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Bringing glory back to Peka



The article titled:“The Rot at Peka High School” in thepost newspaper of 27 January – 2 February 2022 written by ‘Mapule Motsopa provoked intense debate among members of the Ex-Peka High School Students’ Association (EXPHISA). Ms Motsopa describes Peka High School as “teetering on the verge of collapse, fighting for survival” (SIC).
The timing of this article coincided with the release of the 2021 Lesotho General Certificate in Secondary Education (LGCSE) examination results. The LGCSC results confirmed the crisis. Even so, there are positive developments taking place at the school.

I am writing this article as an interested party because I am a former student of Peka High School and a member of EXPHISA. EXPHISA invited me to respond to Ms Motsopa’s article.
Whether intentionally or not, Ms Motsopa and her editor provoked an intensive debate among EXPHISA members, hence this response article. I do not seek to argue with Ms Motsopa’s article. Instead, I will present EXPHISA’s intentions and actions. EXPHISA is not being reactive. It is being proactive. EXPHISA initiated the 18 – 19 January 2022 workshop and invited the media to cover it.

Ms Motsopa quotes Mr Matsobane Putsoa as saying EXPHISA wants “… to reclaim the school’s character formation and building.” He concludes the interview by pointing out that EXPHISA is pushing for accountability, the pursuit of excellence, and other traits that the school was famous for. But this spirit of EXPHISA is lost in the article. Mr Putsoa is part of the glory days of the early 1960s.

The motto of Peka High School is: ‘Luceat Lux Vestra’ translating to ‘Let your light shine.’ The 2022 LGCSE results and the portrait painted by Ms Motsopa do not reflect this motto. In the meantime, EXPHISA had begun the process of introspection and paving the roadmap to bringing Peka High School back to its glory days. EXPHISA endeavours to reignite the spark ingrained in ‘Luceat Lux Vestra.’

The purpose of this response article is to augment Ms Motsopa’s article. I will complete the unfinished story by highlighting the outcomes of the recent workshop. I acknowledge Mr Putsoa’s aspirations for the Peka High School of tomorrow. The workshop made resolutions that will catapult Peka High School beyond its glory days.

Many authors define ‘success’ in terms of achievement. Governments and scholars relate a schools’ success to achievement. In this case, the term ‘achievement’ means the performance of students in the LGCSE school-leaving examinations. Success does not lie in the achievement of a goal. It comes from the will to succeed, leading to the saying: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way.’

Often, general society, including Mapeka, run themselves down by pointing at things that would make them fail. As Nightingale puts it, “nothing can change until we do. Mapeka must talk about reasons why they can turn Peka High School around. So, success for our noble ideal comes from us first. It does not come from outside. When we change, our worlds will change.” The above arguments demonstrate a simple natural law, the ‘law of cause and effect’.

Earl Nightingale defines success as the progressive realisation of a worthy goal. This definition recognises that success lies in the journey toward the goal. Desire and persistence drive success. Nightingale’s definition is progressive.
EXPHISA hosted a workshop on 18 and 19 January 2022 for the principal and teachers of Peka High School. Consequently, EXPHISA generated a report from the workshop. The workshop invited the media. This workshop was a product of consultations between EXPHISA, the principal and teachers.

Six students from Peka High School wrote for the 2021 LGCSE examinations. Only one obtained college admission grades. The results are not a record that one could be proud of. Accordingly, parents do not send their children to Peka High School anymore, resulting in a decline in enrolment.
Ms Motsopa paints an ‘ugly’ portrait of Peka High School. According to her, a traumatic sight confronts visitors when they enter the gates of Peka High School. A bush of shrubs and weeds fill the surroundings. There are incomplete buildings, falling infrastructure, broken windows and doors, there is no running water. There is a huge debt with the Water and Sewage Company (WASCO). This is a crisis.

The EXPHISA consultations identified the problems as the rift between the principal and the teachers. The ‘rift’ manifested itself in several ways. The main one is the school ethos. The term ethos here means the characteristic spirit of a culture as they manifest in its attitudes and aspirations.

The workshop confirmed that there is a hostile and distrustful relationship between the principal and his teachers. There is no communication between the two parties. Staff meetings are seldom. Management decisions are unilateral. The principal and his teachers have no common vision for the school. There is no synergy in the thoughts. They do not draw power from one another. Power, here, means organised and intelligently directed knowledge.
Simply put, their relationship is toxic. Each party is suspicious of the other. Unfortunately, this situation translates into the school’s ethos and overspills into the students.

