Tuesday

Daniel arap Moi


Daniel arap Moi, the moist-eyed former Kenyan dictator, will "be called before a truth commission to account for crimes allegedly committed during a quarter of a century of misrule", says the Sunday Times of South-Africa. But he won't be going to jail anytime soon for those same crimes. One of the reasons for this is because the present government of Mwai Kibaki feels that Moi left quietly and without a fight.

That is exemplary, isn't it? How many so-called African leaders leave quietly and without a fight? In Lesotho, Leabua Jonathan lost the first post-independence elections and did not step down. I repeat, the first post-independence elections. Instead he suspended the constitution, threw his opponents in jail and went on a torturing and killing spree. The Reign of Madness, I call it.

But is leaving without a fight enough to wipe off years of misrule and embezzlement and other crimes? I think not. Can we say the same thing, or act in the same way, if Mugabe decides to step down after losing the next election and does step down to make way for a real leader? Again, I think not.

I'm happy for the fact that there is at least a truth commission in Kenya. That's what we need in Lesotho. A truth commission to get the reasons for the madness, get neighbours to forgive each other for the madness, punish the ones that cannot possibly be forgiven, and find missing bones. Someone must know where they are.

Perhaps Kenya will turn out to be the third, fully democratic country (after Botswana and South Africa) on a continent with well over fifty countries. I hope they keep up the good work and I hope that we, in Lesotho, will follow suit.

Sunday

Lesotho's Name (Lebitso la Lesotho)


It has been said that Lesotho was partly named by the French who went there in 1833 as missionaries. Sotho is the noun root of everything related to our nation. The language is Sesotho, I'm a Mosotho, two or more of us are Basotho, and our culture and customs are Sesotho.

The story goes, then, that those guys, wanting to refer to us, simply said Les Sothos, just like they could have said Les Suédois or Les Indiens, or just like an English-speaking person would have said The Sotho, as any of us would say The French, The Xhosas, The Americans. Les Sothos. And that, apparently, is how our country came to be known as Lesotho.

Friday

Therapeutic Art (Bokhabo bo Phekolang)


Writing is a tough business. It doesn't matter what you write, if you haven't sweated it out, it's not complete. Now, you've got extremely talented folk who'll jot something down in a short amount of time and it'll be a good piece. I believe, however, that if such people had stayed longer in the workshop, their product would have been even a better piece. Writing is like giving life--you've got to build it and stick with it for nine months and then go through the painful process of giving birth. Otherwise it is premature, and has to head straight for the incubator. Or even worse, it is still-born, and has to be properly disposed of.

I suppose there are established ways that hospitals and clinics have adopted to tackle the situation. But what do you do with a premature piece of art, or one that you unhappily pronounce dead right after birth? It must happen and it must have happened. Picasso must have produced paintings that he considered awful, and that he duly threw into the trash bin (Ouch). Mozart, too, and the faceless poet or painter or musician that is some of us.

Is it easier to produce art when you're hungry or when you're full? Happy or sad? Rich or poor? For a new-born baby or the memory of a lost love? I don't know about being hungry or full, but I have found it as tough to write about my children as about the deaths of my brother and my nephew. Those were packed moments for me and if I was gonna write, I thought, it was gonna be then. Wrong!

Where do you start? Which feeling do you catch, and ride? Who do you thank or who do you tell off? I mean, I don't think it's any easier to write about a sparrow, for instance. It must be hard, too, and the simpler it looks, the harder it probably is. Mr. e.e. cummings wrote this stand-alone couplet, which you mustn't go thinking was easy to write:

O, the pretty birdie, O;
with his little toe, toe, toe!


