Tsepiso S Motibi
That equality in its true sense is an aspect of humanity we merely speak about is fact, and that what we often declare as commitment to a given credo is in truth lacking if one is to truly bother measuring the fullness of such commitment in terms of action. Men have signed declarations for centuries (or millennia even), committing themselves to certain causes in oaths and pledges of allegiance, but far too often, the hands that put signatures in ink on paper be the same hands that rescind or sell out when it comes to the performance of what has been declared.
The darker peoples of the world have an excuse for being how they are; they were colonised… they were enslaved… which is true, but no one seems to have a valid excuse as to why there is glaring inequality in gender even though woman and man go chest to breast, waist to waist, in the progression of the population of the world. Many a great man and mind have been whetted to the katana sword sharpness they are by the hands and the minds of women who bothered to raise a boy into manhood, even though they knew that they would have to bow to him on the morrow for the ways of the world so teach and declare, or, have declared since the beginning of recorded and unrecorded history.
Male hegemony is not a feminist concern, it is a human reality, and it will not be fleshed out of humanity as easily as most women’s rights activists seem to believe; it will have to be gently taught out of the psyche/s of mankind for, the present method, if it is to be commenced with in the manner and the pattern currently in employ, will never succeed.
Rather than teaching man to be more tolerant of woman’s equality, the present method of ridding the world of ‘male dominance’ will only make man a creature more violent than he already tends to be.It will take little girls to prove to the world of patriarchy that girls are born equal, for indeed; girls can do what boys do on the playground. It is only later in life that our women seem to think they should be treated different, that they should be treated as the ‘fairer’ sex. The strength the girls showed on the playground is forgotten, the mirror and the powder box take their place, and there woman assumes her ‘place’.
But it turns out, she does not like that place a bit, as the spate of feminist activities have in recent yearsproven; women are as equal as men, but they will have a hard time trying to prove it,for the guardians of patriarchy often look upon their struggle for freedom with disapproving stares that border on disdain. The girl child should however not give up on her struggle for gender equality, for some of us male humans are enlightened enough to realise that she is equal as we are, and should therefore be granted the rightful opportunity to express herself on terms equal to our own. Forget the religious dogmas and the tenets of the books; all human beings are born equal, and none is more equal than others in the eyes of the universe. The nervousness with which the lady in question this day attempts to assert her place in the hegemonic world proves that women are indeed equal, despite or inspite of the patriarchal lores and laws of the world. He who thinks different is high on testosterone, or so I am forced to assume.
When I first watched the cinematic adaptation of the sad and soulful tale of a widow struggling against the wretched and esurient tendencies of her late husband’s male siblings, in the biopic Neria, only the soundtrack sung in Shona by the Zimbabwean legend, Oliver Mtukudzi, resounded in my mind. The wails of the woman forced into a life of squalor with her brood of children did not really matter back then, but upon reading into the meaning behind the Shona words in the song and finding out that it was Tsitsi Dangarembga who penned the script, the meaning behind the words really struck home: I began to realise how unjust we males can often be when it comes to addressing the struggles of our women in post-colonial African society.
Though the song is popular and its chorus is a sing-along tune at many a party in our different communities, the meaning it presents is quite often misunderstood, because we tend to love the sound and not the meaning. That the great king Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi put so much soul into the song is often solely credited to his prowess as a master guitarist and vocalist: the voice of the girl that penned the tale is not heard or acknowledged. We forget that it was Tsitsi Dangarembga that inspired the words:
Neria,Neriaooo, Usaoremoyo kaNeria, Mwari anewe, Mwari anewe, mwari anewe kaNeria mwari anewe…
This is not just a song but the lament for a woman struggling against a system that has for ages declared the woman a perpetual member of an underclass whose role in the decision-making practices is minimal, if not totally non-existent. The anguish of her bereavement is forgotten in the meleethat follows the death of her husband, and as the male members of her extended family fight over the late husband’s properties, she is trampled like grass beneath two clashing bull elephants. Post funeral battles often turn into wars in our African society as siblings to a dead man often come forward with cudgels, knives, guns and pangas to claim a part of their ‘brother’s’ property.
The dead man’s wife and children are often just swept aside and robbed of the right to own what is in every essence theirs. Tell me not that you have not seen this tale unfold before your eyes, if you do, I might be tempted to think of you as mendacious: this is a common African tale we should work really hard towards its total annihilation and abolishment. Let us protect our women at all costs; even if their men are not there to defend them.
A brief biographical account of Tsitsi Dangarembga states that she was born in 1959 in Mutoko, Zimbabwe (which was Rhodesia at the time). She moved to England as a young girl and received her elementary education there. She returned to Zimbabwe at the age of six and finished her education in a missionary school in Mutare, where she also re-learned her native language, Shona. In 1977, she returned to England to study medicine at Cambridge University. In 1980, Dangarembga returned to Rhodesia to study psychology at the University of Harare. Shortly thereafter, the country gained independence from Britain and became “Zimbabwe” under black-majority rule.
