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Moshoeshoe's legacy lives on in university's project: City Press - 2 May 2004
2004-10-14

 CITY PRESS                           2 MAY 2004   P8  

NEWS
JOHANNESBURG FINAL 

Moshoeshoe's legacy lives on in university's project

MATEFU MOKOENA


 

DRUMS were beaten and the sounds of traditional songs reverberated through corridors of the University of the Free State (UFS) as Basotho students gathered at the campus over the weekend to launch a project honouring their late great king, Moshoeshoe.

The launch was organised by the Lesotho Students Association and UFS management and was blessed by King Letsie III of Lesotho.

According to UFS rector and vicechancellor, Professor Frederick Fourie, the aim of the project is to make the legacy of Moshoeshoe a living part of the university.

He said the Moshoeshoe project will include a television documentary on his life as well as an anthology of creative writings, including prose and poetry, about him.

A television documentary is already being filmed and will be screened during an international conference at UFS in October.

Fourie said the university, as part of the project, is looking at the possibility of starting an annual Moshoeshoe memorial lecture that will focus on African leadership, nationbuilding and reconciliation.

He said the university would introduce a PhD-level research course into the life and legacy of Moshoeshoe.

The university management has also taken a decision to erect a statue of Moshoeshoe on the campus.

Fourie said the project was launched after the UFS delegation, led by him, met Letsie III.

"He wanted us to ensure the legacy of Moshoeshoe is honoured and treated with the respect he deserves."

His legacy "must live on -- not only for the Basotho, but for all South Africans, black and white, and for the entire African continent", he said.

"Living out such a legacy is indeed a fitting contribution to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) and to the maturing democracy that is being built here in South Africa," said Fourie.

He emphasised Moshoeshoe was and remains a model of African leadership.

Fourie said Moshoeshoe's diplomacy and commitment to peace put him on a par with former president Nelson Mandela as a statesman.

It is Fourie's dream that, through this project, the UFS will be able to give real meaning to words such as reconciliation, respect for the diversity of languages and cultures and the unity that is needed to build a democratic nation.

The Lesotho Students Association secretary, Sofonea Shale, said for an institution like the UFS to honour Moshoeshoe demonstrates that he was a great leader. "For Basotho students, the project is very significant as it clearly defines who we are and what we stand for.

"We believe the research into the legacy of our great king Moshoeshoe will open doors for more research into the life of Basotho in general.

"Africa as a whole can learn from his leadership style," he said.


 

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