AS I SEE IT
THERE is a Sesotho proverb that says: Thupa e otlolloa esale metsi.
Loosely translated this means a branch of a tree must be straightened up while growing before it gets dry as it would break when straightened when it is old.
I am told that children of yester-year were good mannered because it took a whole village to raise a child.
The situation seems to be quite different today.
It looks like parents, priests, teachers, and just about everyone cannot stop complaining about the behaviour of youths.
On the other hand the children appear to be quite daring to the extent that they seem to want to raise themselves without the guidance of elders.
This is very wrong because children, like seedlings, need tender care and good nurturing.
From a cultural perspective we all grew up knowing our different social roles.
Boys would grow up looking after livestock while the girls did domestic chores.
Children were taught to respect elders and the virtues of being honest.
During puberty where their hormones would start troubling them and started courting, they would do so in a discreet manner.
It was unthinkable that young ones would hug and cuddle in the presence of elders.
Today if you don’t give a hug when greeting someone you are deemed backward.
If someone is from the villages and hinterlands of Lesotho, one is dubbed sothoana meaning that one is barbaric and backward and is not moving with the times.
We appear to have been taken completely off balance regarding respect for our culture and traditions.
My brethren and sisters have lost their culture and tradition for the sake of being cool.
Parents are heard in taxis talking proudly how their kids can speak English with an English accent.
These children go to English medium schools and are totally discouraged from speaking their mother tongue.
The children are being discouraged from studying their history in schools because it is regarded as not important.
But let us look at what the French, Portuguese and Chinese have done with their languages.
China is a force to be reckoned with in every sphere of life.
If you can’t agree just look around you, the computers, the cellphones, television and radio sets, the door locks, cars and just about anything at your disposal has Chinese influence.
In American science laboratories, I’m told that Mandarin is like the official language.
African people give their children Caucasian names and don’t even bother to give their children African names.
People claim to be Africans but their way of life says something about them.
I recently visited some of my friends in Johannesburg where someone needs to be multilingual.
I was disgusted by the fact that my friends’ children who are Basotho could hardly speak a word in Sesotho.
They would speak English and Zulu fluently that I would be left gasping for breath.
I asked their parents why their young ones can’t speak Sesotho. They said it’s because of the school they attend.
That needs to change if we are to advance as a people.
Our youths appear to be completely misguided.
Take for example the case of eight National University of Lesotho students who were caught writing examinations on behalf of their colleagues.
What got into the minds of these future leaders?
The NUL students were slapped with five-year jail sentences or fine of M5 000 each after the magistrate found them guilty of fraudulently writing examinations for their friends.
These are quite disturbing activities by our youths.
Instead of improving themselves these children spend most of their time on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Mxit talking with their friends about silly things.
It’s no use whining without doing something about this situation.
The children of 1976 in South Africa rose up to fight against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at schools in Soweto and they succeeded.
The youth need guidance so that they can grow up into respectable citizens of Lesotho.