By Liapeng Raliengoane

LESOTHO, Maseru – Advocate Fusi Sehapi, the current Director of GOLMAN MUSTARD INC based in Maseru, is a distinguished figure in the legal landscape, blending passion and determination in his work, whether he is unravelling appealable flaws or championing the cause of the marginalized.
His journey, marked by financial adversity and unwavering perseverance, has shaped him into the accomplished individual he is today.
Sehapi’s early years unfolded in the picturesque villages of Thotaneng and later Matholeng in Mafeteng, one of the ten districts in Lesotho.
Born into the Sehapi family to the late Mamathe Sehapi and Moitheri Sehapi. His parents unfortunately separated the very year of his birth, setting the stage for financial challenges that would shape his childhood.
Fusi, the second-born named after the late twins, has two younger siblings.
Despite the financial constraints, he navigated the educational landscape, attending Mafeteng LEC Primary and later Bereng High School, culminating in the acquisition of a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the National University of Lesotho.
The financial struggles that marked Sehapi’s early years were significant impediments to a conventional education.
Forced to contend with unfavourable family financial circumstances, he found himself unable to attend school regularly.
The responsibility of caring for livestock and participating in a system of exchanging school turns became a way of life for him.
This challenging period in his life came to a head at the tender age of seven when he left his village to oversee another familys livestock in exchange for a meagre salary.
This stint lasted for three consecutive years, highlighting the resilience and determination that would become hallmarks of Sehapis character.
Recalling those early days, the lawyer articulates the violation of his rights as a child, lamenting that no one came to his rescue.
Nevertheless, he pressed on, eventually reaching the end of his primary education and moving on to Bereng High School.
However, financial challenges persisted during his high school years.
He found his name repeatedly on the list of students expelled due to unpaid fees. One particular incident during his time in Form B stands out in his memory, where he pre-emptively left the school premises upon hearing that a teacher was compiling a list of students in arrears.

It was during these challenging times that his indomitable spirit emerged.
Having left school due to owing school fees, Sehapi found employment at a poverty alleviation project, receiving remuneration in the form of food.
This opportunity paved the way for him to return to school, thanks to the benevolence of the former Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho Lesao Lehohla, who assisted in paying his school fees after his mother had pleaded with him.

This crucial support marked a turning point in Sehapis life, propelling him toward the realization of his academic aspirations.
Reflecting on his childhood, he holds dear the memory of his grandmother praising him for his hard work in the fields, collecting sugar beans. This acknowledgment resonated deeply with him, serving as a testament to the value of hard work instilled in him by his family, particularly his mother.

Sehapis commitment to hard work and dedication is evident not only in his personal life but also in his professional pursuits.

As he delved into the legal industry, his breakthrough came in 2019 when he successfully handled the case of the Lesotho Medical Association against the Minister of Health. This landmark victory solidified his position as a human rights lawyer of repute.

His foray into the legal arena was inspired by Advocate Zwelakhe Mda KC who mentored him during his formative yesrs and Advocate Motiea Teele KC whom Sehapi finds articulate and eloquent in legal matters.

He attributes his success to qualities such as putting God first in everything he does, a profound passion for his job, perseverance, fortitude, patience, compassion for his clients, keen research skills, and an unwavering attention to detail.

Describing law as an abstract practice, he emphasizes the importance of evaluative skills in distilling vast amounts of information into manageable and logical frameworks.

Sehapis commitment to innovation and excellence in his legal practice is evident in his approach to every case.
He asserts, With every case I work on, I exercise novelty. I bring new things.
His commitment to effectiveness is unwavering, stating, I don’t want to become an ineffective lawyer. It’s either I become an effective lawyer, or I leave the legal industry. I can’t be warm; I’m either hot or cold.

The influence of his mentor, Advocate Mda, is apparent in Sehapis emphasis on reading the law thoroughly and not merely panel beating the facts.
Every case, he believes, should be addressed according to its unique facts, applying the law judiciously.

While navigating the complexities of his legal career, he often encounters challenging situations involving clients who lack financial resources but face serious legal issues.

In such instances, he extends his services pro bono, driven by a commitment to justice and a desire to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those less fortunate.
One of the most challenging cases Adv Sehapi undertook was the Lesotho Medical Association (LMA) against the Minister of Health.

The goal was to enforce chapter 3 rights of the Constitution, a task commonly believed to be unattainable.
However, he challenged the conventional wisdom and emerged victorious, demonstrating his tenacity and commitment to justice.

Balancing a thriving career with a fulfilling private life is a formidable task that Sehapi openly acknowledges struggling with.
His dedication to his work often takes precedence, leaving little time for other endevours.

Looking toward the future, he envisions an early retirement from the legal profession to venture into tourism, farming, and landscaping businesses.

His goal is not to overextend himself but to leave with a sterling reputation. The aspiration to become the best lawyer globally remains a driving force in his professional journey.

In offering advice to those who look up to him, he emphasizes the centrality of God in every endeavour, quoting, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All things work together for your good, all things, bad or good, painful or blissful. You are unique.
With Christmas just around the corner, Adv Sehapi is of the view that it is a time for family reunions because he grew up seeing families come together.

He reckons that the tradition should be upheld, thus going home to celebrate with family.

Adv Sehapi adds, I know theres a lot of controversy around Christmas, but for me, it is a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundations of my Christian faith.

It is a celebration of Gods love for us through the birth of Christ.
As for his private life, he says he fails to balance work and social life due to the mounting workload.

I often fail at balancing as I am very dedicated to my work, he adds, I give it my all, and I believe its one of the things delaying me from starting a family.
He continues: I have no time for relationships, I am not able to nurture them, but going forward, I am willing to work on this because it is not good thing.
To the upcoming generation of lawyers, he encourages seeking mentors, cherishing those relationships as parental, and resisting conformity to worldly standards, advocating for independence coupled with uniqueness.

Sehapis legal repertoire includes handling cases ranging from the COVID-19 mandatory vaccination against the government to the Chief Justices prerogative to advise the King on bestowing the title of Kings Counsel to deserving lawyers.
He has tackled the case of doctors expressing concerns about the lack of legal protection while working under unhealthy conditions.

Adv Sehapis life story is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to justice.
From humble beginnings fraught with financial challenges to emerging as a prominent figure in the legal arena, hes journey inspires not only aspiring lawyers but anyone facing adversity.

His multifaceted approach to life, blending professional excellence with a commitment to personal growth, exemplifies the principles he advocates.
As he continues to make strides in his legal career, his story serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the belief that, with perseverance and dedication, one can overcome even the most formidable challenges.