Our attitude determines our outcomes. In the case of Peka High School, the attitudes of one party towards the other mirror the attitudes the other displayed towards them. In other words, the success of Peka High School’s endeavours to go back to their glory days depends on how well the different parties relate to others. Their attitudes towards the others.
Napoleon Hill devotes a whole chapter on “the Power of the Mastermind” in his book, Think and Grow Rich. The Mastermind Alliance is a cooperation of people actively engaged in the pursuit of a definite purpose. The group complement each other to accomplish this purpose.

Although all members of the Mastermind group think in the same way, they have different knowledge and skills. But, the members work together in perfect harmony to ensure success. Any successful organisation has a Mastermind group.
The lack of purposefully directed and coordinated effort denies Peka High School this valuable principle. The school cannot benefit from the highly qualified and talented collective that Hill describes as the Mastermind alliance.

Instead, the awkward predicament at Peka High School presents an undesirably chaotic situation. But mathematicians and scholars argue: ‘there is order in chaos.’ The chaos theory says there are underlying patterns and interconnectedness within the apparent randomness of a chaotic complex system. In other words, if one looks closely, there are patterns that the stakeholders could build on.
In the case of Peka High School, even with all the negatives, there are some strengths that the Peka High School of today can draw from.

Peka High School stakeholders acknowledge that there is a problem. This is acceptance represents a step towards a solution. They expressed commitment to the solution. All the stakeholders supported the resolutions the workshop generated.
All the teachers at Peka High School are qualified, with a majority holding university degrees. Many of these teachers have been in the school for ten years or more. Some stayed in the school for over thirty years.

These teachers identify with the school. They declared themselves as one; Mapeka. The teachers explained that they shared a lingua franca only understood by them. This demonstrates strong bondage and unity amongst the teachers. All these are powerful. They lay a foundation that the school may build on.
According to the EXPHISA report, the workshop identified desirable attributes. The workshop converted these desirable attributes into targets that Peka High School would need to achieve to return to its glory days. These targets are:
A Centre of Academic Excellence

The school must ensure that teaching resources, including textbooks and other study materials, are available. Teachers must display dedication. There should be annual plans demarcating regular staff meetings, distribution of official documents and allocation of duties.
A Great Sporting School
Peka High School must re-introduce different sporting codes. So, the sporting fields must be restored and be made playable. Although sporting activities would begin as internal activities, the long-term plan is to return to competitive competitions.
A Centre of Leadership

The school must establish clear lines of communication between stakeholders, internally and externally. The conduct of the school’s authorities must be exemplary.
Peka High School must build students’ leadership skills by re-introducing a prefect system, establishing student organisations such as science clubs, Student Christian Movement and entertainment clubs. Last, the school must consider introducing a [2]four-way test approach.
A School with a Culture of Unity and Collective Responsibility

There must be proper communication channels between and among various structural components of the school. Stakeholders must develop open-mindedness and accept constructive criticism. All stakeholders must engage in team-building initiatives.
A Learning Centre of Choice
The school must reward good performance by introducing awards and incentives systems. This system must be as inclusive as possible. The school must consider using the ‘Peaceful School Model’ of the Development for Peace Education (DPE).

Peka High School and EXPHISA must publicise their initiatives, such as the workshop of 18 – 19 January 2022 to sensitise other ex-students and potential partners. They must invite parents, the community to take part in activities directed towards re-kindling Peka High School and giving it a new lease of life.

According to the report, the 18 – 19 January 2022 workshop achieved true reconciliation among the parties that were at loggerheads. The post-workshop evaluation confirmed the success. The majority of the participants said the workshop achieved its objectives.
A feature emerging from the workshop is that the school already has some solutions, for instance, a challenge that keeps cropping up in different fora is the lack of prescribed textbooks. Yet the school keeps textbooks in the principal’s office. Students do not pay for textbooks.

The Schools Supply Unit of the MoET charges schools on textbooks on dispatch. A school is liable, whether the students pay for the textbooks or not.
The principal explained that he ‘loaned’ the textbooks to one class on the condition that the books were returned. This endeavour worked. The school can adopt this system. The point here is that there is a solution to the challenge of the availability of textbooks. Peka High School must pursue the MoET’s Schools’ Supply Unit textbooks policy.

