TSEKO THEJANE-Hlotse Urban Council COE


Date: September 5, 2018
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 “I do not mind working very hard as long as it is going to worth it at the end of the day”

Cllr Tseko was born in a very small village called Ha-Leshoele in the district of Leribe.He grew up there his whole life and attended schools there. After completing his Form C he decided to go to South Africa to look for a job. He mentioned that he felt that was a time to look after his family and be head of family as expected. He worked in SA for the 25 years and he was only coming home month ends and therefore he was not that hands on in the family, but only on financially wise. He mentioned that most men did not support their families when they were in SA and some even forgot about their children but that behaviour has never crossed his mind and he had always been a good parent.ntate Tseko started our conversation with those words. Cllr Tseko Thejane has such beautiful memory with Gender Links and he could not stop laughing when he recalled about the incident happened when he first met GL. It was on the 10th February 2014 when he first met Gender Links staff as they were going to hold COE Stages 4&5 for councillors. Apparently he did not know about the workshop as he came to the office for other stuff and that was then told about the workshop, but he refused to attend. Maybe GL saw potential in him in a way because they followed him outside and begged him and he agreed to attend the workshop for the whole week that was when his first journey started with GL and he promised he has never regretted any moment of that.

There was a time that he felt he was tired and needed to go back home so that he can do something different and also wanted to be close to his family. He came back home and he was working very hard in the farming industry and was helping people at any time. People started to recognise and encouraged him to participate in politics. He did not have any problem and within a short time he was a very active member. In 2012 when Lesotho was going for the Local government elections the community encouraged him to stand in for the elections under the political party and he felt that could be a good change and he stood. Unfortunately there was so much fights between him and other party members as some did not want him to stand in and his community members suggested that he stood in as an independent candidate and luckily he won those polls.

After winning the polls he became a councillor in Hlotse Urban council that happened to be one of our COES councils. He worked very hard in the council to see that his community is being taken care in all issues that affect them. He kept on working in his farm and was producing vegetables that was selling in different shops. He became very famous and most people respected him so much. He was a member in the council finance committee. He worked very hard to see that their budget met people’s needs even though it was not easy as they receive such small amount of money for council activities. The money that they had in the council was not enough and therefore it did not meet his community needs that he promised to fulfil once elected, but it did not stop him in assisting his community.

Through the money he was getting after selling his vegetables he negotiated with the Lesotho Electricity Company to help families that could not afford fees for installation of electricity and those families were able to get electricity. He would always put people’s needs first even before his family and sometimes they would fight with. There were too many challenges in his journey especially in his community as there were so many young people not working and it worried him so much, he decided to start project for them. Also people didn’t have site for graveyards and were travelling long distances when there was a funeral and he worked very hard to see that people got the nearest site. Roads were so bad and people had to travel long distances when going to town and the problem was that the budget they had in the council could not allow development in their different villages and therefore he had to make his plan. He was able to improve those small roads going through their village. He did not have any knowledge of gender and he was only working just like any Mosotho man, but after the workshop he had with Gender Links there was so much light and he felt that the workshop was a real an eye opener for him and he was able to see things differently.

After all these GL workshops he worked with community in small projects and he was able to teach them on gender and encourage men to participate in community projects as in most cases were the ones that very reluctant and believed that gender was women issue, but he kept on doing several public gatherings and now men are in better world and they are no longer considering gender as women thing.

As a very active member of the community and had realized that most people were very vulnerable because they were not working, he approached Ministry of Agriculture so that they can teach both women and men on how to plant mushroom and other part on catering. That was when he was realized importance of GL trainings as both women and men were participating and he was scared that maybe men won’t be happy as they used to consider catering as women’s stuff, but they all worked very hard and helped each other. He also taught them how to make floor matt with husk leaves and people were able to live out of these teachings.

Other councillors also realized that he works very hard in the council and was elected as a member of finance committee and he has been working very hard to see that COE process is growing as he visited neighbouring councils and introduce COE process. He however admits that it was not always been easy because some people did not want to hear anything about him and gender, but he persisted  and at the end they were able to come around and work together.

He described his journey as a quiet interesting journey because he felt that his life has changed and changed for the better. He however would love to see his community projects growing and more men in his village assisting him when doing public gathering that talking about gender issues and violence as he noticed it as a very huge and disturbing problem.