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To be…or not to be!



There is a potted plant I have kept for a few years and it grew out of a root I found in front of my doorstep.
The root was rather thick, almost as thick as my thigh, and surprised at its size, I went and consulted a friend who has turned out to be the best medicine man I know, and whose homeopathic acumen beats the best books on natural medicine that I have so far come across.

It turned out I was very lucky to have found the root, because the root is from a plant whose efficacy in the treatment of various illnesses is nonpareil; I had found a root whose name gave traditional medicine its name, and the root was good for the treatment of human and animal ills of various sorts: this plant is the elixir of life, and the chunk I cut out of a section of the root rests in my pot, and with the passage of the seasons over the few years that I have kept it in my houses, I watch the full process of its metamorphosis.

From the simple shoot that peeks up at me in spring, to the day I have to fold its tired stems back into the pot with the advance of winter; I watch the plant renaissance itself every year, from a single stem (shoot), it grows in length until the tendrils reach well over two metres and I have to tenderly wind them around the 1.2 metre stand in a pattern that ensures that they do not reach the floor where I can accidentally step on them.
I have done the winding, I have watched the growing of my beloved potted plant for a long time, but it is only this year that I am beginning to closely observe the metamorphosis of a perennial plant I have come to admire.

I am in awe of this plant, and this year, I have come to realise one aspect I was not aware of before, and it is that the plant grows a new leaf with the passage of every stage in its growth.
It all begins with a single shoot, but by the end of the year, that single shoot will have given birth to a few hundred leaves that in turn help to maintain the process of photosynthesis upon which the plant depends upon to live and to process the minerals its roots draw from the rich loamy soil I timeously add into the pot every year.
Such is the way of the plant, and it has come to deliver a lesson whose perspectives on life I have since 2002 sought to understand in depth, and one of those lessons I have come to realise is that:
The plant gives of its dead leaves to its roots, for only then will the leaf know that the next generation of leaves will be fed . . .  to be, the leaf knows that present the root should be, for without the root, it cannot be!

I have over the past year and two seasons written more on the lives and the words of dead heroes and legends of our time than I have written on prevailing conditions in life.
This was not because I thought that the present generation has nothing to offer; I just believe that a clear understanding of the past creates a more conducive atmosphere on how we as human beings can plan and live our present life.

Life is like the simple domesticated pot-plant I now keep for various reasons in my room.
There is a source to every event in our lives, and such a source or root cause influences the advent and the transition of the epoch in the individual’s life, and the passage leaves behind a trail that the posterity can see clearly enough to follow.

Where the source was bitter or crooked, the path thereof shall too be of a rickety form, and the fruits it shall come to bear will be bitter to the future generations.
Our trees of life these days bear fruit that is bitter because the leaves up high in the crown do not fall to the ground when the season passes, but rather, the old leaves remain stuck in the branches of the tree, and in the process there are no leaves to shoot forth because the old leaves are blocking their passageway.

Any one man or woman has a story of life to tell, and I for one remember the innocence of the early days in the village and primary school, I remember the mischievous days of intermediate and tertiary education, and I see in the now, the present, and I know; all of the eras in my life grew some leaf that had to fall off at the end of such a season in life, and the rotting of such a leaf fed the tomorrow that followed in the next phase.
We may look dissimilar to the nature around us, but we can never view ourselves outside the immediate circle of our environment.

This fact is true because no matter how hard anyone tries to alienate themselves from the world, the world will always be in their face all the time.
One can shut the world of humanity outside their door, but the spider and the roach as members of the nature around us will easily find their way in through the cracks in the door and build their nests in the nooks and the crannies in the attic and the basement of such a house.

No matter how hard one tries to estrange themselves from the world, they ironically will still have to share the rain and the air and the mould with the rest of the world as is the will of nature.

I guess this is one of the reasons why those figures I discussed earlier were such exceptional individuals in their lifetimes: they all knew that somehow, you oftentimes have to share spaces with your fears and your “enemies”, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. To be is not an easy endeavour, and not to be is a virtual impossibility.

I have watched youth in protest against what they termed as “the old way” when the madness of the fever brought by the pride of their youth got the better of them and had them believing that they could “pioneer” some new way and be “the first” to “achieve” some “goal”, that therefore, the youth fallaciously mean that some “award” was “due” to them.