Another example is the faith and confidence teachers had in their colleagues. Challenged to explain why they did not enrol their children at their school, one teacher retorted that she tried to. She identified her colleagues who had the expertise and dedication to teach her child. When she discusses her child’s LGCSE results, she still reiterates that she could have passed the LGCSE examination if she had enrolled with Peka High School.

The teachers and participants committed to ensuring that the results improve to an excellent stage. The school management and other stakeholders promised to provide the necessary.
With the confidence and enthusiasm that the teachers displayed when they made this commitment at the end of the workshop, I can only say: ‘watch this space.’ Let the general readership and Basotho be the judge.

The report concludes that EXPHISA commenced the processes of improvement. After the January 2022 workshop, Peka High School is in the process of developing strategies leading to the implementation of its objectives and targets. The report warns the stakeholders that the road ahead is steep and challenging in many ways.

In summary, this article proposes a title that befits the purpose of school education and EXPHISA’s resolve to bring back the glory days to their alma mater. At the same time, EXPHISA’s effort acknowledges Ms Motsopa’s assertion. The overarching challenge that the 18 – 19 January workshop sought to tackle is the lack of coordinated management. The principal and his teachers were habitually at loggerheads. They had no shared vision. Management failed to utilise its highly educated and dedicated teachers to overcome their challenges. Stakeholders must change their attitudes towards each other and work in synergy.

Peka High School must prioritise addressing the cleanliness, the water crisis and clearing its debt with WASCO.
The school has to set systems that ensure orderliness. The premises, the prevailing ethos, school management and teachers’ conduct must promote students’ learning. Peka High School can only improve.

According to EXPHISA, the workshop was a success. It achieved full reconciliation. It identified five targets that would return the school to its glory days. These targets are a centre of academic excellence, a great sporting school, a centre of leadership, a school with a culture of unity and collective responsibility, and a learning place of choice. EXPHISA and Peka High School will follow the strategies leading to success. Teachers coming out of this workshop promised to produce phenomenal LGCSE examination results.

To conclude, the effort to establish harmony between the school management and the teachers was a success. Our overall goal is to rekindle the spark in Peka High School’s motto ‘Luceat Lux Vestra’. To achieve the desired success the school must build on its strengths. Taking Nightingale’s definition, success lies in the journey toward the goal, EXPHISA is successful. However, the workshop is part of a process leading to a destiny. Now the real work begins.

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Harnessing imagery in writing



All writing is imaginative. Every piece of writing reflects the artistry and mental resourcefulness of the writer.

Effective writing also reflects the colourfulness of the writer’s mind and heart; their ability to paint the world to the reader and their capacity or facility of taking the reader with them to beautiful mental and physical and picturesque journeys.

In this piece we focus on how we can hone our creative abilities through the use of imagery and the effect of using colourful and evocative imagery in writing. Let’s go! What if I say, “Learn to prepare wisely and meticulously in time,” you will still grasp the message in a very clear way, isn’t it? But would that be interesting and colourful?

But what if we put it in a colourful manner, “Make hay whilst the sun still shines,” you really grasp the colour and the full import of the message, isn’t it? That’s what imagery does to your writing; it allows you to feel, touch and smell what you are reading.

There is no doubt that the proverb, “make hay whilst the sun still shines” has taken you to the countryside, in a farming community. You hear the bleating of sheep and the neighing of horses.

At the same time, you visualise the good farmer gracefully at work, cutting grass which he is piling in orderly stacks, preparing fodder for his animals in the future. The sun’s rays buoy his attempts and ensure that the hay is prepared with care and colour.

Thus, the point of good imagery is to capture in full detail a world that allows the reader to grasp and enjoy using their five senses. Let me give you a small but beautiful extract which further drives home the point.

“With his machete he detached a brittle clod, broke it on a stone. It was full of dead twigs and the residue of dried roots that he crushed in his fingers.

“Look, there isn’t anything left. The water has dried up in the very entrails of the mountain. It’s not worth while looking any further. It’s useless.” Then, with sudden anger, “But why, damn it! Did you cut the woods down, the oaks, the mahogany trees, and everything that grow up there? Stupid people with no sense!”

Thando struggled for a moment to find words. “What else could we do, brother? We cleared it to get new wood. We cut it down for framework and beams for our hearts. We repaired the fences around our fields. We didn’t know ourselves. Ignorance and need go together, don’t they?”

