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South Africa’s crucial water supplies from Lesotho: what the six-month shutdown means for industry, farming and residents

South Africa’s crucial water supplies from Lesotho: what the six-month shutdown means for industry, farming and residents

THE main water supply to South Africa’s economic hub, greater Johannesburg in the Gauteng province, and to the country’s breadbasket in the Free State, is scheduled to be cut off for six months. Maintenance work on the 37-kilometre Lesotho Highlands Water Project tunnel is due to begin in October 2024. Ifedotun Victor Aina, a senior researcher at the Water and Production Economics Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, takes a critical look at who could be affected by the shutdown and what might happen. What is the Lesotho Highlands Water Project? Why is it so important? It is…
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Methane gas explosion killed 31 in disused S.African mine

Methane gas explosion killed 31 in disused S.African mine

A methane gas explosion in a disused South African mine killed at least 31 people last month believed to be from neighbouring Lesotho, South Africa's energy department said on Friday. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) had said late on Thursday that South Africa was investigating the deaths, which occurred in a ventilation shaft in the shuttered Virginia mine in the country's Free State province. Lesotho's foreign ministry reported the incident to Pretoria, it said. The DMRE said an investigation into the incident with the help of Harmony Gold - the previous owner of the mine which ceased operations…
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The making of Lesotho’s robust cycling culture

The making of Lesotho’s robust cycling culture

Author: LEE NXUMALO Photographer: WAYNE REICHE THREE decades ago, Lesotho’s cycling culture was non-existent. Bicycles were just used as a means of transport or for recreational purposes. But through the contribution of various people, and the backing of an entire community, the sport is now one of Lesotho’s most visible codes and has even produced Olympians.   The most important seeds in the growth of cycling in Lesotho were planted in the early 2000s when a small group of Basotho riders travelled to South Africa to compete on a scholastic and professional level. At that time, road racing was the only popular…
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To what extent does climate change affect food insecurity? What we found in Lesotho

To what extent does climate change affect food insecurity? What we found in Lesotho

FOOD security is a growing concern globally, with two billion people being subject to moderate to severe food insecurity in 2019 according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. Food security consists of four interconnected pillars: food availability (how much is produced), food access (can people afford food), food use (how is food prepared and consumed) and stability (how stable is the food supply and consumption). FRIEDERIKE OTTO, Associate Director, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford JASPER VERSCHUUR, DPhil Student, University of Oxford Large-scale droughts can have cascading impacts on all these four pillars. They can reduce yield which…
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‘Groundbreaking’ Lesotho study reveals high cost of domestic violence

‘Groundbreaking’ Lesotho study reveals high cost of domestic violence

EMMA BATHA COUNTRIES could save billions of dollars a year by tackling the "disgusting pandemic" of domestic violence, the Commonwealth secretary-general said as economists estimated the scourge cost the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho 5.5% of GDP. Patricia Scotland said domestic violence burdened health, police and judicial services, led to absenteeism at work and school, and permanently damaged children who witnessed it, impacting future generations. About one in three women in Lesotho has suffered physical or sexual violence - often by a partner, similar to the global prevalence rate, according to a Commonwealth study published on Friday. Analysts calculated this…
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Happy anniversary, Lesotho

Happy anniversary, Lesotho

THE history of people living in the area now known as Lesotho goes back as many as 40,000 years. Present Lesotho (then called Basutoland) emerged as a single polity under paramount chief Moshoeshoe I in 1822. Under Moshoeshoe I, Basutoland joined other tribes in their struggle against the Lifaqane associated with the reign of Shaka Zulu from 1818 to 1828. Subsequent evolution of the state was shaped by contact with the British and Dutch colonists from Cape Colony. Missionaries invited by Moshoeshoe I developed orthography and printed works in the Sotho language between 1837 and 1855. The country set up diplomatic channels and acquired guns for use against the encroaching Europeans and the Korana people.…
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