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King Moshoeshoe comes alive on national television
2004-11-02

Honourable Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili, Prime Minister of Lesotho, and his wife; King Letsie III of Lesotho and Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: Student Affairs at the UFS during the première of the film at the Royal Palace in Lesotho

The ground-breaking documentary film on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation, will come alive on Thursday 4 November 2004 when it is screened on SABC2 at 21:00

The film, called Moshoeshoe: The Renaissance King, forms part of a larger project by the University of the Free State (UFS) to honour the Moshoeshoe legacy of nation-building and reconciliation and to explore his role as a model of African leadership. It was produced by the well-known journalist Mr Max du Preez and commissioned by the UFS as part of its centenary celebrations.

The SABC2 screening was preceded by a première in Bloemfontein last month, and was attended by provincial political leaders.

This past weekend there was a première at the Royal Palace in Lesotho, which was attended by King Letsie III, the prime minister, the chief justice, judges, the president of the senate, cabinet ministers and directors-general.

“Through this documentary film the UFS commits itself to developing a shared appreciation of the history of this country and to the establishment of the Free State Province as a model of reconciliation and nation-building. King Moshoeshoe is also a strong common element, and binding factor, in the relationship between South Africa/the Free State, and its neighbour, Lesotho,” said Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“Not all people in South Africa know the history of Moshoeshoe. Many Basotho – but not all – are well versed in the history of Moshoeshoe, and his name is honoured in many a street, town and township. Many white people know little of him, or have a very constrained or even biased view of his role and legacy. In Africa and the world, he is much less known than, for instance, Shaka,” said Prof Fourie.

“King Moshoeshoe did a remarkable thing in forging a new nation out of a fragmented society. He also created a remarkable spirit of reconciliation and a remarkable spirit of leadership,” said Prof Fourie.

According to Prof Fourie we already benefit from his legacy: the people of the Free State share a tradition of moderation and reconciliation rather than one of aggression and domination. “For the UFS this is also part of real transformation – of creating a new unity amidst our diversity,” said Prof Fourie.

“We also find in the legacy of King Moshoeshoe the possibility of a “founding philosophy”, or “defining philosophy”, for the African renaissance. To develop this philosophy, we must gain a deeper understanding of what really happened there, of his role, of his leadership. Therefore the UFS will encourage and support further research into the history, politics and sociology of the Moshoeshoe period, including his leadership style,” said Prof Fourie.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
2 November 2004

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