The sun scratched the scorched back of the mountain with its shining fingernails. Along the dry ravine the earth panted. The countryside, baked in drought, began to sizzle.”

What a colourful piece! The extract aptly paints a countryside’s pulse and the rhythms of seasonal and climate change and how that affects the livelihood patterns of the inhabitants. Have you seen how the sun has been endowed with human-like features?

And the description of the earth assuming human-like features, for instance, “the earth panted.” No doubt, you have seen the earth subdued by the intensity of heat in a way that is similar to a person who is panting.

To paint excellent images the writer needs to have the gift of observation. He/she should be able to observe quite a panorama of things around him and immerse them in the soil of their imagination. Let’s see another good extract where you can discern the link between good images, excellent description and the power of observation.

“It’s in the morning, the fourth watch, to borrow from biblical discourse. It’s damp outside. I brace the slicing chilly weather to go outside. There is a drizzle, constant showers seeping deep down. I pace up at least 400 metres from my hood. I see lined-up, almost cubicle-like houses.

I keep walking, with a spring in the step buoyed by the damp aura wrought by the incessant downpours. I take a deep breath, and step back as it were.

I want to be deliberate. I want to take in everything in my environment; the colours, the diverse hues and plethora of landscape contours. I notice a woman, almost in her forties, from my eye-view assumptions. She is grabbing a basket clutched tenaciously almost close to her big bosom.

She is going to Mbare Musika, the famous agricultural market wherein she intends to buy items for her stall. Behind her, there is a big strapped baby covered in velvet. As she briskly walks, I see her jumping a poodle of water as she observes her stall. I also observe a man, clad in sportswear running trying to cure a big belly.

As I keep watching, I see a woman sweeping her small veranda. I keep walking. I see a woman, plump tending to her garden. She seems animated by the drizzle, thanks to the rains.

I hear another woman, especially her piercing voice, she is selling floor polish. Her voice fills the air. As I drown in the sweet voice, I notice a man staggering. He is filthy. He could have calloused the whole night. He is holding a Black Label quart, speaking gibberish in the air. I keep watching.”

So here were are! Writing is a matter of painting with words, carving images and allowing the reader to experience the impact of all the senses so as to fully grasp the sense of what is put across.

Vuso Mhlanga teaches at the University of Zimbabwe. For almost a decade and half he taught English language and Literature in English at high school.

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Politicians’ propensity to score own goals



Lesotho politicians are often in the habit of scoring own goals. For example, look at the circus that took place in the country at the opening of parliament after the winter break. These events remind me of the article that I wrote with the title ‘Scoring own goals’.

This article appeared in this publication dated March 18 – 24, 2021. It argued that Lesotho’s politicians had a propensity to score own goals.

Many say that education and academia should not involve themselves in politics. This belief is a fallacy. The two are intrinsically intertwined. Education and politics link in a complex way.

For instance, parliament is an organ that passes laws that govern and guide national education policies. The interconnectedness includes the curricula that educational institutions and schools teach. Now, if the National Assembly’s focus is misplaced, important legislative decisions may stall or be derailed by lack of action.

I must make a disclaimer though. I am not promoting any view about a political party. I am writing this article purely as a concerned citizen.

I revisit the own goal tendency of those in authority by assessing the drama that unfolded in politics and governance. I review the recent events that culminated in the failed vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sam Matekane and his government.

I use arguments from research to demonstrate the fluidity of Lesotho’s democracy. Some politicians often take advantage of this fluidity for selfish gain. I contest that the Prime Minister and his government should treat their adversities as stepping stones to meeting their targets.

A constitution is a living document. Accordingly, to keep Lesotho’s constitution alive, current and relevant, parliament should regularly amend it.

However, in so doing, parliament must be careful that tinkering with the country’s constitution does not compromise the essence of democracy they champion. National and democratic principles must form the dogma that underpins the improvements and amendment exercises.

Personal aspirations, ambitions and creed must not underpin the amendments.

The recent events in and out of the National Assembly make one question the perceptions of the different roles players in the democratic playground in Lesotho have.

First, there was a vote of no confidence that the Speaker ruled to defer subject to the high court’s decision.

Second, there was the allegedly drunken MP’s own goal.

The third is the press conference led by the Commissioner of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services flanked by the head of the Lesotho Defence Force and the Director General of the National Security Services.

It is already a hat trick of own goals. Fourth, there was the statement of the Prime Minister claiming an attempted coup.

