“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” — Henry Adams
Today, I am taken back in time, to ntate Oliphant’s class, when I was half my age. He is reciting the poem, Africa by David Diop. As he recites this poem, his voice is heavy, reverent and amazingly captivating; its almost like it is the first time I have ever had him speak but it isn’t! It is merely the first time that I am awakened and connected to my identity. I am awaken to what it means to be an African and challenges that lie ahead in order for Africans to stand tall and not with their backs bent!
Ntate Oliphant, thank you for reciting this poem as you did:
Africa, my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral Savannahs …
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins …
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this you, this back that is bent
This back that breaks
Under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun? (ll. 1-2, 5-6, 11-16)
Happy Africa day to all! May we all continue in small ways to work towards an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and democratic. Mayibuye iAfrica!
Given that Moshoeshoe’s day commemorates death, it may sound a little strange when I say: happy Moshoeshoes’ day! The truth however is that for Moshoeshoe I, death was like a gift. As I have suggested before (in this post), Moshoeshoe I understood that it is in death that he will be able to finally meet and thank his Creator and his ancestors (Molimo le balimo ba hae, as Basotho would put it ;-)) for guiding him in his journey. A journey in which he became the great leader that he yearned to be as a young man! For this reason, death was truly a gift to him, for his dreams did come true and all he needed was to express his gratitude.
I suppose when one fails to view life as a gift, it may be a bit difficult to see why death itself is a gift. Today as we celebrate Moshoeshoe’s day, it is therefore my wish that all will be inspired to live a life in which in death one will find joy and celebrate the transition to the next life. So, happy Moshoeshoe’s day! And lets remember that one day we too shall die — memento mori, memento mori!
Well it is that sunday of the year where we remember the fallen heroes – our fathers and grandfathers who fought in the world war. This particular year as we celebrate the freedoms that these men fought for, one song comes to mind. This song was written by Ntate Karabo Eric Lekhanya and its chorus is as follows:
“Khotso e rene kahohle-hohle
Pula li ne melubela;
Batho ba lule ba ratana
Ba lese ho loantšana.”
Let peace reign all over
Let the rains rain
All people must continue to love one another
And they should not fight each other.
It is therefore my hope that all the prayers made during the 2 minutes of silence can result in a renewed commitment to peace. Khotso Pula Nala!
I am uncertain about whether to celebrate the Independence day tomorrow (4th October) or not. I am yet to get a proper exaplanation on why we celebrate the day. Basically I still don’t understand why we needed to declare independence when we were but a protectorate and not a colony. As far as I understand, when we sought out protection to become Her Majesty’s subjects, it was never at the expense of our freedom. Thus, I still don’t understand how the British ended up setting their own government in our own country. Moshoeshoe in his submission to the British crown made it clear that he will continue to govern and provide leadership for his people. This was captured by the supposed statement he made: ‘le nkuke le nta tsa kobo ea ka, empa le tlohelle sechaba sa ka ke se buse’ (rough transaltion: take me together with the lice from my blanket, but allow me to remain the governor and leader of my people).
So the question is why did the British decide to treat us like a colony of sort? The answer doesn’t really matter for this posting. All I want, really, is for those who will celebrate the day to remember that freedom is never free, even though it contains the word free. Freedom comes with great responsibility. We need to honour those who sacrificed themselves in fighting for freedom by doing our best to make this world a better place. Yes, this sounds all cliché, but we need to start taking to heart what it means to be truly free to be whatever it is we want to be. I know for example that the dream of prosperity might seem to be hard to attain, but no one ever said it will be easy. As it was, the journey out of Egypt to the promised land was slow and filled with trials and tribulations which at one point resulted in Israelites worshipping false gods. (In Sesotho: leeto la ho ea fihla Kanana ebile le letelele le nang le mats’oenyeho, Maisaraele chaba sa ‘Moloki ke botele ba leeto, babile ba rapela melimo ea bosaoana). So, whilst it is certain that we will meet some challenges let us not despair!
Happy Independence to all!