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Hundreds return home

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — It is 10am and the Maseru Bridge is congested; both human and vehicular traffic choke the country’s major border post.
On a Wednesday, two days before Christmas, hordes of Basotho are streaming into the country from South Africa.
Most have been away for a long time and cannot wait to see their families.
‘Makhatebe Maieane, of Sefikeng in Berea, said she was looking forward to seeing her children and husband after having been away since June.
Maieane said she had had a long journey from Vereeniging, Gauteng where she works as a domestic helper.
She could not wait to get home and have a good rest in her own home, Maieane said.
“I last saw my children six months ago. I miss them so much. I just cannot wait to see the surprise on their faces when I finally get home after such a long time,” she said.
“At last, I will be able to unwind. I need to rest. I have not had a chance to relax, in the past six months.”
When the Lesotho Times met Maieane, she was awaiting delivery of her luggage from the South African side, alongside scores of other migrant workers who appeared equally excited to be coming back home.
Maieane said her baggage was mostly second-hand clothing and food parcels — her children’s presents from her employer.
“My boss has given me clothes, which her own children were no longer wearing. They are good clothes and I know my children will be happy. I have also bought them new clothes for Christmas,” she said.
Another new arrival, Tebello Mohale of Mohale’s Hoek said she had left ‘Mamelodi in Pretoria where she works, at around 4am, arriving at the Maseru Bridge just after 09:30hrs.
Mohale looked exhausted when she spoke to the Lesotho Times at around 11am — a few minutes after crossing over into Lesotho.
Mohale said she wanted so badly to see her children after leaving them four months ago.
“I just want to go home to my kids. I miss them and my relatives so much. We are going to have so much fun together,” she said.
‘Matumelo Ramosi does not want anyone, anywhere near her stack of belongings.
She has bought clothes for her children, beautiful curtains and new bedding.
Ramosi said she felt happy with what she was bringing back home after a year away from her children and husband.
“I have done so well this year. I have managed to collect enough money to buy all this stuff. It was not easy, considering the little we earn as domestic workers.”
“My home is going to look beautiful and fresh with new curtains and bedding. Now, everybody will see why I am away from my family for so long,” she said.
Toka Toka says nothing feels better than coming home to his family.
Toka said he had not seen his wife and kid for “a long, long time”.
“I miss my family. It has been a long time since I last came home. It feels good, coming home and bringing back clothes, food and money for my family,” he said.
Meanwhile, chief immigration officer, Mpho Pulumo said hundreds of people — mostly Basotho — have been coming into the country since the beginning of the festive season.
“More people have been coming in since the beginning of December, compared to the other months. The numbers continue to increase. We don’t have the exact figures yet, because we are still compiling this month’s statistics,” Pulumo said.
“We have not had long and tiring queues, as was the case in previous years,” she said.

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