The fifth own goal is the moratorium that prevented parliament from holding a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister before the lapse of three years of his inauguration.

The sixth is the practice of shirking responsibility by MPs. MPs often refer political matters to the national courts for decisions. The seventh, and the mother of all own goals, is the electoral system that Lesotho elected to pursue. The National Assembly has 120 MPs. There are 80 MPs representing constituencies and 40 proportional representatives.

The Commonwealth suggested that Lesotho review the modalities of the PR nominations. Sekatle and the Commonwealth agree that the PR system introduced plurality but at a cost. The cost is what scholars and commentators term minority rights and coalitions.

Also, it compromises accountability and transparency. It undermines the collective intelligence of the voters. Chief Jonathan warned against coalition governments by citing their instability. Political instability plagues Lesotho today.
Sekatle and the Commonwealth cited the overreliance on a threshold in awarding PR seats in parliament, cheapening them.

The PR system ballooned parliament unnecessarily. By comparison, Botswana had a population of 2.6 million in (2021). Lesotho had 2.3 million (2021). Botswana parliament currently has 65 seats, and Lesotho has 120.

A consequence emanating from the PR system in Lesotho is a hung parliament. Since 2012, there has not been an outright majority in the National Assembly. The results yielded chaos. Over that period, PMs constantly look over their shoulders. All these coalitions imploded.

Democracy is about the majority. Politicians must be persuasive to attract votes to achieve the majority. In other words, the PR system rewards failure.

The own goals cause stagnation. MPs score these own goals by serving their selfish interests. They waste time and energy on trivial things. And yet, they receive full-time salaries and earn allowances such as sittings and petrol allowances. How, then, would one explain that the external urging of parliament had to engage in the reforms exercise?

Today, reforms are lying latent. Politicians use the reform programme as an excuse for ensuring that they retain or access power. In the recent correspondences to SADC, the government and the opposition cite reforms and democracy to justify their actions. But as I write this article, there is nothing much that is happening along the lines of these very reforms. Why?

The starting point of any achievement is desire and definitiveness of purpose. The definitiveness of purpose is more than goal setting. It is one’s roadmap to achieving the overall objectives. Elsewhere, I took the definition of desire as explained by the author, Wallace Wattles.

According to Wattles, ‘Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance’. All desires began as a thought. Expressing their desires through a manifesto is a means by which parties attempt to concretise them (their desires).

The starting point of an election campaign is the expression of political intentions and goals through manifestos. A manifesto is a public declaration of aims and policy by a political party or candidate. Political parties express their desires for what they will do in their manifestos.

After elections, these desires become the guiding principles and laws. Politically mature voters would then elect political candidates based on these manifestos.

Who instigated and drove the reforms in Lesotho? The contemporary history of Lesotho reveals that external forces pushed the reforms. Basotho merely reacted. They do not own the reform process. High on the list of their drivers are SADC, the US through AGOA and the European Union.

The practice contradicts Wattles’ definition. According to Wattles definition, desire must emanate from inside the individual, or in our case, from Basotho and be expressed outward through actions.

I do not want to comment too much about the involvement of the security agencies in politics. In my view, the relevant bodies, namely, the Law Society of Lesotho, the media and the opposition parties dealt with their involvement adequately.

Former PM Leabua Jonathan often described democracy as the government of the people by the people. But, the meaning of the construct of democracy is fluid and elusive, depending on the position of governance in Lesotho’s political arena.

Authors Hughes, Kroehler and Vander Zanden explain that democracy is a system in which the powers of government derive from the consent of the governed, namely the masses who vote, in which regular constitutional avenues exist for changing government officials.

The authors characterise the system as one which permits the population a significant voice in decision-making through the people’s right to choose among contenders for political office. Also, the system allows for a broad, relatively equal citizenship among the populace.

Lastly, it affords the citizenry protection from arbitrary state action.

Now, the question is whether the recent activities fit all the three criterias. Are the actions of the MPs who moved for the vote of no confidence in the PM’s government acting in line with Lesotho’s constitution and democracy?

This definition of democracy says that regular constitutional avenues exist for changing government officials. The no confidence vote exists in Lesotho’s constitution. But the PM and his security agencies questioned this. They claim the move by the members of the opposition to dethrone the government was a coup attempt.

The drama began when an MP from the ruling Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), Thabo Moea MP, sought an order from the High Court to delay the motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister until after the completion of the reforms process.

