Fatere loses finger

MASERU — Popular jazz musician, Sechaba ‘Fatere’ Litabe (pictured), lost part of his right thumb after a firecracker exploded in his hand on New Year’s Eve.
The musician, who was crowned Lesotho’s best jazz musician in 2007 and 2008, said he was trying to demonstrate to his children how to explode the firecracker when it suddenly went off, blowing away his thumb.
He was rushed to Berea Hospital where doctors unsuccessfully tried to reattach the thumb.
Narrating his nightmare to the Lesotho Times at Berea Hospital yesterday, Fatere said he was preparing to celebrate the arrival of 2010 in style when a blinding flash turned his world upside down.
“Ke se khaotse ka mali le monoana oa letsoho o motono (I painfully bore the brunt of celebrating the New Year with blood and losing my right thumb),” Fatere said.
The singer said he had taken his three children out for dinner at a local hotel on the fateful night and decided to head home just before midnight. 
“I was with my children as their mother had gone to Bloemfontein that afternoon. We arrived home at around 23:45hrs and were setting-off firecrackers together.
“But there were just this one with a warning message on it, saying it must be exploded under parental supervision.
“I decided to do just that before I could hand over some of the firecrackers to my children. But before I knew it, it exploded right in my hand.”
Fatere said his brother then rushed him to the local hospital, only to be told that the doctors could do little to save his thumb.
Fatere, meanwhile, has said the injury was seriously threatening his musical career.
“I was working on my gospel album which was scheduled for release later this month. My second afro-jazz album was also due at Easter. Now I’m forced to abandon these albums.
“I cannot go into the studio because I can’t play any musical instrument. I cannot say when the albums will  be released because I’m going to start learning how to play the instruments without my thumb after the hand has completely healed.”
A nurse at the Berea hospital who declined to be named told the Lesotho Times that Fatere was recuperating well.
She, however, advised Fatere to keep exercising his fingers “constantly” to avoid paralysis.
“You must make sure that you move them almost every time because if you don’t, by the time you heal they might be paralysed,” she told a bewildered Fatere.
Fatere said the incident made him realise why the police were always warning people about the use of firecrackers.
“Now I understand why they (police) are sometimes banning some of these firecrackers,” he said.

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