Call to re­vamp Marabeng Park

Lesotho Times - - News - Retha­bile Pitso

Non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Le­seli Green­ery, is lob­by­ing for the con­ver­sion of Marabeng Park in Berea dis­trict to a botan­i­cal gar­den camp for the preser­va­tion of in­dige­nous fauna and to gen­er­ate in­come for the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity.

Ac­cord­ing to Le­seli Green­ery Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, Ntha­be­leng Rathaha, the or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to ed­u­cate Ba­sotho about na­ture con­ser­va­tion by es­tab­lish­ing net­works with com­mu­nity-based as­so­ci­a­tions so as to cre­ate jobs.

“We tar­get com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tions and en­cour­age ac­tive youth in­volve­ment as well as dif­fer­ent sup­port groups,” said Ms Rathaha.

“In Up­per Thamae, for ex­am­ple, Le­seli Green­ery and other or­gan­i­sa­tions in the area ini­ti­ated the de­mar­ca­tion of Me­jamet­a­lana Dam which was not pro­tected and the project has since been taken up by the Maseru City Coun­cil.”

She added that the idea to con­vert Marabeng Park into a botan­i­cal gar­den camp was spawned af­ter the clar­ion call by the Le­sotho Tourism Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (LTDC) for com­mu­ni­ties to get more in­volved in pre­serv­ing their sur­round­ings for pos­ter­ity and to at­tract tourists.

Marabeng Park, which is sit­u­ated in Berea along the Main North 1 road, also has a ne­glected thor­ough­fare which has be­come syn­ony­mous with braais and as a hang­out spot. Herders in the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties also use the park as a pas­ture for their cat­tle.

Ms Rathaha said the pro­posed camp­site would cre­ate jobs since care­tak­ers would be em­ployed to keep the place clean and san­i­tary. “The camp­site would also pro­vide space for busi­ness peo­ple to dis­play in­dige­nous prod­ucts for sale,” she said.

Le­seli Green­ery Mar­ket­ing Manager Khot- so­falang Makashane also chipped in say­ing the pro­posed camp­site would be fenced and only ad­mit pay­ing vis­i­tors. He said they would plant var­i­ous in­dige­nous plants into the botan­i­cal gar­den to pre­serve them and show­case them to vis­i­tors.

“There are many dis­tinct plants grow­ing in Le­sotho that we can­not af­ford to lose and our big­gest aim in cre­at­ing the con­ser­va­tion area is to ed­u­cate peo­ple about their benefits,” said Mr Makashane.

“Many of th­ese plants have medic­i­nal prop­er­ties while some just beau­tify the coun­try. We want Le­sotho to re­main beau­ti­ful and un­pol­luted. That is why the Marabeng Park should not con­tinue to be ne­glected.

“We are not say­ing peo­ple should stop vis­it­ing the park, but we want pay­ing vis­i­tors so that the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties can ben­e­fit.”

He said they were also ad­vo­cat­ing for the Moshoeshoe I statue in Se­fikeng, Maseru to be de­vel­oped into a na­ture con­ser­va­tion area as well.

“We are lob­by­ing for that place to be spruced up with in­dige­nous plants around the statue of Moshoeshoe I in or­der to in­crease the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the area,” Mr Makashane said.

“At the mo­ment, the place is hardly gen­er­at­ing any rev­enue but that would change once the place is up­graded.”

Le­seli Green­ery Mar­ket­ing Manager Khot­so­falang Makashane (left) and Gen­eral sec­re­tary Ntha­be­leng Rathaha.

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