The opposition contests that the prayer by Moea stifles a democratic process for self-serving ends. Subsequently, the Speaker cited this impending case to defer the matter.

The constitution of Lesotho stipulates that the legislature is to pass laws, the executive is to approve and execute them, and the judiciary is to expound and enforce them. But a scholar, Nwafor, claims that the courts in Lesotho often intrude into the functions of the other arms of government.

Lesotho ‘s constitution confers powers on three arms of government in such a manner as would ensure cooperation and coordination in governance. The courts ought to bear in mind that the effective discharge of the responsibilities of the courts largely depends on the effectiveness of the other arms of government.

Nwafor brings up the issue of encroachment. He asserts that the powers of the different arms of government in such a manner would guarantee a coordinated discharge of government responsibilities to the nation. But, parliament overly relies on the courts to make political decisions. The practice encourages the risk of overreaching.

The PR electoral system denies Basotho the right to choose their representatives among contenders for political office. Instead, parties ‘hand pick’ these representatives in the pretext of the constituency elections outcomes. Often, these PR members are the ones who lost their constituency elections.

These are the politicians whose constituencies rejected them. They represent their parties and not the voters. They do not account to the voters.

Both the PM and the opposition made presentations to SADC. They overlooked the electorate. Why would SADC have power and not the electorate that elected the politicians to office? Running to SADC, an outside organisation, to settle Lesotho’s internal problems is not a solution. It is scoring an own goal. Lesotho, with its 57 years of independence, should be able to solve its internal problems.

Nonetheless, I have a completely different take from Mokhothu on the issue of the protest march by the RFP. It is unimportant to find the instigator of the protest march. The people to persuade are the voters, the people who put governments into power in a democracy, not external bodies such as SADC.

Napoleon Hill’s creed reads: ‘Every adversity brings a seed of equivalent or more benefit’. Any business person knows that business is a solution to an economic problem. So, the PM and his colleagues in his party who are business people must look at the adversity emanating from the opposition as a seed of equivalent or better benefit.

The government must dig deep to find how the problem may benefit them.
They must identify their failures and use them as stepping stones to success.

Elsewhere, I presented the views of an American scholar and activist, Anderson, who suggested that marginalised communities must cease granting candidates blank cheques. Instead, the electorate must draw their expectations and demand the campaigning party or candidate promise to meet them.

This practice is called quid pro quo. It enforces accountability and transparency.

You scratch my back, and I scratch yours. Quid pro quo is an example of one of the universal laws that demonstrate reciprocity. Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. The universal law is the Law of Cause and Effect. It means that for every effect, there is an equal cause. You plant a seed, so shall you reap.

Both the government and the opposition ran to SADC for help. Remember, Matekane is a successful businessman. He has, on more than one occasion, explained that he wanted to use his prowess in business to take Lesotho forward. As a businessman, Matekane has faith in his ability.

Words that come to mind here include self-confidence and trust in himself. He believes in himself. Running to SADC does not display this faith in his ability to deal with problems emanating from his opposition.

Hill argues that riches, or any form of success and achievement, begin with a thought. Faith removes limitations. Matekane must apply his faith as a businessman to become a successful politician.

To summarise, the article explores the events emanating from the fiasco of the no-confidence motion. The individuals who ought to champion constitutional democracy in Lesotho betrayed Basotho by scoring hordes of own goals.

I explored the meaning of concepts that helped me unpack some of these own goals. These were democracy, faith and desire. Also, I coupled these with scholarly research views on the constitution of Lesotho.

I contest that while the opposition may argue that they are within their rights to ruffle the government, the PM must use different tactics. He must display faith and confidence in himself and trust Basotho.

The move to influence the voters to back him deserves a big WOW! He must hold more campaigns to persuade voters to support his government. Voters may make or break him.

MPs waste time in discussing trivial issues that have no bearing on the national agenda. Often, they focus on self-serving matters. The RFP promised to refocus Lesotho towards national development and improving the quality of life.

The article also shows that the PR system does not benefit Lesotho. It diminishes accountability and the principle of quid pro quo. Also, it ballooned the numbers in parliament unnecessarily. It increased political instability by forging formations of coalition.

Politicians must refrain from abusing the judiciary by making them make political decisions. Involving the courts in making political decisions leads to encroachment. Encroachment defies democracy.

