We’re raising an angry generation

We’re raising an angry generation

ELSEWHERE in this issue we carry a story of students, allegedly under the influence of marijuana, who ran amok in Quthing, beating up teachers while also burning classroom blocks.
The principal for Mphaki High School says the damage inflicted could be as much as half a million maloti.
In a country where the majority lives on less than two United States dollars a day, that is a lot of money to throw down the drain.

The violence witnessed at Mphaki High School comes a few weeks after a similar incident was reported at Mopeli Primary School, some 10km away.
The students’ violence could be a symptom of what could be much bigger structural issues haunting Lesotho.
These are the issues the authorities running our education system must quickly address if we are to stop raising a generation of young, angry people in this country.
We do not think that arresting the culprits and sending them to prison will be the best of solutions.

We urge the Ministry of Education to investigate these disturbances and provide solutions that work if we are to nip this problem in the bud.
The government must accept that we indeed have a big problem on our hands as a society. That now requires that we move swiftly to look into solutions and fix what has been broken.
These students are not being raised in isolation. They are coming from families, some of them largely dysfunctional.

They are coming from families headed by single mothers, without a father figurehead who can provide the necessary discipline and instruction.
This subject must be examined closely and see how society can intervene to provide leadership for these children.
It could be that they have no proper role models they can look up to while growing up. All they know is to lash out violently when they are subjected to the mildest of pressure.
It is always a challenge to raise responsible children even under a traditional family set-up. That becomes even harder when it is a single parent battling to instill good values such as respect in such children.

The reality on the ground is that we have so many dysfunctional families in Lesotho. The soaring cases of divorce have left children to grow on their own, without any guidance about what constitutes good values.
The traditional family structure has largely collapsed in Lesotho. The extended family system has proven woefully inadequate. We are now reaping the fruits of this shift in the structure of the family.
The violence in schools could be a mirror image of who we are as a society. We would like to argue that Lesotho is generally a very violent society. We rank third on global statistics on gun violence and rape. Not a week passes by without a grim story of someone being violently killed.

But yet we have been slowly conditioned to accept this unfortunate reality.
The government appears impotent to stop the senseless killings, aided by a weak and extremely slow judiciary.
Feeling deeply aggrieved, victims often take the law into their own hands, sparking a cycle of fresh revenge killings across the country.

Even our own police, the very people charged with maintaining peace in our communities, have not been spared. We have lost a number of police officers who have been gunned down in the dead of night.
All this points to one issue: that we have a problem on our hands and that problem requires that we come together as a people to look for effective solutions. Anything short of that will result in an angry and petulant generation to our own misery and shame.

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