Nice couplet. As for me, I do write about the murders, the ones in my family, I mean, but not before I had learnt a few lessons. And I suppose I will write more joyously about or for my children in the future, but I must first get rid of what is gnawing me inside. I have found out that when writing about what is dear the poet must be more disciplined. It is easy enough to throw in a lot of adjectives and give a gruesome title, but while doing so feels great, it doesn't get rid of the demons and it doesn't produce a poem. The following is one of my nine-month (full-term), painful birth poems that I nonetheless feel were still pre-mature. I reckon it and my other "therapeutic" poems will never be finished. PASSING has gone from a bunch of adjectives to what it is today, and I cannot say I'm not satisfied with both its aesthetic and therapeutic characteristics.
PASSING

There isn't any beating of the drums
After the long subsiding ray
When like a cruel master darkness comes.

Let the town criers hasten to convey
Outright this message to kingdoms.
Invite well-wishing folks to go away.

Let the menace rise as the heart succumbs
Deeper still, and let silence slay
You with meaning beyond the sound of psalms.

But if no-one will listen or obey,
Wind the clocks, swing the pendulums,
And let that message seal the stillborn day.

© Rethabile Masilo



I have often wondered how other Basotho who lost loved ones during the Reign of Madness are ridding themselves of their demons. Do you write, like me? Are you a politician, like other members of my family? What makes you tick? Do you want someone to pay, or have you forgiven, never to forget? In my case, one of the major steps was forgiving. One day, or one morning, or one evening, I just said, "It is between whoever did this and their God." And that took off a great load, and also made me realise that even if I had the culprit tied up in front of me and I had a red-hot poker in my hand and...., nothing will bring them back. And then there is life. I have a life. I have a wife and two children. And that's where I picked it up from and moved forward. Or tried to move forward.

There has been some pretty strong poetry born out of despair. I'm in complete awe of Ms Sylvia Plath, who could write some of the most beautiful lines despite what biographers tell us about her life. I wonder if she consciously wrote as therapy or if she was a writer whose life went awry. Because writers will write, no matter what. I hope that if you are not a writer you have found a means of "talking about it" through art or dialogue or sport or something else.

PS:
PASSING and other poems appeared in the 11th issue of The Canopic Jar.

Wednesday

Team


A team is a group of people or animals that work or play or compete together toward a common outcome, or to take the sports metaphor even further, toward a common goal. We can have all sorts of teams. The Springboks are a famous rugby team. "Bok" is Afrikaans for buck, or deer, and since these particular South African deer jump like mad, they got to be called Springboks.

The Toronto Blizzards and the Atlanta Chiefs were famous North American soccer teams. Canada paired with blizzards makes sense, and so does Atlanta paired with chiefs. There can be all sorts of teams but the most common trait among them, the one factor that will distinguish a team from something else, is Harambee, which is Swahili for pulling together. A group of people, no matter how dedicated they are, is not a team if they do not pull together. The effect of not pulling together is equivalent to having one member of a tug-of-war team pushing, or one member of a soccer team kicking the ball between his or her own goalposts.

Team-mate is another interesting word. Team-mates should get along, although that is optional. They must also strive toward a common outcome. Such an outcome can be scoring more goals than the opponent (Likoena of Lesotho), having more touch downs (San Francisco 49ers of America), making loads of money (a corporate team of the planet Earth), beating back starvation and illiteracy and political violence (Government of Lesotho).

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the Government of Lesotho. It is our team against misery and fear. We chose it! For the first time ever, Lesotho's team against misery was chosen by the people and is seemingly liked by the people and appears to me to be a winner. Of course, when things go awry we always single out and punish somebody, usually the coach. Or the goal-keeper. Or hooligans. Yes, the fans or supporters are part of the team. That makes you and I and other people who like Lesotho part of the team. Hooligans! Uh-huh. Not us.

