Nomaswati fuses siSwati and Sesotho

Award-winning TV anchor’s quest for her roots

LESAOANA SEKETE

MASERU – A passion for the Sesotho language and culture has set Nomaswati Tshabalala Letšolo apart from her colleagues and peers, and she is now taking ownership of her personal brand.

The award-winning Radio and Television News anchor is renowned for a strong command of her mother tongue, Sesotho.

She first shot to public limelight with her creative stringing of some of the almost forgotten Sesotho poems and idioms at the end of each Sesotho bulletin she read on Lesotho Television.

She has been with the government broadcaster for the past 11 years.

Besides TV presenting, Nomaswati is a spoken word artist that dabbles in hosting events as Master of Ceremonies (MC) and entertainer. She was recently MC at the 2021 Moshoeshoe Lecture graced by His Majesty King Letsie III, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and several cabinet ministers, among other dignitaries.

She has also performed her personally written poetry as a dedication to mothers during the Mother’s Day celebrations this year. Nomaswati has recited numerous of her poems in celebration of Basotho heroes and heroines.

A woman of faith Nomaswati told Life&Style she is also an interpreter at a church she goes to, Word of Life Ministries.

“I do a lot of things; I have also been part of a sports motivation event meant to rehabilitate young people currently going through rehabilitation at the Lesotho Defense Force. I work with orphanages as well to motivate kids and secure food and clothing sponsors for them.

“I also model in my traditional regalia, ‘Mose oa khomo and Thethana’ for different companies which I can’t disclose yet as preparations to officialise things are in progress,” Nomaswati said.

“My inspiration has a long history to it. I come from a family that values and upholds culture and tradition; my family has one of those historic stories of travelling from eSwatini and settling in Lesotho, but my forefathers never lost their roots.

“I was born in Qacha’s Nek but my home is in Hlotse Ha Moliebeli, Leribe, hence my stage name ‘Namane ea Nare’. So in a venture to trace my roots and be conversant with both my Swati culture and language, I thought to myself, why not take the culture I was born in along, so I did,” she continued.

Nomaswati further pointed out that upon arrival at the Lesotho National Broadcasting Services she was mentored by Ratokelo Nkoka, who is a renowned Sesotho language expert, historian and an author.

Among her motivators, she counts the likes of Maloka Phamotse and Rethabile Likoche, who loved her sign out note with ‘maele a Sesotho’ and offered to assist me her books and music that would enhance her Sesotho to where it is today.

Nomaswati scooped multiple awards in various nominations.

In 2011, she took home the News Reader of the Year TV 2011, the News Reader of the Year Radio 2011 – both in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology.

In 2018 she was a runner-up as one of the Top 3 nominees under the Community Champions Category at the Finite Women Appreciation Awards held by Finite Magazine.

She has also scooped the outstanding and generous performance as TV News Anchor in 2019 by the Women Empowerment Code. Just this year she also took home an Appreciation Award for Strong Sesotho Language Command 2021 by ‘Basotho ba ikopantseng ‘moho le LNBS’.

“I appreciate my supporters so much and I draw strength from their love which says to me Basotho long for their identity and they have come to realise that trying to copy other nations profits us nothing.

“My secret in delivering the Sesotho bulletin eloquently is telling myself that I was born original and will not to die a copy. I own what I deliver and ensure viewers will be able to appreciate and own it too.”

 

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