Monday

South Africa for beginners

When in 1830, Adam Kok III and the Griqua people crossed Mosheshwe's [sic] territory undefeated, Mosheshwe realized how ineffective traditional African tactics were against soldiers on horseback with guns. The Basotho began to stockpile arms and acquire horses, and trained themselves in the use of those weapons. In 1832, Mosheshwe encountered Boers, and in exchange for some cattle, allowed them access to some Basotho land. What soon became clear was that while Mosheshwe meant that the Boers could use the land, the Boers thought that they owned the land. When the Boers confiscated Basotho cattle which wandered onto "boer territory," the Basotho retaliated with raids against the Boers.
[ Read on... ]
NB: The name of the founder of Lesotho is either Moshesh (English), Moshweshwe (South African Sesotho) or Moshoeshoe (Sesotho). Mosheshwe is incorrect.

I wanted to point out the fact that, well, he couldn't help himself from doing that thing, that thing he was so used to doing, all the time. Moshoeshoe's strength lay in that fact: he appeased his enemy and won them over. He rented Basotho land to Orange Free State Boers and they kept it. If you'll remember, he had forgiven cannibals who had eaten his own father, and later integrated them into his growing nation. He was always doing that, the cool-headed, forgiving, Lepoqo, his given name.

What if he hadn't done that? What if he'd gone all out and attacked with all his might? I think, then, that there wouldn't be a Lesotho today. He would have been annihilated even before he could observe the enemy and understand why they were winning. But even beside that, the act would have gone "against his grain," and placed him in totally unfamiliar territory, the territory of fighters and land snatchers, murderers, enslavers. There certainly would not have been a Lesotho today, because the guy wouldn't have known what to do. He would have been stumped, and his quick, peaceful faculties would have been frozen into non-action.

And what do we do, we, the descendants of Moshoeshoe, the guy who metaphorically called peace his sister? Well, actually we don't do anything. We just sit around and let others mess up our country, or we do do something, by messing up the damn country ourselves. We often whine about the conquered territories... the ones Moshoeshoe rented out and never saw again. I whine about them, too. But what the hell for? What do you want with a big-sized country when you can't run a small-sized one? And the South African Basotho who live on those lands today, think they're gonna want to come back to us? Put yourself in their shoes and think again.