We're not hooligans, we work with the team. I've previously suggested ways of working with the team (Another post is here). I'm not going to re-list them here. But I feel I must mention what I call pot-clanging again. We must clang those pots if we want to be heard. Just like fans roar the stadium down, we must cheer and boo our team and egg it on. And this is how we can do it:


  1. Contact your village chief or the ministry involved and tell them what you're so unhappy about. You can get ministers' details, ie phone number, fax number and postal address quite easily. On http://www.lesotho.gov.ls/cabinet/gcabinet.htm, clicking on the name takes you to a page that has the information. So what's to stop you? Nobody is going to come after you. We're a team, remember? And we chose these players ourselves, and they've proven to us that they are not the trigger-happy kind. So what's to stop you? You've got rights, as does everybody else. Read the constitution. You'll be amazed at how much you're entitled to, and at the yawning gap between what you're entitled to and what you're actually getting. My favourite is

    [ CHAPTER III PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY -- 26. Equality and justice -- (2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. ]


  2. Vote. For Christ's sake, vote. That is perhaps the loudest clanging you can make. And what is good is that it is the one that influences our team the most. Going to the polls and dropping that slip of paper through the slit into the urn is a gigantic right. It is one that we must cherish and use wisely, because it is also one that is hardest to obtain. Lives have been lost, blood has been spilt, in getting that right. Vote. Vote with a conscience. Vote for peace and prosperity (can't vote for rain). Do not vote for a face, or for blood, or for friendship. Vote for Lesotho, but vote. Too often, those who have something tend to minimise it. Parisians don't give a damn about the Eiffel Tower. They prefer a small bistro in a back street where they can have their Beaujolais in peace. But there's no Eiffel Tower in Tokyo, you see. So the Japanese come all the way from the Far East just to be able to stare at and take snaps of a heap of iron. Voting is the same. Those who have always been able to vote prefer to go to a soccer match on election day, but well, hell, we must'nt. We can't. We must vote.


  3. Talk about it. "It" refers to everything. Talk about the constitution, talk politics, talk about the past. In my view the past is going to come back to haunt us unless we talk freely about who killed who and for what godawful reason. I'm talking about dialogue between citizens, neighbours, friends (the supporters), the government (the team), king Letsie III (the coach) and our friends (the sponsors) all over the world. Read, learn, discuss, analyse. I've tried many times to get Radio Lesotho online but to no avail. Now that would be one fast way of getting news around the world.


So, world, here is our team, for better or for worse. It is our best foot forward thus far. With this team we're ready to take on everything that is fucking life up for the Basotho people. With this team we're not interested in petty politics and in personal gain (?!), but in big-time politics and national gain. To the team, I feel I must say,

[ you are it. Our A-team. The proverbial buck stops with you. We're looking at you. We chose you. You will not let us down. And you will do everything in your power to fulfill the promise, as it is embodied in the National Vision, that you made to the Basotho people. And give us those e-mail addresses so we can clang our pots more easily and more efficiently. Phone numbers are nice, but you probably know how hard it is to go past all the blockades before reaching you. ]

As a member of the fan club, I'd like all the other members to know that

[ this isn't going to work without our input. No input, no outcome. Now, you know what to do because you are intelligent and dedicated. And I'm sure that like me you are sick and tired of bad politics. You realise that we can beat poverty and illiteracy and fear. So do let's. ]

Thursday

URGENT MESSAGE


Dear Reader,

I'm currently experiencing difficulties with the regular template and layout of On Lesotho. My web host and I are doing our utmost to put things back in order.

Rethabile Masilo
http://www.the-english-place.com

Tuesday

Women (Basali)


In Sesotho, in southern Sesotho, as opposed to that spoken in the northern parts of South-Africa and done great justice by this Sotho-English online dictionary, "LI" is pronounced / di / and "LU" is pronounced / du /. The Sesotho word for woman, Mosali, is therefore pronounced / moosadi /. In northern Sesotho and South-African southern Sesotho it is written mosadi with a "d" and pronounced with a /d/ accordingly.

