PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane on Saturday alternated between a comic and a dancer at his 79th birthday celebrations at Maseru Avani.
That he is the premier was temporarily forgotten as Dr Thabane seized every opportunity to show his dancing skills alongside his wife, ‘Maesaiah Thabane and a host of guests.
He danced to his All Basotho Convention party tracks with mojo befitting the occasion accompanied by hordes of party supporters on stage.
The story of the colourful event would be incomplete without mention of the rib cracking jibes that riddled Dr Thabane’s speech.
From jesting about his deputy, Monyane Moleleki’s grey hair to light hearted capers about the vast age difference between him and his wife, he kept the audience entertained for the 20 minutes that he spoke.
Dr Thabane said had it not been for his wife, he would have died.
“If she walks past a shop, sees a nice dress and says she likes it, I will buy it as payback,” Dr Thabane said in reference to her advice to flee to South Africa on the night of August 30 2014.
On the night, Dr Thabane said, they were already in bed when they received information that mercenaries had been dispatched to kill him. He said he had resigned to fate and knelt down to pray so that he could be accepted in heaven.
However, the First Lady told him to dress up and they fled the state house in a private car to South Africa where they spent two years.
He said although he was old, he was “a troublesome old man”.
“…Thank you so much my dear for looking after a man who is 10 times your age,” he said to a rapturous applause from the guests.
Dr Thabane got the audience laughing again when he said ‘Maesaiah sometime has to force him to eat.
“…The problem that this lady has is that I sometimes refuse to eat because I say I am not ready to eat now. She says you will eat now and I say I will not eat now and she says you will eat not now. You can guess what happens, I always end up eating,” he said as the audience exploded into laughter.
“Thank you very much my dear for the support you have given me. I am a troublesome old man but you put up with all that, why-I do not know,” he said drawing more laughter.
The event was also attended by a host of guests among them party members, diplomats, friends and family members.
Speaking on behalf of Dr Thabane’s children, his daughter, ‘Mabatšoeneng Hlaele said they have a loving father who had taught his children great life lessons. She said despite the family having many step children, they all regard each other as family.
“My father said work even when there is no one who gives you accolades. If you do well they will promote you. If they do not then you will get your reward in heaven,” she said.
‘Mabatšoeneng was dressed in an exquisite champagne sleeveless dinner dress. The other guests were also dressed to kill but Dr Thabane was clad in a navy-blue tuxedo while ‘Maesaiah wore a cream attire with gold elements.
Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Congress deputy leader, Prince Maliehe urged Basotho to be patient with the current government and continue supporting it.
For the entertainment, comedian Lilaphalapha kicked off the proceedings about two hours behind schedule. He nonetheless kept the audience entertained.
Bhudaza and Selimo Thabane also put up scintillating performances that had the guests grooving to their tracks.
The night however, belonged to the Village Pope, Tsepo Tshola who started off with the track Ho lokile before he belted out an emotional improvised happy birthday song that left the audience yearning for me. His short set was fluid and was complemented by the well-balanced sound.
South African Afro-soul singer Donald Moatshe also gave a good account of himself had his set not coincided with dinner. He however, had a bunch of ladies feeding off his palm.
The partying continued on Sunday afternoon with another fete at Setsoto Stadium where more South African and local artistes performed.
On the day, the birthday boy rocked a yellow suit while ‘Maesaiah was also dressed to kill in an elegant yellow long dress and coat. ABC legislators for different constituencies as well as the political party followers also blended in with party regalia or ordinary red and dominant yellow clothes.
ABC Stadium Area legislator, Mokherane Tsatsanyane, brought the crowds to a standstill with his convoy of luxury cars that were revved around the stadium.
Musical bands which included Sebili oa le ABC, Sebusi le ma ABC, Mohanoe le ABC, Nthako le Kobo, Moshe le ABC and Tsentle Lithabana Tsa ABC gave energetic performances performing praise songs for Dr Thabane.
Dr Thabane and the First Lady also joined legislators on stage to dance to the party’s anthem Thabane ke monna oa seberekane – loosely translated to mean Thabane is a hard-working man. The song’s unique dance also gave a spectacle which was however, repeatedly blocked by the Prime Minister’s bodyguards.
After the dancing and a thanksgiving speech for the supporters and the businessmen who supported the celebrations, Dr Thabane moved to cut one of the cakes that was displayed on the pitch.
Soon afterwards, musical outfit Rock the City gave a stellar performance that had the younger generations grooving.
Durban musician, Naakmusiq seized the opportunity of his performance to shake hands with the premier and expressed his love for the country. He then belted out tracks like Call Out, AmaBenjamin, Dance Till You Drop and Get Wit Me among others.
His 30 minutes set literally dragged the audience to the stage and bouncers were overpowered. The musician was relaxed all the way taking selfies with the audience and shaking hands with others.
Skipa se Ntekane hit-maker, Juvy’s performance drew deafening screams from the audience while others got busy to some serious dancing. He made his entrance with all-time Famo hit Mosali a Ritelang Hopose, before performing Disco and Se Ke Ile among others.
Yemba Shungu, Cablo Nice, Sekonyela Khesuoe and DJ Churchill also managed to keep the stage ablaze despite getting just short sets from the stage manager.
The most anticipated performance by South African princess of house music, Lady Zamar, came around 6pm but the chilly breeze that swept across Setsoto did nothing to deter the party.
She performed hits like My Baby, Collide, El’Diego, Pitori and Love is blind among others. Her dance moves also captivated the audience with some trying to imitate her. The songstress also pledged her love for the Lesotho and said she would love to come to the country again.
Selimo Thabane closed down the show with tracks like Khomo and Bafana Ba Supileng.