What they seem to conveniently forget is that, the old way actually cleaned their cotton diapers when they were spit drooling and cry dispensing jukeboxes that gave the old way sleepless nights and constant headaches, and they forget (conveniently) that it is only through the presence of the old way that they got to where they currently are.

This behaviour is the direct result of the unacknowledgement of the African kind, which was in turn birthed by the colonial way that taught Africans to forget the old customs and traditions that taught people to respect each other, to work hand-in-hand with each other, and to ensure that all acts were aimed at achieving the common good of the people.
Garnered in as part of life in the post-independence period, the African still does not know how to give credit where it is due.

It is as if the bad medicine of colonial oppression has not been washed out of the palates of our minds, as if the roots of colonialism have not been excised; because we in a lot of ways still go on to behave like colonial lords when it comes to rule and governance whilst behaving like “savages” as imperialist authors used to refer to us as.

That a country as small as Lesotho has such a large number of political parties giving birth to new political parties born out of them every season, countless church denominations fecund with new cells being born every day, new social media groups of different sorts started on a regular basis, and countless opinions on issues salient to the harmonious running of this kingdom state, is a sign that the recipe for division has ripened.
The concept “divide and rule” is the main term of the day, and it has given rise to favouritism, nepotism, and utter disregard for the contribution certain sectors of society make towards the upliftment of the state.

Only the preachers and the politicians seem to have the most influence, and the artists and the common citizen whose role is pivotal in the election of the government are reduced to being spectators in the arenas where oratorical speeches and fervent sermons are delivered.
The root made of the masses is forgotten by the tree that in every essence feeds off it; that decisions fundamental to maintaining the primal peace of mind we need to live as human beings and society, are made without consultation of the masses, is like a tree that forgets that its stance and sustenance are dependent upon the masses.

One cannot survive without the other, because theirs is a symbiotic relationship where each is an inverse and a reciprocal of the next individual without whom they cannot exist. Such is the nature of the world, and the word says:
Love thy neighbour as you would thyself, covet not thy neighbour’s property and keep . . . for it is in essence yours as well.

I have mentioned that neighbourly love is essential, for no leaf can hate its kin up in the tree for if this happens, the whole tree will die.

We have failed to make significant progress as a country because some leaves in our kingdom’s tree think they are not part of the crown of the tree, that they should get a better share out of the roots from whence all that sustains us as a state comes.
We could have made strides as our neighbours have so far managed, but we believe in “being the best”, in being “the first” strutting around like peacocks so that our closeness in countenance and appearance to the original commissioner and lord of the colonial times can be seen by all.

I have always been of the learned opinion that this country stalls in terms of progress because it does not believe in itself, and the talented youth who are the pollen of the flowers of the tree leave and work in other countries because there are nepotistic gatekeepers bent on preventing their progress.

Where those little bands of talented youths go, they are treated as kings; because those people they go to believe in appreciation as a matter of principle and not just a tool of manipulation as is the case in a lot of instances.
The state should begin to understand that political fights that are in a lot of ways similar to cockfights will contribute more towards the regress of this kingdom than to the progress of her people.

Old leaves are at the top of the tree, close to the rays of the sun (the resources) but very far from the roots (laws and principles) the new leaves (the youth) are closer to.
My personal opinion tells me that the need to please the imperial forces that be is what brought about the demise of this country and other neo-colonies; one sees the old guard still stuck on the same mentalities that raised them, and the realities that come with the advances in human civilisation are ignored: rendering Africa incompetent and leaving it lagging behind all the other continents of the world.

This necessitates the need for a shift in mindset, instead of the constant shifts in power that expend limited resources that could otherwise be better used for the benefit of the nation and the continent as a whole.

The basic complaint of the neighbourhoods is that the youths have become a lawless band of brigands that listen to no piece of advice from anyone; my guess is that the youth are tired with waiting on the world to change.
They are tired of watching the older generations that are by right supposed to pass righteous laws of human conduct and upkeep undress each in public in unrehearsed episodes of slander disguised as speech.

And so the children choose anything that comes their way and choose it as the right way; for they want to be, they have to be: as all the previous generations of mankind have done.
Blame them not therefore  . . . enjoy your political mudslinging, and senseless scuffles over nothing inflated to the status of being something when it is in all qualities nothing new  . . .  for it has been seen before.
Old lies have run their cause and are now laid bare, and the liars have no place to hide, like a band of vampires in the middle of the day in a desert. Let us be, even if you cannot yourself . . .

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