Women run the show in Africa, and I'm sure I'm not announcing anything new. They do everything but herd livestock. They balance the nkho on their heads as they go to the well for water and balance it all the way back to the village. And, oh, they do this with a baby strapped to their back, which leaves their hands free so they can gather wood to and from the well, or pick wild vegetables for lunch or for dinner. And the guys, at least in Lesotho, are gathered round a nkho of home-made beer playing the popular Sesotho board-game, morabaraba, or telling jokes, or singing, or stick-fighting, but not gathering wood and fetching water and carrying a baby all at once.

It came as something of a shock to me then, when I realised the extent to which Basali were not being treated as equals. I knew how hard they worked and I knew as I know now that they, more than the men, are holding our society together, and once again at least in Lesotho. When I was a kid growing up in Lesotho rape was, well, rape. Nothing more. It may have been considered legally wrong, but outside the courts people talked about it like they'd talk about sport.

--So and so was raped by so-and so.
--Oh yeah? When was that?


I don't know if the courts even spoke about it at all. The Sesotho word used to describe a pregnant, unmarried woman is from the verb ho senyeha, or to spoil, rot, go bad, not be good anymore. Milk that is past the use-by-date le senyehile. A child that has been brought up having everything they wanted o senyehile. Last week's T-bone steak, the one that's turning green and mouldy, e senyehile. The fact of using this same word to describe a pregnant, unmarried woman has bothered me for a very long time, and has made me wish we had a body such as the "Académie Française", a body to which I could now turn with my plea of word eradication. And, blow me, why do we need a word for that anyway? She's pregnant (ho emera, ho lebella) is enough, isn't it? Well, maybe not. I'm not the one to complain about how rich our vocabulary is. But if it is so rich, why don't we have a term that describes the unmarried man who did it? For this important role played by this all important man I suggest the term Bastard. Fits, doesn't it? The "ho senyeha" verb, in effect, is only used to let those guys huddled around playing morabaraba know that such and such a woman is no longer a virgin and therefore less desirable. Full stop.

My plea to you is to watch out for such language, and to desist from using it, whether it denigrates men, women or children. I would like to take some time in the future to describe what I mean by words that denigrate. For now, know that I do not consider blind, short, fat as denigrating words. But saying that a woman is spoilt certainly qualifies with flying colours.

Wednesday

Missionaries (Baruti ba Kereke)


1833. That's when a mosotho boy, girl, woman, or man first conversed with a Caucasian! It must have been scary. I sometimes wonder how it unfolded. Was the local person a shepherd? It must have been, since shepherds take their livestock to the outskirts of the village for grazing, and are thus often the community's first interface with the outside world, the alarm-raisers, like that other famous shepherd who wouldn't stop yelling "WOLF!"

Did the shepherd, if it was indeed a shepherd, go aaaaaaaargh and bolt off in the opposite direction? Or did he play the hero and attack the newcomers with his molamu (fighting stick)? Or did the conversation, if there was one, go something like:


Eugène: Bonjour, je m'appelle Eugène, je vous apporte une bonne nouvelle, la nouvelle de Notre Seigneur.

Rethabile: O reng? Motho eo o buang, banna? E hlile o t'sabehile le ho feta Baroa. O ntse a reng?

Eugène: Eugène, pouvez-vous dire Eugène. Allez-y, Eu-gè-ne.

Rethabile. O lapile? O batla lijo? Tsoelapele ka tsela ena. O tla fihla motseng. Ere ba o bont'se moreneng.

Eugène: Est-ce que vous me comprenez?



How did those people communicate?

In Lesotho's case, ntate Moshoeshoe the First, the founder of the Basotho nation, was actually glad to see these guys. When he laid eyes on them he might have muttered under his breath, "Good God, what happened to these guys?!" But he gave them the red carpet treatment and asked them to teach his people "their ways." And so they went about doing it. They erected a red brick church in Morija (the church is still up and is one of the oldest buildings in Lesotho), translated the Bible into Sesotho, got a printing works running, started a newspaper (Leselinyana la Lesotho, present to this day and one of the most vocal against the ruthless ex-government of Leabua Jonathan. The paper's editor at the time, Ntate Motuba, was murdered by Jonathan's army a few months before they killed my 3-year-old nephew and tried to kill my father), taught the Basotho how to read and write, but then told us to discard some of our ways. They did more good than harm, I must admit.

