Uncle Tom bites Mahao

Uncle Tom bites Mahao

THE worst insults use authentic symbols. That is why words like ‘stupid’, ‘silly’, ‘idiot’ or ‘moron’ don’t really bruise a Mosotho’s ego.
They are just English words incapable of conjuring symbols of something tangible in our lives.
But if you say something nasty about a mother you will have your already ugly face violently rearranged.
You are applying for a one-way ticket to your ancestors if you talk about private parts.

If you want to call someone an idiot you say u jele maeba le bale (you ate pigeons at a girls’ initiation school). That is stinging and richer that just saying you are a nincompoop.
Basotho men know that only insults involving a mother, wife and a loin cloth justify rolling up your sleeves for a brawl.

Nearing 80 years on this earth, Uncle Tom knows this quite well. That is why when he went for Professor Nqosa Mahao he used the loin cloth.
‘‘Haeba ho na le moo batho ba nang le tšeea, e tšoanetseng ho hlakola serita, tšeea eno ha se Kobo-Tata” (If people have a loincloth, and that loincloth has to wipe faeces, that loincloth is not the ABC). Let’s get the symbols right so we can balance this equation.

Inside the loin cloth is a string that goes down the valley in which the spring resides. We can call it the ‘string’ part of the G-string, (if you don’t know what a G-string is then you need deliverance from ignorance).
It is that string that is prone to being soiled by manure. That’s obvious because of its proximity to the well.
So anyone who says your string has dung is implying that you have not wiped well or you haven’t mastered the art of bum wiping.
Wiping the bum is the second skill children learn after mastering how to feed themselves.

The logic is clear: now that you can eat on your own you must now know how to complete the process of taking a dump.
But if you miss that education, you will continue to soil your loin into adulthood.

Muckraker doesn’t know why Uncle Tom would use such an insult on our lovable professor.
Professor Mahao’s alleged crime is to have ambitions to be Uncle Tom’s deputy. Why that is the same as him wiping his dirty loin cloth on the ABC, only Uncle Tom knows. What matters is that we now know what Uncle Tom thinks of the professor.

Uncle Tom later took to the radio to apologise and withdraw his insults. That, of course, does not change a thing because the words have landed on the professor like a sjambok.
The problem with apologies is that they are rarely sincere, especially when politics is involved. In this case, Uncle Tom’s insults were not a result of an angry outburst. He wasn’t reacting to a spontaneous action from Professor Mahao because the fight has been around for more than a month. They were premeditated and probably rehearsed.
We should also remember that Uncle Tom only withdrew his words but did not change his perception of the professor. He probably still thinks that the professor is a “dirty rag flying around” and a PFD turncoat trying to muscle his way into the ABC leadership.
On radio, Uncle Tom said he withdrew the words but did not say he did not mean them.

Remember that an apology is as important as what motivates it. It is inconceivable that Uncle Tom would have been suddenly overwhelmed by guilt. He has done worse things and has never apologised.
Uncle Tom rarely regrets things.
It is also highly unlikely that Professor Mahao, himself a battle-hardened fellow, could have secretly pleaded with Uncle Tom to apologise.

So what drove the uncle to say sorry? Muckraker is still trying to distil some theories. For now she can only speculate. The apology could be part of Uncle Tom’s political strategy. He always varies his bites.
It could also be that his better half told him that he has gone too far. It was not long ago that his sweetheart was also apologising for her shenanigans (Muckraker will deal with her monkeyshines next week).

Still the apology and what motivated it doesn’t change the fact that Professor Mahao’s bid to enter the ABC leadership is in tatters. Not many apologies are a result of deep introspection and remorse.
What Uncle Tom said is precisely what she thinks of him. The ball is now in the professor’s court. He could pull the middle finger on the old man and proceed with his fight or he could just lay low for a few years while he licks his wounds. Time is on his side.
Uncle Tom will not rule the ABC forever and people will soon forget the insults.

Muckraker is disgusted by the way some newspapers handled a recent heinous crime allegedly committed by Tšeliso Nthane, the owner of Nthane Brothers.
It is not denied that Nthane shot the poor driver at the accident scene.
Yet we have some reporters trying to mollycoddle Nthane as if he is a victim of circumstances.

One newspaper opened the story with a line about Nthane being in hospital. Another was quick to point out that this is being described as an accident. Holy dung!
This is despite that the police have already charged Nthane with murder.
The Sunday Express, the poor sister of the Lesotho Times, stole the show in this nobbled reporting contest.
Somehow its reporter managed to find a Mosotho man who spoke eloquently about Nthane being a good man who has changed many lives. The newspaper said the man from Berea wanted to be identified as just Thabo.
What Thabo said about the incident left Muckraker stunned.

“I am sorry for the bereaved family. Nothing that can be done will replace what they have lost. I also feel sorry for Mr Nthane. He could have acted out of rage. It happens to the best of us.
It is sad how people have concluded that the killing was intentional. Many are throwing stones at him forgetting the impact he has had on many lives. He has employed so many people in Lesotho,” Thabo said.

So there you have it: a pinch of sympathy for the dead man’s family and a huge dose of empathy for Nthane plus a mention of his good deeds sprinkled with a naked attempt to chip away at the motive.
The quotation sounded like it was coming from one of Nthane’s friends or relatives. It was too perfect to have been spoken by a layman who had just bumped into a journalist looking for a view about the incident.

Muckraker doubts that this Thabo actually exists. Most probably it is the journalist quoting herself.
Yes, Muckraker has said it. And she will say it again. Thabo is a fake character invented by the reporter. He was manufactured so he can say the things the reporter could not say.

Common Thabo would not say such nonsense. Basotho don’t sympathise with people accused of murder. They are outraged at the loss of life first before they think about the suspect. They don’t feel sorry for murder suspects.
Notice that Thabo’s location was identified as Berea, the district, and not a specific village in Berea.
In the story the views of the dead man’s family are buried in later paragraphs.

Muckraker is warning reporters against taking sides with rich and powerful individuals. If they want to speak for the powerful they should apply for jobs as bootlickers or propagandists.
Until they get those jobs they should remember that their role is to stand for the truth and the downtrodden.

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