’S LEADERSHIP
During the momentous occasion, King Mswati III delivered a heartfelt speech, praising the enduring friendship between Lesotho and Eswatini.
He acknowledged King Letsie IIIâ€™s recognition as the African Union (AU) Nutrition Champion and commended his dedication to youth development as the patron of the Prince Mohato Award.
â€œYour leadership acumen has been recognized by many, including the AU, which has entrusted you with the responsibility of being AU Nutrition Champion. This is a highly important role that champions the implementation of diverse policies and interventions to address malnutrition in all its forms through agriculture, food systems, and other areas,â€ King Mswati III said.
â€œFurthermore, your passion for youth development as Patron of the Prince Mohato Award, which seeks to motivate the Basotho youth towards self-realisation and community work, is highly commendable.
â€œWe do believe that it is for these, among many other reasons, that the people of Lesotho have turned to you to lead the way during the most challenging of times. They are lucky to have you as their leader,â€ King Mswati III declared.
He commended â€œthe development we see in Lesothoâ€, saying it demonstrated a commitment by all citizens towards a shared vision aimed at improving their welfare and the general landscape of the country.
He also emphasised the enduring bonds between the two kingdoms, tracing back to the days of King Sobhuza II and King Moshoeshoe II.
â€œThe two kings enjoyed a very close relationship, which deeply united our nations,â€ he said.
â€œOne of our highways serves as a constant reminder of this bond, as it was named after King Moshoeshoe II by King Sobhuza II,â€ he added.
CULMINATION WITH A MAJESTIC CAKE CUTTING CEREMONY
The celebration culminated in the cutting of a big cake, adorned with the number â€œ60â€ in blue colors, by King Letsie III surrounded by his family; Her Majesty Queen â€˜Masenate, Princesses Senate and â€˜Maseeiso and Prince Lerotholi.
The royal family then went around the stadium graciously greeting the adoring crowds, and spreading warmth and joy among the people.
As the festivities came to an end, the attendees departed with hearts filled with pride and gratitude for a memorable celebration of a remarkable milestone in the life of their beloved king.