The Ash Brigade

The Ash Brigade

Muckraker has never aspired to be a journalist. Never!
She is however tempted to dish out a belated news report of what happened when a fire gutted a Chinese-owned warehouse in the Maseru Industrial Area last week.
Here it goes.
“Fire, fire, fire!” screamed a Chinese man as he hurried out of the burning warehouse.

“Phone police please, things burning fast, fast,” said another dashing with a bucket of water towards the blaze.
The call to the police rang for hours before it was answered by a lazy-sounding officer.
“Hellllooooooo,” said a female officer as if she was answering a call from someone who had promised her some Black Friday money.

“Come, fast, fast. Fire burning very hot. Come killa fire before it killa my things,” pleaded the Chinese man.
“What fire now? You are joking neh? Okay, we are coming to catch the fire starter now,” said the police officer.
Five police officers arrived at the fire scene some two hours later.
They came in a bakkie and marched to the fire as if they had been called to arrest a shoplifter.

“Wooooo, this fire is big and there is no fire starter to arrest,” one of them said as they watched the fire with the bewilderment of spectators.
While the fire consumed the building, the officers pretended to be controlling the traffic while snapping some pictures and calling their colleagues to come witness the disaster.
In the meantime, the fire brigade had finally answered their phone after hours of ignoring it.

Rumour has it that they had been too busy playing morabaraba somewhere in their yard.
“Eish, sorry, the brigade fire car is out for repair. We will come faster faster when it’s repaired,” said a fireman.
The Chinese man started sobbing. Witnesses said he said: “Yoooo, fire bigger bigger too much. Brigade no come. Fire killa me.”

The fire brigade finally arrived but instead of putting out the fire, they staged a comical show so specular that you would think they were there to draw the people’s attention from the fire.
After running around like headless chickens, they discovered that their hose could not connect to the hydrant next to the factory. They drove back to their office, about three kilometres, to get another pipe.

When they couldn’t find it, one suggested that they get more pipes to connect to the hydrant a kilometre away from the fire. After several minutes of high fives and some gwaragwara dance to celebrate the solution, they drove back to the burning warehouse and started the connection which took them an hour to assemble.
Then when they were about to douse the fire, they discovered that there wasn’t enough pressure.

The water eventually oozed from their hoses after another hour.
But by that time the fire had turned into ashes, having gobbled everything in its path and obviously helped by the water from the little hose pipes. You could say the fire burned itself to death before the fire brigade killed it.
That was Muckraker’s report. Now, her take.
Anyone who says Lesotho has a fire brigade is being blasphemous. The lesson here is that Lesotho has a special kind of fire that targets Chinese-owned or rented buildings.

There have been nearly half a dozen in the past few years, all looking for Chinese things to burn. They can smell Chinese shops. Ours is a xenophobic fire. Maybe it’s a tokoloshi fire that hates Chinese businesses.
Muckraker will not say anything about insurance fraud for she knows that even goats suspect the same.
So what is the solution to these fires targeting the Chinese and exposing our firefighters? Simple!

The fire brigade should employ two thousand firefighters. Don’t ask how having more firefighters will help if they don’t have vehicles.
Well, the idea is that every morning each of the two thousand firefighters will be forced to drink five litres of water. Then when a fire starts, they will be loaded into busses to rush to the fire. There, they will open their zippers and pee on the fire to put it out. Their tummies are the water tanks and their ‘hardware’ the hose pipes.

No need for expensive water tanks, hose pipes and hydrants. It’s all organic in the spirit of fighting climate change.
As for the sirens to warn people to clear their way as they rush to the fire, they can take turns to stick their heads out of the bus window and whistle while others sing: “This town is on fireeeeeeee/ Oh, oh oh oh oh.”
Open the way, the Ash Brigade is coming!

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!

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