Lesotho celebrates His Majesty King Letsie III’s 51st Birthday
On the 17th of July, one of our directors, Stephen Phakisi, had the honor of being invited to His Majesty King Letsie III’s 51st birthday held in Mokhotlong in Lesotho.
The King’s birthday, a public holiday celebrated annually on July 17th, is a major cultural event in Lesotho, where the royal family is a symbol of unity amid political strife (SABC, 2014).
A new blanket and traditional seshoeshoe fabric have been designed for this celebration, and rehearsals for a military parade and cultural performances have begun (SABC, 2014).
Stephen accounts his experience of the celebrations.
His Majesty King Letsie III’s 51st birthday was held in my home town where he previously was for his 41st birthday 10 years ago. The experience was so humbling and moving for me personally as one of His Majesty’s VIP Invitees for the event.
My day commenced with Breakfast with the Royals very early morning before the event at the principal Chief’ home, Ntate Mathealira Seeiso. Everybody in the chieftainship home was very jubilant and in a hurry to be on time for the “Arrival Order”.
The public started gathering from 07H00 at the Mokhotlong Pitso house for the 51st King’s birthday. All Dignitaries and His Majesty’s guests started arriving from 09H20 to 09H45Hrs. I was fortunate enough to be on the Arrival Order driving the Principal Chief of Mokhotlong, arriving at the venue after the Prince and Princesses. When the Star of the show arrived just after 10H00, he was in his black “MK registered” Merc surrounded by at least sixteen (16) mounted police.
He was welcomed with a Royal Salute upon arrival with the Military Brass Band playing celebration numbers. We all stood up to welcome him and the celebrations commenced with the National Anthem. The “Royal Standard was broken at Mast-head” with the 21-Gun Salute commencing shortly while His Majesty inspected the “Guard of Honour”. This was then followed by a beautiful and well-choreographed parade of colorful troops and performances that seemingly continued for more than an hour without interruptions. It was such a colorful and engulfing celebration that it could have gone on and on with people still glued onto their sits.
When the band and the parade finally left the grounds for the last time, His Majesty followed them, now leaving the grounds in reverse order, signifying that the festivities were complete. The public stood with astonishment still hoping for more, the day was so magical for all.”
SABC. (2014) Lesotho residents celebrating King’s birthday Thursday, [Online], Available: http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/2b03138044bf7ab3ae69bf69be1f1b5a/Lesotho-residents-celebrating-Kings-birthday-Thursday-20140716 [01 Aug 2014].