It’s tough to be young in Lesotho

IT IS tough being young and gifted in our beautiful mountainous country. . . kapa joang!

Actually, it is tough being the youth in Lesotho — period! We are faced with so many varying challenges; that just everyday existing can be a very difficult feat at times!

We get a lot of grief from every echelon in our diverse yet similar-minded society.

The range of situations we find ourselves having to face is really vast and it is a wide assortment of issues!

Our parents are always on our cases on how their generation was better than ours; how we have lost all sense of morality and all those serious sounding words!

And yes, I know this is experienced by almost if not all youth, worldwide, and it is a “generational thing!

Our elders tell us we have lost our sense of culture and uniqueness; we do not respect our culture!

I respect the little I know of culture; I say little because the only way we know is if we take the initiative!

Isn’t culture supposed to be passed from one generation to another?

I know that some older folk reading this will take it I am giving them lip, and will blame it on modernisation!

But, come on, our generation cannot live as you did, because of technology, but I swear we can learn from it, so sit us down and share with us!

You blame the TV for our silly thoughts and behaviour, ntho tsa matsatsing ana, yet you are quick to refer us to it or the computer when we ask you how it was in your day, or the days of your parents!

I am not trying to point any fingers here; I am no sociologist or whatever “gist” that deals with people and how they live; but I do make a point when I say one generation somewhere really tripped somehow!

Is this due to some communication breakdown of sorts?

Check this out; how then are we supposed to respect and practise our culture when Christianity is also drummed into us?

Hoooo, religious zealots! Hold your horses, let me explain and you can chew me up after!

Some Christians interpret the Bible’s writings to proclaim that practices such as mokete oa balimo and other cultural practices are sacrilegious and should have been abolished when the missionaries rocked up!

On the other hand I am told I should be a proud Mosotho girl who knows the ins and outs of my culture and not just maintain that uniqueness of Bosotho by practising the said culture!

Hao bathong, stop confusing us! Can we please hear the final version?

And get this, we are a kingdom, so culture does count, but we are a modern one! I have a list of questions on just this topic, but I will stop here and let you ponder it!

It might happen that some older folk reading this are furious because it is expected that as a young person, especially a woman, you have to hold your tongue and listen to what the grown-ups are saying!

There is definitely no harm in that; but I doubt I will be able to get out there, seize opportunities, work hard and vacate your abode (as you insist), if I held my thoughts (thus my tongue)!

There is no doubt that there are some really disrespectful and irrational young minds out there, giving us a bad name.To cure them I totally agree with most of your wishes that corporal punishment should be brought back!

I always wonder though, if we are supposed to do as our elders tell us to do and not question anything, how do our leaders expect us to believe that we live in a democracy?

Unless, well, the definition of democracy has changed or differs according to whom it is directed!

If we are silent, how can we make the authorities aware that it is really not meeting many obligations they owe to their people by virtue of being the government?

Most Basotho youth are talented or gifted in some way or the other!

But we will never know the extent of the said talents and their scope because there are hardly any outlets nor is talent very much encouraged to grow!

There is a very small number of parents who, from the onset supported their offspring (my peers) when they exhibited some natural ability in some art form! The encouragement received is to shelve that, and pursue something reasonable!

Then when a poor sod fails in life because of unresolved issues, not having used God-given talent, he is labelled (along with his peers)
good-for-nothing! OUCH!

The list of questions and issues goes on and on, and some issues are unique to different areas and even individual families, but the core subject matter is plain and simple; we really have an arduous task on our shoulders — living in Lesotho, and making sure we do not step on any toes!

There is no way you can walk in the dark without stumbling, tripping on someone’s outstretched shin or even stubbing your own toe; and this will all be by accident but you will still be crucified!

I have decided to stomp on some toes on purpose, to get some sort of reaction — so that I survive and move forward — as a young Mosotho woman!

What are you doing? And with all due respect what is it our leaders are doing? How do we get together, amicably and most of all give each his or her due respect and develop Lesotho?

Eish, teeny boppers, please keep your opinion to yourselves — Yeah I said it!

Moleboheng Rampou is a freelance writer based in Maseru

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