Tuesday

Lesotho Can Have Tourists

So you think you know Lesotho, huh? Try this for size.

Lesotho Tourist Board

The dreaded website has not budged. My spirits remain high and hopeful, however, since I only sent my e-mail messages requesting its removal over this past weekend. There's still time.

Wednesday

Trafficking in Humans

Human trafficking is growing in South Africa. This was revealed by the War Against Trafficking Alliance at the conference against sex trafficking in Benoni, on the East Rand.
[ Source... ]


The above quote if from a SABC News piece to which I was directed by Bronwyn of Msanzi Afrika.

Tuesday

Repairing the Past

Can we repair the past? No, we can't. Brandon has a post about repairing the past. How can we? I suppose it's an unfortunate choice of words, because what's done is done and cannot...can never be repaired. It can, however, be incapacitated. By that I mean to say that the damage can eventually be accepted and forgiven. Nobody can fix it. The sufferer and only the sufferer alone, barring God, can forgive it.

Brandon is my expert on mass reconciliation and forgiveness. But not on mass repairing. The sufferer is his or her own expert on that score. You must understand that for me reparations and repairing are two different concepts. The former is tangible and is often fiduciary, while the latter is intangible and has not been know to exist. Point me to the man or woman who can repair my soul and I'll give you reparations. It's as simple as that. Give me a million and one dollars as reparations, and my pain will remain as intense, if not more.

I've often wished for a reconciliation committee, South-African style, in Lesotho (See this post, too). But please know that it was to get neither reparations nor repairing. It was simply to know and to find out the truth, because when you lose someone and you don't know where and how and why and who... you die a little everyday, and you fight stubbornly to stay aloft, alive, and sane. Reparations aren't enough and repairing is impossible. But there's reconciliation. That's what is left. We don't have anything better. So reconciliation it is.

Monday

SWP

"stupid white people"

Read this Fodder post for information about this "stupid white people" link.

Tourism in Lesotho

Good Lord Almighty, even other people have more informative tourism web pages about us and our country than we do! Crazy... Here's someone in South-Africa talking about tourism in Lesotho.

Saturday

Uncorrected Bunkum

Same bunkum. I guess they ignored my protesting e-mail. When you arrive at the bunkum, check out the "information" that is in the circle.

Down with the LTB Webshite

There are at least seventeen sites that link to http://www.ltb.org.ls, and believe me 17 in-bound links for a country's tourism webpages is pathetic. But when you actually see the pages, you understand why. The webshite isn't about tourism in Lesotho, it isn't in fact about tourism anywhere, it is just there, using up valuable national cyberspace.

Swaziland's official tourism pages are appealing, and they are professional. There are at least 260 in-bound links to Swaziland's tourism pages. Botswana's has at least 160 in-bound links.

Are you still with me?

I've spoken about this before (first, second) and, frankly, right now I feel the need to do nothing else but get the pages in question removed from Lesotho's national cyberspace. This is cyber-squatting and I've just declared war on it.

My first step toward achieving this goal: I'm going to send an e-mail message to each of the 17 websites that link to http://www.ltb.org.ls, asking them to ask the Lesotho Tourist Board or the Ministry of Tourism to do something about the website. I will publish an example of the e-mail message in these pages. Let us hope that even if only one website sends a message of complaint, somebody will actually do something. If not, then I'll just have to find a second step, which might be writing an open letter directly to the Ministry of Tourism, or to the person in charge of the Lesotho Tourist Board.

African Crisis

African Crisis

Please take a peek at Fodder if you want to know more about the above link.

Thursday

C.O.W.

Used to think it was no skin off my nose. It is.

Web Shite

The web shite that sits on the Lesotho Tourist Board URL (www.ltb.org.ls) has not budged, despite this blogger's pleas for it to please be removed. This is national space, for crying out loud, and I for one would like to use it as such. A friend has just requested information about tourist activities in Lesotho. His folks may want to go through Lesotho on a visit to the region. The natural place to hunt for this kind of information is...naturally...the tourist body of the country in question. Well, ours has been usurped by this monstrosity, and I wonder how many people, genuinely looking for information, have been unceremoniously repulsed. Will it boil down to sending a letter to the ministry to get the web shite in question removed? I'm afraid so. In the meantime I have to go elsewhere (the list that I myself have put together) to get information for my friend.

