This particular page has been completely inspired and is an adaptation of a paper by Mr Kalusi Ramakhula on the value of history & culture. The paper was written as an inspirational piece as well as a means to ending the culture on the lack of documentation on many history-related aspects of Lesotho. Sadly, I am not sure if the paper was ever published but I acquired a printed draft copy from him and so I thought in the spirit of ‘ending’ this horrid culture I should share his ideas –albeit with a feminine touch.
The Importance of Culture as the Nourishment for National Intellect…
The culture of any nation is the embodiment of the peoples past, their way of doing things, and their ways of interaction. Its most important dimension is that it connects people with their God.
It is for this reason that after the so-called dark ages the French during the Renaissance first revived their culture and traditions and then social and economic restoration followed. Today, France is the second richest country in Europe. It is for the same reason that today South Africa in search of its spirituality, has embarked on the African Renaissance after also realizing that intellect thrives on the spirit and the soul.
It is against the above background that Basotho should also find the need to join actively in the African Renaissance. Our first step should therefore involve looking back into our history with the purpose of finding valuable examples that we can follow as a nation. Wise ways of our founders that would guide us back to our God and our prosperity.
Importance of God in the Journey to Prosperity
Basotho have always believed that all beings are answerable to a higher power or body other than their own. This is well captured by the expression: ‘Motse ho hauoa oa morapeli’. It follows then that nations must always abide by the laws and commands of their God in order to prosper. Failure to comply will lead to dire consequences!
As an example, using a quote from the Bible we will demonstrate how Jews were almost destroyed as a result of failing to listen to their God when he said to them:
“If you follow my law, I shall make you the Lord of other nations, but if you turn against it, I shall make you slaves to the other nations. Foreigners shall come from faraway lands and dominate you. They shall torment you until you are utterly destroyed”.
The above is indeed the word of God, Jehovah when he was addressing the Jews. However, the Jews did not heed their Jehovah and for centuries after, they suffered like no other nation had suffered. They were driven out of their country into despair. They were persecuted all over Europe and in the twentieth century Adolph Hitler attempted and almost succeeded to wipe them off the face of the earth. It was after this incident which history had termed the Holocaust that the Jews started to seriously search for their roots. Consequent to their search, they were led back to Israel, the land of their ancestors, their true religion and God. Hence today as we all know, the Jews can be regarded as the most powerful nation on earth!
From the above example and the successes of our great forebears, we learn that God manifests himself to his people in different ways. Moreover, it is important that his people maintain his law.
It follows then that if Basotho were to return to their God, Tlhatlha-Macholo, then they will not only be able to truly identify themselves but they will also prosper and become a great nation as prophesised.
First it is important to note that the birth of the Basotho Nation was not a fluke occurrence caused by the Lifaqane and hordes of refugees running all over the sub continent looking for security. The existence of our nation was prophesized years before the advent of Lifaqane and cannibalism.
Chief Mohlomi, a sage who without doubt, the messenger of the Gods and God, made this prophesy. This important prophecy came through when his grand father Peete had taken the then young Moshoeshoe to Chief Mohlomi. In his meeting with Lepoqo, Mohlomi did not only prophesize that a new nation led by Moshoeshoe will be born but Mohlomi also gave Moshoeshoe commandments that he had to follow so that the new nation may be successful.
The nation of Basotho was indeed formed and within a short space of time, all the major Sotho tribes and nationalities joined Moshoeshoe, and this nation became the most successful indigenous state south of the Zambezi. A nation that was able to beat off the Zulus who were the lords of the territories. The only nation that was able to survive the colonizing British and the mauling Boers in spite of their superior weaponry.
History also informs us that this nation was not strong only militarily, but that it was such an industrious nation that though horses were a relatively a novel bred to them, in no time they had bred the type of horse that was suited for their territories. Their breed was so tough and sure-footed that the British when shopping for horses preferred the Basotho ponies to the Boer horses.
History again informs us that there was never a time when the Basotho asked for donations from other nations, not even when their land was taken from them and scores of them were pushed into hostile Maluti. On the contrary, they were able to feed their own and in later years were the major exporters of wheat to the Boer republics and the Cape colony. All this was attributed to the fact that throughout his lifetime, King Moshoeshoe I adhered to the commandments that were laid to him by the great chief Mohlomi as the commandments from the Gods and God.
There is a pressing need for Basotho to start working towards self-sufficiency. However, to attain this goal we first need to start the journey of renewal and self–definition, which would require us to seriously review our history. And, ultimately help us to be part of the African Renaissance. Therefore, part of Mbeki’s dream, a dream best captured in his “I am an African” speech .
“I am an African” it begins. “I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas, and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land”. It ends with “Nothing can stop us now”!
Surely, we too as Basotho can be unstoppable as we work together towards prosperity.