MASERU – A new local awards ceremony billed to change the narrative of the negativity surrounding young Basotho who are entangled in ill-fated lifestyles is in the pipeline. Basotho Youth Achievement Awards (BYAA) is a first annual event organised by St Vincent Catholic Church in Honour of Basotho who excelled in their areas of Business, daily sustainability, sports, personal development and income generation for self, for other individuals and the government/country in general.
Basotho who have made a mark in their different disciplines and who should be given a tap on the shoulder for the hard work that they put in, this will be held on July 1, at CRC Hall in the afternoon. There are eleven categories of recognition to be awarded. The categories are Spiritual and Inspirational Leadership, Digital Innovator, Fashion Beauty Decor and Lifestyle, Sports and Athletics, Music and Entertainment, Community Champion, Tourism Champion of the Year, Legal and Political Champion, Best Agricultural Pioneer, New-comer of the Year; and lastly Sam Matekane (Best Entrepreneur).
The BYAA is an initiative aimed at changing the narrative of negativity surrounding young Basotho who are embroiled in unfortunate lifestyles of crime, joblessness and high numbers of school dropouts.
The church as the guardian of souls found it necessary to ask itself what it can do to salvage the youth from these dire situations. “The country lives in fear of its children joining “manomoro” gangs and there is an increasing number of youth becoming victims of human trafficking. Unwanted pregnancies are on the rise, early marriages, depression that is driving our youth to a point of committing suicide, drug abuse and other day to day challenges faced by our youth,” says ‘Mampeke ‘Mokela, organiser and manager St Vincent.
Having recognised that there have been several awards given to various sections of the public and that youth had been left behind and our church as a very diversified body with many duties that it does, she added. The church’s focus is not only spiritual development therefore the focus is also towards community as a social responsibility and has engaged in activities like: career guidance for School leaving youth, counselling of men, counselling of women, empowerment of couples and last but not least support of widows and widowers on how to cope with lose. “We found it befitting to divert and direct our energy now to honour youth who are doing commendable work in their different disciplines.
The hope and goal is that by honouring these youth, others will be inspired to look at life through a different lens of hope instead of hopelessness, of courage instead of despair, of action instead of depression, spearheading them to discover their talents and encouraging them to follow-up on their dreams,” she said. The nomination process was done through public nominations in which about 10 or more individuals were nominated on each category, next came selection of Top 5 within the mostly nominated individuals to the voting stage. Top 5 will be voted for until end of May where there will be a Top 3 selection in each category. The Top 3 runners will take us to the day of the event where the winner will be unveiled.
Some of the activities of the day include music from Minister Spokes who will put the audience in the spiritual realm, Thope tse khang to remind them of their Sesotho roots, DJ Solaz and Ntoane Band as well as more up-coming artists that have requested to support the event.
‘Matli Mohapeloa, a Lesotho born male actor who now resides in South Africa and has acted in numerous soapies, will MC the event with female from Lesotho whose identity is yet to be revealed to co-MC. The Guest of Honour will be ‘Madiako Louisa Mojela, one of the most accomplished Basotho women who is the CEO of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings; lately she was recognized in the 2023 FORBES Woman Africa and was awarded lifetime achievement award by FORBES Africa and CNBC Africa.
“As Basotho we have a Sesotho saying that says “bacha ba matla” and we have realized they have many ideas and innovative ones at that, these sometimes go unnoticed and die due to the fact that there is no platform on which they showcase them and also they have no one to back up their ideas.
It is through this awards that investors, partners, supporters will come forth to uplift these initiatives and help even those who have ideas but have not started yet,” ‘Mokela concluded. One of the nominees under the Fashion, Beauty, Decor and Lifestyle category, Lefa Khanare, founder and owner of Doxa n Kabod – a retail specializing in formal wear said “For me it’s about recognition of the hard work and effort I put in my work, winning the award would mean we are making an impact and would reflect the trust on how people relate to the brand.” BYAA plans to make this an annual event where they invite other churches to walk this journey of youth empowerment with them, also of cultivating the growing youth to ensure they are the best versions of themselves!