While Dangarembga was a student, she worked as a copywriter for a marketing agency and also discovered her love of theatre. She wrote several plays that were put into production at the university. In 1983, her play The Lost of the Soil got the attention of Robert McLaren, and Dangarembga joined his theatre group, Zambuko. She also wrote the 1987 play She Does Not Weep. Her first short story, The Letter, was published in Sweden in 1985. Nervous Conditions, her first novel, was published in England in 1988, when Dangarembga was only twenty-five years old. It was the first novel to be published in English by a black Zimbabwean woman and won the African Section of the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989. The sequel, The Book of Not, was published in 2006.
Similar in a lot of ways to Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Pain or the scatologically pornographic presentation of women in Meja Mwangi’s Going Down River Road, Tsitsi Dangaremgba’s Nervous Conditions clearly shows the destructive impacts of colonisation on the indigenous people in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The novel focuses mainly on the oppression of females as well as the formation of the hybrid identity in this territory. Colonisation looked upon the native as a barbaric subhuman whose elevation to humanity could only be achieved by Westernisation, and many an African male began to think and rely on the European standard as the only point of definition when it comes to the issues of identity.
Oppressed on the basis of their race, many a native began to think that they would be considered more enlightened and ‘civilised’ if they wore spats and top-hats, whilst in the same process losing their aboriginal identity. Kicked in the butt by their ‘baas’ at work on the farm, or in the gangs digging the land to make way for railway lines into their lands interiors, or working like moles in the belly of the mines of Johannesburg, and living for endless months in crowded mining camps, the black male turned his wrath upon the weaker sex considered the underclass by the patriarchal system.
Beaten by apartheid, the male hegemony used patriarchy as the main tool to subvert the women, and for long, far too long I believe; women suffered in silence until they learned how to use their education to speak up against the system that had turned their young boys and men into monsters. Their speaking puts them in a nervous condition now that the colonisers are gone and they have to put their house of Africa in order. I know that once fully emancipated, women will set things right in this confused house of pain we call Africa. After all, it is them who have had to do the housekeeping for the many past centuries. Dangarembga presents their plight with finesse; only we male fellows should understand her and the many voices of women speaking against the subjugation of Africa by the memories of a sad past.
By representing the disruptive influence of colonisation over the local Rhodesians in her Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga unravels the femaleAfrican’s status in a colonised society. She chooses Tambudzai (a female) as the protagonist of her novel in order to show that women are doubly colonised in the colonial African society. Women are in actuality marginalised by both patriarchal ‘norms’ and racism, and Dangarembga shows the suffering of women in Rhodesia through the depiction of Tambudzai’s ordeal in rising to the status of an educated woman.
On the one hand, she suffers the horrible influence of colonisation and its resulting racial inequalities; on the other hand, she is subjugated by the patriarchy which is a serious obstacle for any female in African society. She is not granted any chance to receive an education as long as Nhamo, her elder brother, is alive. For example,she insists on enrolling at school, and her father rebukes her and says:
Can you cook books and feed them to your husband? Stay at homewith your mother. Learn to cook and clean. Grow vegetables…
For some chauvinist swine these words sound wise, but in these hard times, any man that believes his woman should stay at home when she could be helping out with the budgetary load is in many ways similar to an ox trying to strike a deal with a butcher in an abattoir. Our women are smart, and they are industrious, and pushing them aside on the basis of their possessing pudendum is delusion. We should as male members of African society forget our private parts and focus on uplifting this continent out of the depths of nervousness instilled by colonialism. We do not know Europe in totality, will never fully comprehend America’s ever-changing dynamics, but we live with our women and raise our girl children: we therefore should be more considerate when it comes to liberating them from the status of servitude colonialism and segregation put us all in.
Letsema, our main indigenous and reverend industrial practice, used to be performed by men, women, and children working in unison towards the attainment of society’s common good. I believe that we should adopt its philosophies when it comes to the eradication of gender inequality and the nervousness with which we deal with each other. You may wonder: Why are we nervous? We are nervous because we have been in a darkness imposed by colonialism for far too long. Reach out and lift her up, then you won’t be so nervous when you work with her, when you live with her. She is after all, your mother, your sister, your daughter, your kind, your human kind who gives birth to you, nurtures you to maturity, gets pregnant with your brats, single-handedly raises them, and comforts you in your old age. And she is not nervous when it comes to reaching out to you. She is…your woman.
- S. Mothibi, Esq.
