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Sumfing Kaofela video haunts Econet



MASERU – A Butha-Buthe man wants Econet Telecom Lesotho (Econet) to pay him M3.8 million for allegedly infringing on his copyrights to a video he recorded in April last year. Rampunte Mokhethi says he is the one who recorded the hilarious and famous “something kaofela” video.

He accuses Econet of using the video for its marketing campaign without consulting him. Mokhethi, who is also demanding M8000 000 for defamation, first wrote a letter of demand to Econet through his lawyers.

He said he was on his way to Bokong in April last year when he met Mosiuoa Hlaeng, who appears in the video. He said he recorded Hlaeng during their conversation. The recording was later leaked and became an internet sensation across social media platforms.

Mokhethi said the recording “was popularly and distinctively known as the ‘sumfing kaofela’ video because of the inclusion of the phrase in a video recording which many people found entertaining”.

He claimed that in November last year Econet launched a marketing campaign “Feel the Vibe, Let’s do Sumfing Kaofela” on its social media platforms.

“A campaign title incorporating the words derived from our client’s video recording,” Legalize Daily, his lawyers, said in a letter of demand to Econet.

“These words have been reproduced by yourselves without our client’s permission across all your social media and print platforms in promotion of the aforementioned campaign,” the letter reads.

“The unauthorised use of the “…sumfing kaofela” phrase for your commercial gain is in violation of our client’s rights as provided for by the Copyright Order No. 13 of 1989,” the lawyers said.

“Our instructions are to demand from you a payment of damages for copyright infringement to the tune of Three Million Maloti.”

In the civil summons filed in court this week, Mokhethi’s lawyers said despite having informed and demanded damages from Econet, it has “failed, ignored and/or neglected to remedy the plaintiff”.

Mokhethi also demands 65 percent of the proceeds derived from the “sumfing kaofela” campaign. Regarding the defamation claim, Mokhethi’s lawyers say in December last year Econet published and circulated a statement in which it said: “someone shot a video and made fun of an unsuspecting and vulnerable individual then shared such on social media without his knowledge”.

“The said someone in this statement is in fact our client,” the lawyers said in the letter of demand.

“You intentionally and wilfully stated false and misleading information regarding our client and the circumstance surrounding the recording and publishing of the video.”

Mokhethi is demanding that Econet withdraw the “defamatory statement” and publish a public apology. Econet’s lawyers have filed a motion of intention to oppose the lawsuit.

Staff Reporter

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