Call to revamp Marabeng Park
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.