Ntate Thomas Mofolo wrote the first novel ever written by an African in Africa. It was called Moeti Oa Bochabela (The Traveller of the East). He was employed at the book depôt in Morija. He went on to write the more famous Chaka, translated into English twice over and into many other languages.

The missionaries helped Ntate Moshoeshoe the First write the missives that saw Queen Victoria making Lesotho a British Protectorate. We weren't colonised, people. We actually asked the English to rule us!. Was there an alternative? Basotho had already lost vast chunks of territory to the rifle wielding (who didn't just wield them) Boers and the king wanted his nation protected from the likes of.....Chaka, king of the Zulus, a rather bellicose and war-mongering if intelligent and battlefield hardened leader.

To this day little Lesotho is big on reading and writing and actually has one of the highest literacy rates on the continent. In my view those Missionaries infected us with the reading bug.

Morija used to be the national educational hub. Everybody who was anybody went to school there. There was Thabeng High School and Morija Girl's School, for starters. And people just flocked to Morija from all over the country to go to school.

Leselinyana la Lesotho ("The Little Light of Lesotho"), one of the oldest newspapers on the continent, was and is still printed in Morija. It quickly became one of the producers of and contributors to the religious and educational literature of the southern African region. As I said above, it was one of the voices of rebellion during the dark years of Jonathan's dictatorial rule.

So, okay, they did a lot of good. Did they do any harm? They must have, who doesn't? Who doesn't, when you are convinced that you're dealing with people from a lesser society? After all you are doing it all for them!

One of the wildest things I'd love to do is get everything these guys wrote, their diaries and logs and stuff, and just read what they were thinking. I can imagine what that first shepherd who saw them was thinking, but frankly, the missionaries, what were they thinking?

Monday

"Harlem: A Dream Deferred", by Langston Hughes


What happens to a dream deferred?
What do you do when you don't succeed? When you mess up bad?

Does it dry up
Do you give up and stop hoping, striving, struggling--
like a raisin in the sun
which may be sweet, too, but isn't your original bang-wham idea.
Or fester like a sore—
Do you suffer to the point of having a nervous breakdown--
And then run?
and go to work with a sawed-off shot-gun to shoot 'em all up?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
How long have you been thinking you were a loser?
Or crust and sugar over—
Long enough for your hope to have become "passé", undoable, dashed--
Like a syrupy sweet?
Nice idea--real brainwave--but you wouldn't or couldn't do it.

Maybe it just sags
Is failure to reach this aspiration dragging you down
like a heavy load.
Like a weighted body is dragged to the lake floor?

Or does it explode?
Put those pills back in their bottle, right now!


by Langston Hughes
with Rethabile Masilo's comments





Langston Hughes, the jazz poet. That's what I call him. Or the blues poet, if you will. The man could make you laugh or weep, which usually amounts to the same thing anyway.


SUICIDE NOTE

The calm,
Cool face of the river
Asked me for a kiss.



Sometimes he used longer speech to talk to us. I find him best when he's brief. If you asked me what I thought of Langston's poetry, I'd have to say,

It's Nutshell-in-your-face delivery.

That's how I feel about it. I do read longer poetry, and I enjoy it immensely. I like Robert Frost and Walt Whitman, for example. Marvellous "raconteurs" that use the cadences of their mountain valley speech. You hear real people talking, when Frost and Whitman talk. But what they say, while important, is less urgent.

Langston Hughes is urgent. And our man had a penchant for dreams. He believed in them, and told us to go on and dream. But perhaps not to go to the post-office where we worked with an Uzi sub-machine gun if and when those dreams peter out.


DREAM VARIATIONS

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me--
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.




