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Against the odds that Covid-19 pandemic denies people a chance to gather and celebrate special days; Lesotho held a 2nd Mole Day celebration on the 23rd October in style – launching the first ever Chemical Society of Lesotho. Many Basotho chemists, regardless of where they are based created time to meet online to celebrate this historically important day for Chemists and other Scientists. In the process, they made history too. The attendance register noted a range of chemists, from students, teachers to university professors; it even included a medical doctor who studied chemistry prior to pursuing a medical degree from across the breadth of Lesotho and the neighbouring South Africa.

After the welcome and introductory remarks by Professor George, the Chair and Coordinator of the event, Dr. Mahamo shared a brief history behind this day and how the date 23rd October from 6.02 am to 6.02pm was derived from Avogadro number denoted as 6.02×1023. The renowned Professor Hailemichael Alemu took all and sundry through the mole concept. It was through this lecturer that some for the first time realised that Avogadro was initially a lawyer by 16 years of age but for some unknown reason he became a scientist. This was a celebration of greatness and tapping to that greatness by making something worthwhile, a legacy for the next Basotho generations. This was a second Mole Day celebration following the one held in collaboration with UNESCO Commission for Lesotho and the Department of Science and Technology in 2019, where Prof. George presented a piece on the Mole and Stoichiometry!

Prior to this day, Prof George, an analytical chemist at the National University of Lesotho, has been pondering over the challenges facing the Department of Chemistry and the University, and the country as a whole. Seeing the need for collective thinking in tackling some of the prevailing challenges, Professor George, thought it was perhaps time for Lesotho to have a Chemical Society whose vision will be to nurture chemists of note in Lesotho. After all, ‘a stick in a bundle is almost unbreakable’. This Society will nurture the future chemists through mobilising funds for research grants, convening research conferences and symposia, publishing a database of journal articles and/or abstracts of articles authored by the Society’s members, as well as liaising with sister Societies in the African continent and elsewhere for the sole purpose of promoting Chemistry.

Lesotho like other countries must benefit from its Chemists. These Chemists saw it worthy then to engrave the first mission of this Society as to promote and stimulate the advancement of chemical sciences as a vital tool for national development. While at it, also work hard to encourage and support chemical research and application of chemistry to improve society, to promote education and training of chemists, last but not least, to set and uphold ethical standards to promote professional integrity of practising chemists, thus adopting Honesty, Impartiality, Fairness and Ethical conduct (HIVE) in its business as it soars above all challenges to achieve the overall mission.

Lesotho is one of the developing countries in Southern Africa whose progress in most aspects, economically, politically and otherwise has been stagnant over the 50 years of independence, with most stating it is actually regressing. This state is also affecting chemists, especially financial deprivation to carry out research. Under the right conditions and with the right people, this country could develop quite fast as it is one country that has just enough population for the resources it has. When Chemistry and all its applications are empowered, the growth of industries and other job creation platforms are inevitable. It is therefore hoped that the Chemical Society of Lesotho will empower the former.

The following were elected to steer the Society to legal registration:

President: Professor Mosotho George Vice President: Dr. Mohale Mabaleha Secretary: Dr. Tebello Mahamo Vice Secretary: Ms. Mats’olo SeloanyaneTreasurer: Ms. Mosele Tsemane

Interesting to note, the committee comprise 3/5 female chemists and quite youthful with the average age below 40 yrs of age.

Happy Mole Day!

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