This is one of those weeks when all and sundry will talk about women. I am neither South African or a fully acknowledged woman (in Sesotho to qualify fully as a woman, one needs to be familiar with the institution of marriage). The question however is what will women’s day mean to me especially it falling on a Saturday? I am not sure but if I had the money and good company, the day will mean pure indulgence; a day at some spa and an evening of romantic comedies with good wine and chocolate. But I am sure that would be missing the point entirely! The day is about celebrating womanhood and honouring women in their various roles, past and present.
As I have been focusing on the past, it is only fitting then I celebrate a remarkable woman in history (of Lesotho naturally 🙂 ), Queen ‘Manthatisi of the Batlokoa clan. Queen ‘Manthatisi was a true warrior. As far as I understand, with her in the lead no man could say “never send a woman for a man’s job”! She was probably as good an opponent as Puseletso Seema is in fighting men in a stick fight (ho kalla); a ‘sport’ by men, with skilled women like ‘m’e Puseletso, whose performance elates all females and embarrasses most men 🙂
Derailed a bit, the point is, Queen ‘Manthatisi embodies what one could call ‘strength of a woman’. She was widowed at young age and instead of complaining of the lemons that life gave her, she made lemonade. For she understood, in part, that she had a duty to protect the throne for her son Sekonyela. Precisely because a mother, when needs be, holds the sharp edge of the knife (” ‘ma o ts’oara thipa ka bohaleng” ). Was it easy for her? Not at all! It is said that there were attempts on Sekonyela’s life whilst he was a young boy to prevent him from getting to the throne. So for Queen ‘Manthatisi her battles were both within and outside her land.
However, she did achieve that which she wanted to achieve. And for me, the evidence lies in the following sentiment — which I have heard but orally — describing her death:
‘Manthatisi a tall and fair in complexion daughter of the Basia, mother of Sekonyela, died with a smile on her face. For indeed she had secured her son’s future!
So yes in the spirit of women’s day celebrations, I doff off my hat to Queen ‘Manthatisi and any woman who will reach the finish line with a smile on her face!! And to girls like me, I say, sense of humour surely guarantees us as a smile 😉 !