How many of us do dream today? I mean, truly dream. What is dreaming, anyway? It's when the odds and more are all stacked up against you and you go ahead and want to accomplish something nonetheless. Dreaming is something that occurs while we are asleep, and it is usually something unattainable that we dream about. You may dream you're taking the taxi and going to work, that's not the dream. The dream is the sexy woman/man who shares the taxi with you and invites you upstairs to her/his pad with a wow! wink, just before your spouse elbows you and tells you to stop snoring. Dreaming is not when

your two brothers have gone to Yale, your three sisters and a cousin to Harvard, the six of them have nice jobs, living in upper-class neighbourhoods, your parents are diplomats ]

and you wanna go to Princeton, your dream is to make it. That's no dream. Dreaming would be if you decided to go live in the inner-city, learn to rap, and become the best damn rapper in the world. That would be dreaming.

Who has already spoken to us about dreams and dreaming before? C'mon? Martin, of course. Dr. Martin Luther King. He had one. A biggie it was, too. Gonna take more time to make it come true.

Who said: There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.? Some say Robert Kennedy, others say John Kennedy. One of the Kennedy brothers, at least. Do you know of any other famous dreamers?

Here's another one: The government of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The government of Lesotho says,

By 2020, Lesotho shall be a stable, democratic, united, prosperous nation
at peace with itself and its neighbours. It shall have a healthy and
well-developed human resource base. Its economy will be strong, its
environment well managed, and its technology well established.
 ]

Great! Grrrreat! That's a dream, a nice dream at that, the stuff sweet dreams are made of. What does it take to see to it that a dream comes true? It takes guts and balls of steel. Especially in a country that has been mishandled and mismanaged for a long time. Today we have a legitimate, elected government in power. So what do we, Basotho and friends of Lesotho, need to do to help our government make this worthy dream come true?

We must

1. Make noise! I'll call this "political pot-banging". It is our duty to make as much noise as possible and to raise hell on the government's stoep. If we don't, who will? E-mail is a great tool. Get your regional representative's e-mail and send them an e-note everytime you don't have electricity or clean drinking water. Maybe, just maybe these people are not aware of the extent of the problem. You don't have them now and you've never had them? Send e-mail everyday or go see the village chief everyday. Ask for things that you should normally be getting, depending on where you live (accessibility), for example. If you live on the top of a mountain with two other families, wouldn't it be more logical for you to move to a nearby village than for the government to erect a pipeline just for you? What? They don't have e-mail? Write them a letter, or send them a fax, or call them, or better yet, go see them!

2. Be model citizens. That means a lot of things. It means we must, ONE, vote; TWO, support local businesses; THREE, not waste (recycle, damn it--and give your leftovers and hand-me-downs to those who need them); FOUR, plant trees; FIVE, not uproot trees planted by others because you don't like their political party; SIX, be a nation--yes be a nation, which we're not. We're each individually proud of our country, but together we remain several groups. Catholics and Protestants, or BCP and LCD, or LCD and BNP. It's amazing how divisible 2.5 million people can be. We really discredit that old adage, "United we stand, divided we fall." We've coined instead, "Divided we stand, united we fall". Which in all honesty is a lot of bunkum, in a country of 2.5 million with one, single language and one and the same culture/customs and one, great unifying founder of the nation, Ntate Moshoeshoe the First and one skin colour (brown) and one major religion (Christianity).

3. Plug the brain drain. Too many of us live outside Lesotho, which is normal, after so many years of a trigger-happy government. But hey, the killings are over, and that house you've bought or built in South-Africa is not doing much to help the government make the dream come true. Come home as soon as possible. What's saddest is that it's the more educated ones that go away. One, just one of you well-off folks who have decided to live out of Lesotho could
--hire Sesotho help and thus feed Basotho family,
--have given the job of building your mansion to a Lesotho company (I know one in Qoaling, if you're interested),
--be more active in the affairs of Lesotho. You are educated. Lesotho needs your brain,
--set the example for others to head on home. Talk to them if needs be,
--do what you know is right for the country as a whole. That's one of you. I know there are quite a lot in South Africa and England.