In conclusion, Matekane must not allow his detractors to derail his mandate. The same is true for the opposition leaders who attempt to dethrone him. No party campaigned on removing sitting PMs.

Also, the MPs must take the responsibilities that Basotho entrusted them with. It is high time that they make the political decisions instead of shifting them to the judiciary or external bodies.

Matekane, his business associates and technocrats in his government should revisit attributes that made them successful. One such attribute is their faith in their abilities. They must remember that riches (and success) begin with a thought, and faith removes limitations.

Dr Tholang Maqutu


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Painting mood effectively



Writing is not different from beautiful artwork. Just like a skilled painter holding a brush with its broad strokes, the writer occupies the same place and vocation in life. Writing is a work of painting life’s experiences, its hues and beautiful unfolding internal journeys. In this piece we focus on mood and how it can be achieved. Many students struggle with understanding and contemplating the scope and ambit of mood in writing.
It is hard to define and frame the scope of mood in writing. What really constitutes mood? Generally, mood encapsulates the totality of the “air” or “spirit” or “aura” that a certain work of art evokes in the human mind, feeling or sensibility. There is a certain dominant feature or streak associated with a certain work of art, place or person.

There is something which is evoked in our hearts which is associated with a certain place, person or event. Every place or event or person carries or imbues with him or her a certain mood or sensibility; and there is a panorama of sensibilities; for instance, a happy or sombre or whimsical mood. We will now focus on a certain extract and discern how it paints mood.

“He quickly rights himself and keeps walking, but there is an unsteadiness to his knees. He has been given many looks in this quarter – dirty ones, blank ones, sympathetic ones, annoyed ones. For the most part, he had learned to tolerate those than can be tolerated, and ignore those that should be ignored, but the look this woman gave him is not a look one gives to humans but to flies, ticks, cockroaches, fleas…Thato feels anger, then humiliation, then something nameless. If he were in his own country he would turn and confront the woman; but now he’s hurt, wounded, a part of him wishing he were invisible. Breathing evenly, he walks with care, only lifting his eyes once he reaches his own quarters, among his own people. He proceeds to his shack. He could stop by Thapelo’s, his neighbour, where he knows that men and women are already congregated to watch videos from home. Yet, no matter the promise of good fellowship and laughter, Thabo does not join them. Watching videos is a form of forgetting; the 2008 elections, the police with batons, the soldiers with guns, the militia with machetes. Do you remember? Limbs broken. Roofs blazing. I remember.”

This extract is characterised by the intensity of feeling and evokes feelings of sadness, despair and pain. The excerpt paints a harrowing and blood-curdling account which produces a sombre, dull and subdued mood. Thato, the protagonist in the story is in a foreign land. He was impelled to leave his country as a result of political violence which saw many people lose limbs and lives. He feels lonely and unwanted in the foreign land. He feels lost and alienated.

There are sentiments of xenophobia expressed through the glances of citizens of the foreign country he is in. Even if he were to entertain himself together with his countrymen residing in that foreign land, Thato still felt a deep and nagging feeling of being an outcast. Thus, we have made very deep and broad descriptions of the circumstances in which the protagonist finds himself with a view to demonstrate how mood is created in a narrative. The creation of mood feeds into the description of the character’s circumstances, his mindset and the space and place in which he finds himself.

Mood, as we have demonstrated from the portrayal of Thato’s experience, has a link with pathos. Pathos is that streak of sadness which pervades a story and creates empathy in the reader. The aim of effective writing is to move the reader and to impel him towards certain sensibilities which are of an affective kind. Mood, when effectively created, allows the reader to grasp meaning which is not directly said in the story or composition.

Meaning in a story is an interaction between the words in a text as read together with the effect of the words, the tone used and the created mood. There are certain words in a text which do not just communicate, but etches in the reader’s mind certain thoughts, viewpoints and feelings. These words would be so evocative. One such word describes Thato’s deepest sense of alienation in the extract given above.

The word describes him as nursing a wish of invisibility, he felt or wished he were ‘invisible.’ His wish for invisibility is of great importance. It portrays how he was deeply affected by the loathing expressed in the eyes of those looking at him with hate and disdain.

So, here we are! Creating a mood is a craft which takes time to acquire and hone. But when achieved, it makes effective reading and allows the reader to get meaning which goes beyond the text.

Vuso Mhlanga teaches at the University of Zimbabwe. For almost a decade and half he taught English language and Literature in English at high school. Send your comments and questions to:

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