Wednesday

Zulu Sings Indian Music

South African Patrick Ngcobo has learned, and sings Indian carnatic music, despite the skeptic and discouraging remarks of his African and Indian neighbours. Carnatic music is southern India's classical music. "The basic form is a monophonic song with improvised variations. There are 72 basic scales on the octave, and a rich variety of melodic motion. Both melodic and rhythmic structures are varied and compelling. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions." Indian music is basically composed of two traditional genres, namely Carnatic music from the south and Hindustani music from the north.

AIDS Mission to Lesotho

"The UN secretary general's special envoy on HIV/Aids Africa has arrived in Lesotho to review the impact of Aids in that country, especially on women and vulnerable children. Envoy Stephen Lewis arrived last night for a three-day official visit, at the invitation of Motloheloa Phooko, Lesotho's health and social welfare minister."
[ More... ]

Tuesday

Ant thoughts

"LAUNCH (Lesotho/Alexandra Uplift for Needy Children) is committed to helping needy children of both the Kingdom of Lesotho and Alexandra Township, South Africa, grow into healthy, educated, principled and self-reliant adults.

We strive to make a positive difference by providing scholarships, personal guidance and other assistance like food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Our model is based on establishing profound one-to-one relationships and availing children with a trusted counselor with whom they can freely discuss their education, social issues and personal direction. We require our children to strive for academic excellence and to be responsible citizens of the world around them."

[ Source... ]

There you go, bending over backwards to help us. We appreciate it. And I'm sure those souls that are receiving the promise of a better future because of your efforts will always be grateful. Or are we, as a people, so used to being helped and succoured that it all seems normal and none out of the ordinary? Because if that is so, then how can we be grateful for what was normal, is normal, and will be normal? Those receiving this kind of aid, however, must invest at home, full-stop. That's the only way I know of breaking the cruel cycle. To LaunchAfrica folks, I say rea leboha. To the kids getting aid, I say, use your brains, and think like ants.

Wednesday

Ho Beta (Rape)

Nick of NjaloNjalo and Mike of Out2Lunch tell us what they think about rape in South Africa. Please visit them. It is perhaps high time this painful subject was dealt with.

I didn't find any permanent links on NjaloNjalo, but the post in question was on Sunday, 6 June 2004.

Tuesday

Blacks to get Land Stolen during Apartheid

Does anyone want to say something in relation with this statement, if it is not true? In March, Bronwyn cut down a similar article from a different magazine; it seems like these guys are tenacious. They are here:
Email:
contactus@blackamericatoday.com

Via mail:
BlackAmericaToday.com
P.O. Box 763127
Dallas, TX 75376

Via Fax:
972.293.8566
[ Source... ]

What does all this mean? Where do they get their news from? Are they authentic news sources or unreliable ones? Either way, it is disturbing that there are honest folk who might stumble on this and believe it, assuming it is false.

Monday

Do Visit Lesotho

Activities in Lesotho
Outdoor There are good walking trails in Maseru, along with many craft markets, but without doubt the biggest attraction in Lesotho is hiking. However, make sure before you set out that you use either a guide or compass and map, obtainable at the Department of Land, Surveys and Physical Planning on Lerotholi Road Maseru.

For birdwatching enthusiast, Lesotho is renowned for its large raptor population, including the Cape Vulture, the rare Bearded Vulture, the Steppe Buzzard and the Black Eagle.

Basotho Pony trekking is recommended, with the main centres the Basotho Trekking Centre on God Help Me Pass, and Malealea Lodge near the Gates of Paradise. Other options include Frasers Lodge in Semonkong, the Trading Post Lodge in Roma and Ha Poli Valley near Thaba-Tseka.

The Sani Pass lies on the border with South Africa and is the only viable road into Lesotho from the Kwazulu-Natal side.

You can start the arduous trek to Thabana-Ntlenyana, Southern Africa’s highest peak, on horseback. The road is suited to 4x4, but weather permitting, you could get up in a 4x2 vehicle. A friendly bar at the top will crown your sense of achievement at having scaled the dramatic pass. You’ll feel on top of the world! There are a few budget accommodation options here too.

Himeville and Underberg are the closest towns on the South African side.

Tourism in Lesotho
The tourism sector is one industry which stands to benefit from the LHWP. The tourism industry is being actively promoted by LNDC and a number of hotels, mountain lodges and a national park have been developed in recent years. It is marketed as a haven for those who enjoy back-to-nature adventures with a wide range of activities offered. The majestic beauty of its rugged mountains and the simple way of life are a major drawcard.

Tourist accommodation is being continually developed. Maseru has a number of international hotels and a variety of restaurants, while other areas offer smaller hotel and alpine lodge accommodation. For the growing backpacker demand, there are inns and youth hostels as well as traditional Basotho-thatched rondavels.