4. Help those who are worse off than you. Help those who are worse off than you. Help those who are worse off than you!

These are some of the things we need to do to get the Lesotho government to make that dream come true. I'm sure you can think of at least ten others. If you do, hit the comments link below to share them with all of us, or stick them in this form for me to publish them here and there for all to see.

And to the Lesotho government I say:

Do it. You must. You have no choice. May God and Lesotho's heroes, some of whom fell prematurely along the way, help you to carry it out. It will only be right because it is all that any real government strives to achieve, and it is the standard against which Basotho have been gauging you, as a government, from the day they voted you into office. Imagine Ntate Moshoeshoe the First, or one of our heroes, wagging a finger at you and saying, "What are you waiting for?" ]

Friday

Temporary Title

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun
Or fester like a sore—

And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—

Like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

----------


I have neither titled nor given credit to this poem on purpose. I will do so over the weekend.

Tuesday

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee

The South Africans did it right, at last. In fact they've been doing it right for a few years now. Perhaps we could date that back to the release of ntate Mandela and other politicical prisoners, black and white. Or perhaps even slightly before then: the ascension of F.W. de Klerk to power.

Things have gone on so well since then that they even won the rugby world championship and had a go at the football world cup on two occassions already. That's not such a piece of cake for a country that was politically locked for a long time.

These people all just came together and said, "We gotta get our shit together!" They released prisoners, held talks, argued, had some riots, held elections, designed a funky flag, agreed on a national anthem composed of at least four distinct languages (English, Zulu, Afrikaans and Sesotho), became rugby world champions, struggled to forgive more than 3 centuries of injustice, and are still going strong.

The South African capacity to do it blows me away.

Enter Lesotho, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Algeria. The peoples of these countries have more in common than the people of South Africa in terms of culture, language and "identity", whatever I mean by that. In Lesotho, there is one language that is spoken by the vast majority of the population. We all believe the same things, folklore, gods, poltergeists, and so on. We're the same people, yet we are the ones hacking away at each other.

You might be tempted to say, "Hey, your friends in South Africa killed each other for centuries, so there!"

Fair enough, but my point is, they can at least pretend to have had a reason! Skin colour, language, culture, customs, clothing, food, sun tan, sun burn, wealth, jokes appreciated.....these were and in many cases still are different. But they came up with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee [Read about it here: #1#2#3]

Let me get to the point: Basotho and Rwandans and Algerians and all these people who are killing their kin for political gain need their heads examined.

That is still not quite the point I wanna get to: I would like to know what happened to my brother, Khotsofalang Reaboka Masilo, who was killed by his own countrymen apparently for political gain.

Let me try again. Let me say it differently: No, I don't want to know what happened to my brother, although it would be nice. I want to know where he is, where his bones are, so I can go get them to bury him properly in Qoaling, where his grave is pregnant with his spirit and rife with his presence; but where his body is sadly missing. There, I said it. That's what I want. I want to see "people" who have the answers squirming in the hot seat, in front of a legitimate committee, not for my pleasure, but because I think that's the only way we'll ever get to find Khotsofalang. And the day I find my brother's body is the day I start cleaning out the darkest corners of my mind. And taking full advantage of my life today, with my lovely wife and wonderful children. And that day means some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Lesotho style. That's what I want. We will not advance as a people as long as we still have grudges, and we will have grudges if we don't put our cards, all of them, on the table.

We and people from other countries where bullshit has been going on need to look at South Africa's efforts in terms of turning over a new leaf and feel ashamed for not doing the same or better. How can a country that has at least eleven languages and as many tribes (Dutch tribe, Zulu tribe, English tribe, Sotho tribe, and so on), how can such a country, that has officially fucked the larger majority of its people for centuries, how can such a country turn around and make peace, and we can't?