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When will Lesotho start giving?



Sesotho se re: Letsoho le fanang, ke letsoho le hlohonolofetseng. This translates to “a hand that gives, is a hand that receives abundantly. A hand that gives, is a hand that never lacks.” Acts 20:35 says, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Let me tell you of a tragedy that once happened in my home village a couple of decades ago. A real tragedy! But before I do that, please allow me to start by sharing one funny story that happened about six months ago. I often use a road named Jan Shoba Rd to drop my daughter off at school in Pretoria. And every time I drive to school, I always witness one gentleman that begs for a living. He’s a beggar not a burger. He stands in one position on the intersection of Justice Muhamed and Jan Shoba Roads, near Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria.
One friend of mine once said, accepting Parliament as a gift is like accepting a gift from another man for your wife. Something like allowing another man to buy underwear for your wife
When Pastor At Boshoff made that example, it reminded me of the gentlemen I see everyday on the way to school. So one day, I decided to share a piece of advice and said, “Hee monna, have you realised that you’ve been standing in the same position, doing the same thing for years now. Don’t you think it’s time you relocate to another intersection or rather, think of doing something else?” Khelek! I’ve never heard of such vulgar language in my life. Tlhapa tse tala! (pure vulgar language). I had to speed-off to avoid accumulating vocabulary of basically useless words. But you see, that’s the problem with begging. It cripples the mind and this is the same thing that once happened in my home village. Well, you should know it by name, by now. I come from a village that is historically a Roman Catholic mission. The mission has its roots from French-Canadian missionaries. The purpose of the mission in Mazenod was to set-up a printing works in order to publish books and a newspaper (Moeletsi-oa-Basotho) that would spread Catholic News, the good-news (efankheli). Some would say, to spread the Catholic propaganda. This then created jobs and I suppose that’s why some of our forefathers migrated to this tiny village in search of greener pastures. Life was good in Mazenod. There were lots of ‘white’ Catholic priests and nuns from Canada and you know what white people are associated with. Yes, you are correct, money! So there were two nuns that ran charity projects and were funded by their families back in Canada. The first one was Sister Yvonne. She even built a dam in the village named after her, tamo la Yvonne. The second nun that I want to place emphasis on and who actually became the ‘Mother Teresa’ of Mazenod, was named Sister Giselle. But the name that became famous in the village was Mme Izele. I really don’t know how Giselle evolved to Izele. I’ll leave that to your imagination. So, I’ve been told that Sister Giselle had a very wealthy brother back in Canada and the brother pumped millions into the sister’s charitable projects. I tell you, sister Giselle was indeed the Mother Teresa of the village. She ran a brick-making factory, an old age home with a bakery and an orphanage. She also founded a low-cost housing scheme of which I will tell you a funny joke about. But most importantly, she ran a project to provide water and sanitation in the village. She even built hundreds of VIP (Pit-latrine toilets). The question is why were our people not building toilets for themselves? Vuka-zenzele? Sister Giselle had tractors and bore-hole-drilling equipment. Hey! I tell you, the village was so vibrant because the projects hired hundreds of people from the village. So, the joke about the housing scheme is that, the brother funded a project to pilot a low-cost housing scheme in Lesotho. I must say, it was very successful because I know of a lot of young families that were afforded an opportunity to own homes. These were two-roomed houses that were built of concrete blocks. When the brother came to Lesotho for a working-visit to view the housing project nicknamed Mather-Ville, he found homes with DSTV satellite dishes and cars parked outside. I understand that the brother was so furious and very disappointed. He said, “No, this was meant to be a low-cost housing-scheme. People who can afford satellite TV and cars can afford better and bigger houses elsewhere.” Well, that was the joke of the village. I guess satellite TV is quite affordable in Southern Africa and people would opt for it anytime over medical aid. They say you don’t fall sick everyday. But all in all, the charitable projects that Sister Giselle ran created a dependency syndrome. I mean, grown men couldn’t think and solve problems on their own. They had to seek help from yours truly, Sister Giselle. I tell you, even when community borehole pumps broke down, they would be left unrepaired because Sister Giselle would come fix them (Mme Izele o sa tla e lokisa). Grown men couldn’t dig up a hole and build pit-latrine toilets for their families. No, they would rather go to the bush (matlapeng) until Sister Giselle came to their rescue and built toilets. The problem with all these is that it resulted in a village that was mentally bankrupt or brain-dead to be precise. Men from the village became mentally disabled. They couldn’t think and stand on their own two feet. Unfortunately, this is the problem that our country has today. Foreign aid has caused brain damage and we can’t even think to save our lives. No, re emetse chelete compact-two. Duh! But what I find sad about this story of Sister Giselle or Mme Izele is that not even once did the village organise a ceremony or mokete to thank the Mother Teresa of the village, for her hard work and dedication. Not even once has the community of Mazenod said thank you to Sister Giselle and her brother. Not even once! Not even a bar of chocolate ea fifteen ranta Pep. I’m not even going to suggest they could have bought her a bouquet of flowers and a card because it’s just too sophisticated for their imagination. This is a story of a thankless community and a thankless country. What has rather happened after Sister Giselle finally retired and went back to Canada is that all her hard work went down the drain. The company she ran named Nala closed down. The bakery closed down. The orphanage and old-age home closed down. Ke sure le ena o ile a bona hore, “Fok, batho bana ba Masinoto ke menyollo.” (She probably realised that the people from Mazenod were ungrateful). As things stand, everything she worked hard for, is now in tatters. Basotho! I must say, I’m very disappointed by our leaders. They depend so much on foreign aid to an extent where they can’t even think of solutions that would empower local people. They have cultivated a culture of dependence that has made a nation that is brain-dead. What am I referring to? I am referring to projects such as the Queen Elizabeth II hospital re-development. I am also referring to projects such as the new Parliament building and the State Library Building. Look, had we been a nation that loved itself, we could have done these projects by ourselves. A Parliament building represents our national pride. Pride! One friend of mine once said, accepting Parliament as a gift is like accepting a gift from another man for your wife. Something like allowing another man to buy underwear for your wife. Even though it is a useless analogy, it hit the nail on the head. Well we still need to thank China for continuously filling up a bottom-less pit named Lesotho. Thank you China! The problem of being on the receiving end of everything is that you end up taking everything that gets thrown at you. Thatha-zonke! But the gist of this week’s opinion piece is very simple. A hand that gives, is a hand that always receives abundantly. It’s a hand that gets blessed and a hand that never lacks. I find it strange that even in the year 2022, Lesotho still does not feel the need to give aid to other nations. No budget for foreign aid. What about the situation in Ukraine? There is a desperate need for aid and this would be the perfect time and opportunity to start giving to other nations. Kapa Putin o tla koata? Let’s try Syria or South Sudan. Let’s just start giving for a change, no matter how little it can be. In closing, my honest opinion is that Lesotho shouldn’t be given the MCC compact-two grant. If we want M4 billion in our bank account, we should work hard for it. Americans have the same 24 hours that we have in a day.

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