The Lesotho Tourist Board operates overland adventure tours from Maseru which take in the scenic and historical highlights as well as offering visits to craft centres, pony trekking, skiing at Oxbow and swimming in bilharzia-free mountain streams.

Pony trekking has become a popular tourist activity in Lesotho. The famous hardy and sure-footed Basotho ponies can take visitors into areas not accessible by road. The Lesotho Highlands are considered the main tourist attraction. The traditional lifestyle of the Basotho can still be seen and most of the customs are fully intact.

The development of the Katse Dam, a 45-kilometre long water feature will become a further attraction in the region offering water-based recreational facilities, bird watching and trout fishing. In the winter, short range skiing at Oxbow is a growing attraction.

The new Tourism Development and Incentives Bill provides for an improved institutional framework for tourism. The bill also ensures that there is proper tourism regulation in the country and that there is an appropriate system for the manufacture and retail of handicrafts and souvenirs in the country.

This year will also see two new programmes implemented by the Ministry of Tourism. A feasibility study on the establishment of a High Altitude Training Centre at Mohale has already started. It is expected that the Centre will offer training facilities to the various sport disciplines to all sportspeople worldwide. The second programme is the development of Ski Resorts. The Kotisephola Skiing site at Sani in the Mokhotlong district has been declared a Special Development Area for Tourism. An investor has been identified and agreement has been reached for the development of the site. Mahlasela has also been identified for the establishment of a skiing resort.

Lesotho is a Unique Tourism Experience
Popular descriptions of this rugged country, with is majestic beauty and serene simplicity, are "Mountain Kingdom" and "Kingdom in the Sky". Lesotho Offers a very different tourism experience, with the potential of the tourism sector lying in its natural beauty, rich flora and fauna, and absorbing prehistoric and cultural heritage. The appeal of this extraordinary country is rarely found in more commercialized destinations.

Mountains, valleys, and rivers provide memorable scenery for tourists. This is where Lesotho gets its crystal clear water as well as green pastures for livestock. Minerals such as diamond are found in the mountains. Indeed, Lesotho is the Kingdom in the Sky.

Mountains of Lesotho
Most tourist travel many kilometers from their countries just to come and patch in the rocks of Lesotho. They also enjoy playing around the clean water of Lesotho' s mountains. This is one of the biggest source of income to the country.

In the Villages of Lesotho
Basotho are a nation that has solid traditions, beliefs and customs. The annual Morija arts festival portrays at the best level the rich culture and celebrations that Lesotho is truly proud of. If you want to be part of these celebrations you will be welcomed with smiling faces. And in the villages, you will be offered the traditional porridge -- Motoho. Come and experience a wealth of savory food, natural attractions, and reserves.

The Maluti Mountains, spurs of the Drakensberg range, extend north and south. They form a high plateau from 9,000 to 10,000 ft in height. The highest point is Thabana Ntlenyana (11,425ft) in the east. The rich volcanic soils of the foothills and mountains are some of the best in the country.

The sources of two of the principal rivers in South Africa, the Orange and the Tugeld, are in these mountains. Tributaries of the Caledon River, which forms the country's western border, also rise here.

[ Source... ]

Floor Technicians

I've just dropped my kids off at school. It's a pleasant 15-minute walk, especially now that winter's finally behind us, and the early morning air is still relatively unpolluted. Sometimes we have animated conversations, sometimes we walk silently, each of us in their own thoughts. When my daughter was three we were walking thus in silence when she exclaimed, "Regarde, papa, la lune est cassée!" (Look, dad, the moon's broken!)

I looked up at it, a bluish crescent barely visible between two tall buildings. "What a brilliant observation," I thought to myself. And as we walked, a crude poem started happening in my head. The main image of my poem was to be my daughter's metaphor: a broken love, OK, but compared to what? A half-eaten cookie? The way it crumbles? An unconsumed love....

Anyway, today something else had possession of my mind. I saw at least three black people sweeping the streets, and one other sweeping the pavement in front of a supermarket. It just started me off...why black people? I've never seen a white person or an oriental person doing the same thing. Blam! The truth sank home: only black people sweep the streets here, at least in my neighbourhood. Why? Why? Why? Because they're black? Of course not, that's silly. They're sweeping the streets because they can't do much else. I think that anybody faced with two candidates, one qualified and one not qualified, would hire the qualified candidate.

Affirmative action has always left me undecided. Deep down it's a practice that I despise, but on a day to day basis I think it may be necessary, at least in the short term. Is it detrimental to the well-being of a whole society, for the benefit of the beneficiary? I don't know. It's a complicated issue that politicians must work out, and apply with reason. I was looking at some job offers in South-Africa, and yes, affirmative action is in force there. I'd be interested in having South-African and American points of view on this particular matter.

