Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA ) Lesotho chapter marked the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) with the launch of Butha-Buthe Community Radio; Moeling FM in the Butha-Buthe district (northern of Lesotho). The radio station is the country’s fourth community radio after Motjoli FM (Thaba-Tseka Community Radio), Mafeteng Community Radio and DoPE FM of the National University of Lesotho.
The event was graced with the presence and speeches by the newly appointed Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Khotso Letsatsi, Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) Chief Executive Office Mr. Manehela Phosholi, Head of Media and Research of the Institute of Extra Mural Studie;, Mrs. Mabela Khabele, Butha-Buthe District Administrator Mr Lehlohonolo Qhasho, Moeling FM inventor; Mr. Taoana Lerole and MISA Lesotho National Director; Mr. Tsebo Mats’asa.
Moeling FM is a brainchild of one Taoana Lerole; a radio set repairer of Mabothile (a village on the out skirts of Butha-Buthe town). Lerole, a standard 6 dropout put together pieces of radio sets together to build his radio station in 2012.
The radio was cut off-air the same year since it was operating without a lincense. It is illegal for anyone to operate a radio station in Lesotho without registering it with the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA). The radio station also did not have standard equipment. The radio station was operated from Lerole’s family home with the antenna mounted on a tree at a backyard of house while a transmitter was made of a DVD player.
In effort to assist Lerole to achieve his dream of his home place having a radio station run from the home town, United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Commission in Lesotho advanced a helping hand with funds to see Lerore’s invention becoming a reality.
UNESCO commission does not assist individual projects, therefore the community of Butha-Buthe was advised to support and join Lerole’s project through their indigenous groups in the district in order to secure funding from UNESCO.
UNESCO thereafter approached MISA Lesotho and handed it the project’s funds to help the community of Buthe-Buthe community to design and build the radio’s studio. The station is premised in a staff residential house of the office of the District Administrator (DA) and was unoccupied for more than a year when the DA decides that the community may use it to house the radio station
Besides providing support for the establishment of the studio, MISA Lesotho also provided governance training to the Radio Board Members on how to run a Community Radio Station. MISA Lesotho also provided training to the newly appointed radio presenters starting Friday the 22nd ending Sunday the 24th May 2015. The purpose of the training was to equip the volunteers with skills to professionally produce programmes of good quality.
During the celebration, Lerole was also awarded a certificate and trophy in recognition of his innovation and the deference it is going to bring to the community of Butha-Buthe by the office of Butha-Buthe District Administrator’s office.
For more information, please contact:
Tsebo Mats’asa, National Director
Tel: + 266 2232 0941