Uproot the weeds tarnishing Lerotholi Polytechnic’s image

Uproot the weeds tarnishing Lerotholi Polytechnic’s image

It has become a norm for Lerotholi Polytechnic students to murder first year students in what they call their culture or first year initiation. What really takes place during that cult (not culture) is kept a secret by both the perpetrators and the victims.
Unfortunately the senseless deaths of fellow students do not remain a secret. I am calling this ritual a cult because culture is supposed to be a good thing that develops those that follow it.
The good culture that may have been practised by students of old days at Lerotholi Polytechnic has been turned into a series of cruel escapades by the “mafikizolos” who think they know better than their predecessors.

Last week I ranted on how important education is and how our leaders should respect that same education. When I talked about education, I was advocating for the type of education that was also envisaged by the late Nelson Mandela as he said “education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of a farm worker can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

It is thus not surprising that the dream of each and every parent that sends their child to school is to see that child prospering. The sweetest moment to a parent that has sent their child to an institution of higher learning is seeing them graduate. There is no parent that envisions their child coming home in a coffin hardly a week after they have started school.
There is also no parent that banks on their children being expelled from school because they have been part of a syndicate that murdered other students. It is sad for parents to see their children going to jail instead of heading to the podium. It is a disgrace to be called the parent of that boy who killed a first year student.

There is no doubt then that parents value education and pride themselves when their children are learned. However, it is sad to see that there are youths out there that do not value education; youths that have no morals, no values and no conscience; youths that instead of encouraging freshmen to study hard and get a qualification, kill them and make them go back home in coffins.
It is also very sad to see an institution that is tasked with empowering young adults with skills that will emancipate them and change their lives for better, being turned into a slaughter house. An institution that is supposed to give hope to Lesotho that one day we will have advanced technology has been turned into an abyss of sorrow for others.
Lerotholi Polytechnic, an institution whose vision is that by 2020 it (Lerotholi Polytechnic) shall be the University of Technology renowned for its excellence in science, technology, entrepreneurial programmes with its uniqueness of technical and higher education components.

The vision is quite promising. However the questions that keep bugging me as I look at this vision is: Who will be the beneficiaries when there are mobsters that seem intent to mudding the good image of the school through their dirty deeds? When will students stop killing each other in the name of culture?
The ambitious vision of the institution, is likely to attract students. But the killings that have now become synonymous with the school are scaring parents and future students. The killing of a student that happened at Lerotholi Polytechnic on Saturday is not the first as students have been killed as far back as 2009.

The very sad part in this killing is that the suspects are his home-boys; the people that were supposed to look after his interest. If no drastic measures are taken, by both the institution and the government, it will definitely not be the last.

Back in 2009, when yet another student was barbarically murdered by his fellow students during that cult called a culture, the school established a commission to get to the bottom of what really transpired. I do not know what the commission found, but what I know is that the killings have not stopped.
What then should be done to tackle the school out of the dilemma it is now facing? The answer has always been staring us in the face but nobody seems ready to accept it.
There is an old Sesotho adage that says litsela li botsoa ho ba khale (translated, we should seek counsel from the old and wise people).

The Lerotholi Polytechnic alumni has forever extended its hand to assist with the crises but they have not been taken up on their offer. It is time to let those who have walked that walk and talked that talk assist.

It is time for us “lijankata” (a name given to those that do not know the culture) to step aside and let “bana ba mofu” roll-up their sleeves and uproot the weeds that are tarnishing the image of the school.

BY: Kellelo Rakolobe

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