In France, street-sweepers are comfortably referred to as techniciens de surface, or floor technicians. But they remain what they are, as well as their salaries. What we have to ask ourselves is, if these folks are sweeping streets because they are unqualified for other work, why are they unqualified? Because they didn't go to school or they quit school. Why did they not go to school or why did they quit school? Because they didn't have enough money, or they had to work to support their family...we could go on. The bottom line is, "Because they're black." I don't care what you say or how you say it, it remains a fact that in Europe and in America and in South Africa colour determines how far you'll go in society. I'm willing to listen to you, though, and I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

Thursday

Re: Re: Re: Inverted Pyramid Syndrome

In 2010 football and its fans are visiting South Africa and southern Africa. Instead of writing a post for the event, as I had meant to, I decided to bring up an older post on football (and other things, to be sure). In January this year I said: "One of the best football players I've ever watched, in the flesh or on the telly, is Mochini Matete. A short, stocky, fast, dribbling and left-footed goal-scorer, Mochini played left wing for Matlama FC, the capital's team. The only thing he probably couldn't do was score with his head. I've never seen him get a red card. Today he must be nearing fifty and the world never saw him play! Not at the Africa Nations Cup, which is being contested in Tunisia at this very moment, nor at the World Cup. Mochini has never made it to either event. It is a shame for football enthusiasts and the sport is that much poorer for it. And what's more, it was hardly Mochini's fault.

When I first saw Maradona I was instantly reminded of Mochini: left foot, speed, height, weight, dribbling, scoring. I decided, however, that Maradona was more efficient, whereas Mochini was a more elegant player, more entertaining, at least. More than Maradona? Yes, I think so. But that's only my opinion. I last saw Mochini bewitching a football stadium in the late seventies, shortly before my family and I were forced into exile by the government of Leabua Jonathan.

The difference then, I calculated, must lie in the degree of efficiency. Mochini was efficient, and boy, was he. But Lesotho sports and European sports are not held against the same standards. European and other pro players have not played football in years. They've been working, if you will. They go to work everyday, spend the day working, and go home to their families in the evening. They work at the stadium or at the gymnasium. Mochini and other African players go to work everyday, spend the day working, and go to football practice in the evening before going home to their families. They played football. Otherwise they were police officers, post-carriers, taxi-drivers, teachers, job-seekers, and any other occupation you can think of. They did their bacon-earning 9-5 then went to play after work. That would mean something like 9-5 for work, 6-8 for football, as opposed to the timetable for pro players.

That would also mean that motivation, incentive, is vastly different between job-holders and players, as well as training facilities and muscle mass and stamina and equipment and number of minutes in contact with a ball, and qualifications and number of training staff, and a host of other insignificant little details that do make a difference, nonetheless. These were different. Then there is talent, non-bought, nurtured, gained through loving something. You should have seen Mochini play.

As a kid growing up in Lesotho I was a Matlama FC fan. But I was also a staunch supporter of the South African Kaizer Chiefs, whose star players had names like Teenage, Wagga-wagga, and Ace. I met the latter years later in Toronto when he was playing for the Blizzards there, and I felt extremely priviledged. Somehow Kaizer Chiefs was superior to Matlama, and could kick any Lesotho team's booty like that. I could safely be fan to both of them, as a result, because in my mind they were galaxies apart. The Chiefs were up there somewhere and Matlama were right here, on earth. I loved the latter dearly, but everybody just knew--the two teams were not in the same league. Full stop. Full stop?

Two or three times a year we would all huddle around a radio set and listen to a Premier League Final or English championship or other crucial match. And of course most of us supported some English team. I was a Liverpool fan. Don't ask me why. For some reason I just liked Keegan and Dalglish and the whole team and those screwy jerseys they used to wear. And I inadvertently knew, as did everyone else, that Liverpool could beat Kaizer Chiefs. I mean, the thought of them playing against each other had never crossed my mind and had no chance of ever crossing my mind except in my wildest fantasies, for Liverpool were higher still, and so could lick the Chiefs just like that, and the Chiefs could lick Matlama just like that!

