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Let them drink tea!

by Lesotho Times

We are a cattle country. That’s just how it is. If your ancestors did not have cattle, goats or sheep and you claim to be a Mosotho then you better start tracing your roots back to Madagascar or somewhere near there.

Seriously, it’s not by default that we have more herd boys than teachers. Likhomo Basotho!

So given this reality, will anyone blame Scrutator for hitting the roof with anger after she was told that the country has run out of beef?

Scrutator is now living on greens (cabbages, rapa e putsoa, sepaile and lepu). The reason, we are told, is that South Africa is battling foot-and-mouth disease so we can’t import their meat.

When beef runs out in a country with more cattle than human beings then you begin to question the ingenuity of its people.

That this is happening in a country that has more than five million head of cattle is bizarre.

It’s a scandal of colossal levels that a country that has more sheep than trees can run out of mutton.

Our so-called abattoirs have since proven that they are not capable of servicing even this tiny market.

So will anyone raise a finger if Scrutator says we are merely a province of South Africa masquerading as a sovereign country? The last time Scrutator asked that question some people almost toyi-toyed.

The misdirected ones called her an unpatriotic zealot while others had the temerity to label her an ungrateful foreigner who has become so comfortable that she has developed rotund cheeks from eating too much of our “national delicacy”, makoenya (we don’t even grow the wheat, anywhere). 

What triggered the anger and those rabid accusations was because Scrutator had said we are a country that eats everything and produces nothing.

Holy dung!

Since the meat crisis started Scrutator has been battling to lay her hands on anything that our country can do for itself without South Africa’s helping hand.

So far she has found nothing.

It’s embarrassing that in this day and age we still import cabbages, spinach and eggs from South Africa.

It is because of our only neighbours that we get to eat potatoes and every fruit that you can think of, including guava. Guavas! Scrutator wants to puke in disgust.

For goodness’ sake, we can’t even produce enough maize, the easiest crop to grow, to feed our 1.8 million people.

Does it not worry our leaders that we import everything in this country?

Does it not worry us as parents that everything we put on our meal table is produced in some other country whose people are not different from us?

I ask: just what can we do for ourselves as a people?

The silly excuse is that we are still a developing country yet surely after almost half a century of independence we must at least be able to produce the basics.

Where were we when other African countries were developing their agriculture and manufacturing industries, never mind how small? 

Scrutator is not asking that we have an airline like other countries.

Neither is she expecting our kingdom to have a nuclear power plant.

Nor is she saying we must have sent some people to the moon by now.

All she is saying is that we must be able to produce enough food for ourselves. How about simple things like peanut butter for a start?

If that’s asking too much at least we can start by learning to till the little land we have.

This business of washing cars and running battered 4-plus-ones will get us nowhere as a country.

Until we learn that a country must learn to feed itself sufficiently before it clamours to venture into some complicated economic sectors then we will forever remain beholden to South Africa.

They will buy our water cheap, irrigate their cabbages and sell them to us at satanically exorbitant prices.

There are those myopic ones amongst us who might want to argue that there is nothing wrong with importing food because most developed countries are doing so. Mmmmmmmm!

Well, that’s because those countries are too busy making serious things to worry about keyhole gardens.

What are we busy doing? We are busy moaning about the lack of opportunities when fertile expanses of our land lie idle for lack of serious farmers. 

Scrutator is sick to the back teeth of people who whimper endlessly about the lack of opportunities when all they do is bask in the sun like lizards and get drunk stupid.

You need not “throw bones” to understand why our kingdom has witnessed marginal development since independence.

There are people in our midst committed to doing nothing but gulp the merry waters, day in day out, hoping that by some miracle the gods will show them something productive to do.

There are people who want to rest before they work.

We are probably the only country in the world where people start drinking beer as early as 8am. 

We are a people contented with the small things of life. The truth is that we don’t dream big. Our dreams are limited to landing government tenders.

Where is the drive to start companies that make things?

Because of our defeatist attitude we will forever whine about foreigners coming to loot our resources and exploit our people.

Nowhere is this sorry state of affairs apparent than in our textile factories. Oops, sorry, did I say textile factories . . . I meant to say sweat factories.

You can see the attitude of the factory owners.

In Maputsoe, some factory workers are up in arms against their employer. They are demanding better wages but the employer has told them to go hang.

The employer has however gone on a charm offensive in the media, telling all who care to listen that he gives his workers tea and soup.

Now you know why we need to start our own companies as Basotho.

Now you know.

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Lesotho’s widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. 

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