Monday

On Lesotho

So, here we are. At this point I feel it would be right to recap and postpare (my own word, don't worry about it too much). I started this weblog because I felt a compelling need to tell the world about Lesotho and about how things can go wrong, as they indeed went wrong in Lesotho. When teenagers and toddlers are killed with Uzis and AK47s by their own people you can be safe in assuming that things have gone wrong. Until now that has been my main reason for blogging: tell 'em, let 'em know. Do it. Now.

I did.

But there's lots more to tell. We started with Lesotho's ills: the killing of other Basotho by Basotho, going hungry, catching disease and dying off, squandering resources. Then we talked some about how to fix those ills. The vote, we said, is the weapon of choice against incompetent administrations, in Lesotho and in any other democratic country. Then we talked some about the land, and saw how we got to it and how we own it, for lack of a better word. We've recently been trying to find ways of selling Lesotho to potential visitors, because it is no secret that we could have a steady tourist trade in Lesotho. And boy, would that do us good! There are no clear topic demarcations into which I blog. I just feel my way along, or base myself on the way something turns out in Lesotho or southern Africa.

This activity, which does take a lot of time, has otherwise given me a megaphone to the world. But it is not a megaphone for SHOUTING OUT MY THOUGHTS. It is rather a megaphone that lets me get heard along with the other megaphones, because the one who doesn't have one is sunk. There shouldn't be any shouting about any aspect of blogging. I try to be firm and truthful, even where I'm clearly not being objective. I think there's a difference between fibbing and being subjective, and I think I can remain subjective but truthful. "I hate the son of a bitch; he broke my leg" could be truthful, although it's clearly not very objective. I obviously dislike the political party under which an attempt was made on my father's life, my brother and my nephew were killed, my father was thrown in jail, many Basotho were tortured, some killed, the country's scant resources were squandered or left to rot, and my family was later forced to flee Lesotho. Wouldn't you? Blogging has helped me, together with poetry and my family, to remain cool and to get rid of the damned demons that just kept nagging and nagging and tugging at my soul. I was able to remain sane. I can't forget. I can forgive.

We have also seen how Lesotho is unique on the continent, and how it can attract visitors. The beauty of the land and the promise of a different experience. I think we've been making a mistake by competing with Kenya and Tanzania for "Africa." That designation belongs to them much more than it belongs to us. Ask anybody, Africa means forests (untrue but widely believed) and lions and jaguars and safaris and gnus and the tze-tze fly. We don't have any of those things but the other guys do. As a result we must stop trying to sell Africa, and sell us: skiing and mountain-climbing and pony-trekking and fly-fishing and camping and no tze-tze bites in Africa! Otherwise we're losers even before the contest begins.

We delved awhile into music and other arts as practised by Basotho, and inti why they sing so much! Basotho sing all the time. And so do all southern Africans; a fact which, I believe, helped us tolerate the grave apartheid injustices we went through. Of course, like everybody else, we also sing for the sheer fun of singing, or to help our young ones fall asleep more quickly.

I would like to be able to keep informing you of developments in Lesotho, but more than anything, of how you can help Lesotho and Basotho, and how, in my view, Basotho can help themselves. Every little bit helps. It's been nice being aboard. But it's been nicer having your attention. My fingers and my toes are crossed as I say to you this day, "We've only just begun."