Every four years the football world celebrates its favourite sport by holding the World Cup and having a wild time. Every four years we would huddle around that same radio set and listen to the exploits of the biggest teams on the planet. All of us could easily rattle off the names of players on our favourite teams: Socrates, Junior, Zico, Bebeto, Romario, and even before, Pélé, Garrincha, Jairzinho. The trend in importance was Brazil, then the Chiefs, then Matlama. Kids today might even add an African powerhouse between their international favourite and their South African favourite.
B r a z i l

L i v e r p o o l

C a m e r o o n

C h i e f s

Matlama
My warped football world. I wonder if I did not base everything else on that scale. International is better--local isn't good. The Inverted Pyramid Syndrome. I know that I wasn't the only one, and I know that this syndrome wasn't reserved to football. It permeated our society from clothes to foods to sport to skin colour. And, sadly, it had not started with my generation, but with the colonialism fighting generation. While these folks were engaged in negotiations or conflict with the English for independence, they were also trying to dress like them, talk like them, and eat like them, most of them to this day. Some were using skin lotion to lighten their skin. I don't blame them--it was the order of the day, and one had to swim or sink, right? But I wish they'd stop it, today, and dress African and talk like Africans and champion our African ways.

The Inverted Pyramid Syndrome is a scourge that must be fought, just like poverty and hunger and AIDS and corruption and discrimination. And doing so, in my view, would be keeping in line with the National Vision, the promise made to the Basotho people by the Lesotho government, part of whose rationale states that
o--collective energy, collective focus and collective endeavour will always enhance chances of real progress;
o--every successful nation has a rallying point, a common factor, a unifying, inspiring theme;
o--we are faced with a simple choice between keeping abreast with civilisation and progress on the one hand or embracing decadence, stagnation and regression on the other;
o--also, we have to make a deliberate choice between survival or extinction as a nation.
Keeping abreast with civilisation and progress on the one hand or embracing decadence, stagnation and regression on the other. I'd like to say that in the way I would have written it, if I may. "Keeping abreast with technical developments and progress on the one hand, while observing and respecting our traditional ways and treasures on the other." It stands to reason. Why?. Because technical advances are not civilisation per se, and because if we forget who we are then decadence and stagnation set in, we are in imitation of another, we aren't producing anymore, we've become barren. And that's when we start trying to rediscover ourselves, when we shouldn't have hidden ourselves in the first place. The Inverted Pyramid Syndrome is a deadly ill indeed."


Erratum: Apparently Mochini did play in two World Cup finals. But the team, Likoena, didn't make it out of the first round, or I was busy running away from home to notice. Rethabile

Wednesday

Ordering Americans

USS Clueless speaks about ordering Americans versus requesting them:
Writing from South Africa, someone named S'thembiso Sangweni complains about President Bush in terms which are very familiar.

When our own homegrown voice of reason, Nelson Mandela, warned before the invasion of Iraq that US President George W Bush should be reined in because he was "a president who can't think", the world and the UN Security Council - toothless against the White House - looked the other way.

Now the American promise to bring the good life to the Iraqi people has been reduced to car bombs, thick black smoke from oil centres and pictures showing members of American and other allied forces ridiculing and imposing their will on those who see the world differently from them.


What a novel perspective! How unusual and fresh!

He concludes:
Bush must be ordered back to base, or else UN secretary-general Kofi Annan will remain just a man who is good at poetic speeches but thin on poetic justice.
Ordered? Who exactly is going to issue this order to the government of the United States? And what, exactly, will they do if we tell them to take a hike? [ Source... ]

Richard added a strong comment:
USS Clueless discovers the joy of our press corps. Left wing slant? No. Sadly this is main stream for the South African press.

Anti-Americanism has swept the land with a fervor not seen since Dragonbal-Z overthrew Pokemon as the biggest word in entertainment. Every morning when I drive to work I hear it on the radio, I read in the papers, my work colleges look at me skew every time I slap down another silly news distortion (I'm irritating that way, I know), the TV reports, especially the more supposedly more independent e-tv, are so laughable anti-American I 'can' only laugh. Every time I turn around there's another silly fool riding this wave.

Well, damit. America isn't making it any easier. Den Beste is always keen to point out that Americans think for themselves, that they don't need their government to form their own opinion. Newsflash! This is surprisingly the way it works in the rest of the world. Only the only damn news were getting is fricken anti-American. In America there is debate, here there seems to be total agreement. If I have to listen to another radio debate where a representative of counterpunch or move-on represents the American side of the debate I'm going to change channels to "Radio sonder grense". (Hear me, SAFM). [ Source... ]
Please visit both sources in order to read the reports in full, and while you're at it, read the comments as well, always complementary and usually bringing in another view.

Tuesday

SAWR: New Member

The Fishbowl offers an Average Joe's view into local and international politics.

Check him out, and bid him welcome.