‘We lost direction in the ABC’
THE Mechechane MP, Nyapane Kaya, defected from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) to the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) contrary to the expectations that he would cross the floor with Nqosa Mahao’s new party, the Basotho Action Party (BAP). In fact, Mahao had earlier said Kaya was one of the MPs who would dump the ABC for his party. Kaya’s defection to the MEC took many by surprise. Our reporter, Margaret Katimbo, spoke to Kaya the day he joined the MEC. Below are excerpts from the interview.
What does it mean to you having to switch to the MEC?
It gives me special happiness and satisfaction, a special feeling of strength having changed parties. I joined the ABC from the very first day it was formed as a teacher, and I wasn’t even an active politician at the time. It was a vibrant party which filled people with a lot of hope. The problem, however, is that we abandoned the direction which we took with the people from the beginning after we felt cushioned.
I have to accept that the ABC has done a great deal of good things for Lesotho that I can point to but unfortunately there are times when people feel like they have reached a stage where they feel successful and the love for their nation is no longer there. I was aware that with my (ABC) party, there is no longer an interest to maintain the rhythm of working for the people. Having changed to the MEC, I feel that special kind of satisfaction because I trust that I will get the new strength to work for the people.
What attracted you to the MEC?
Well, in particular the MEC leader is one hard-working politician with vigour and a strong wish to produce results in this country. He makes and leaves a mark wherever he goes. Therefore, being close to him this much encourages me and gives me pleasure because I too am a results-oriented politician. I hope that we will work together with other politicians, not necessarily the MEC, in order to give the country the boost it needs. Even better, I worked with him in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) where we tended to understand the underlying problem in this country. Corruption has made Lesotho what it is today so I want to align myself with people that fight against it.
By fighting against corruption, does it imply that the current government is corrupt?
There are still instances of corruption but not at the same levels as we saw during the so-called 4 x 4 government. There is some improvement on that but there are reports of corruption that we get especially when working in the PAC. There are still issues I still have to follow up with regards to allegations of corruption. There is a slight improvement I must accept.
Why did you leave Mahao for the MEC?
I must say I have always wanted to work with the MEC for a while now. It was simply a question of time. However, I still had strong alliances with Ntate Mahao’s group so much that by the time they were packing to leave the ABC it would have been thought that I would leave with them regardless of some developments which had already discouraged me. At some point, a WhatsApp group was created and my number was left out. There were other instances where I would get sidelined from meetings I knew they had.
As a matter of fact, I would learn from you reporters that they had held meetings amongst themselves without me. It is only about a week ago when they were preparing to leave the ABC, and they thought that I would leave with them but I told them No, I can’t go with you people. I told them that they had already sidelined me and that they no longer needed me. That is also when they told me the truth that the fact that I had stood for elections for the deputy speaker, it had been the decision rather conclusion in the government party’s caucus as to who would be elected deputy speaker.
However, there was a great encouragement from a number of them that I should stand which I did but little did I know that my group (that was just a small faction) within the ABC felt offended that I had stood for the post, although some had actually voted for me. So that is how and why I left them because to keep such alliances was no longer safe. My political career is now much clearer and this should be the last round in my political journey. Age also has caught up with me. However there are really no guarantees, something might arise in the future.
Bullet-proofing your online data
ROMA – Dr Makhamisa Senekane, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Electronics at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) is assessing a new way of bullet-proofing your online information to ensure it is safe.
When you send sensitive information online, such as banking information, there is a way to hide that information from crooks.
“However,” he says, “some methods of hiding information (encryption) are very difficult to bullet-proof. That is why we are assessing a new way of bullet-proofing the security of your online experience.”
In the world of information hiding (encryption), you are sending the information from this side and your name is Alice.
And the one who receives the information on the other side is called Bob (Robert).
As far as Alice and Bob are concerned, one can sleep peacefully at night, these folks cause no problems whatsoever.
But then comes the third person called Eve (Eavesdropper, if you know what we mean?) and everything turns upside-down.
Eve is interested in getting the message that Alice is sending to Bob, so that she (Eve) can use this message for her personal gain.
That message may as well be a password you use to log into your online banking system.
If Eve is successful, you may wake up one day with all your money wiped off from your bank account in one stroke.
Now you know why the gurus, like Dr Senekane, are working day and night to make sure that that just won’t happen, if possible.
First, let’s consider one of the normal approaches which Senekane says it’s hard to prove their security.
Rest assured, we are using the simplest examples, in real life, it is more complex.
Suppose Alice is sending a number 10 to Bob on the other side of the online device.
But both know that Eve, that shady character, is waiting like a hungry shark on the route between them, to devour the information.
Hiding now begins.
The computer system generates the information called security keys.
Let’s say it gives the first key to Alice as the number 3 and the second key to Bob as the number 7.
“Prime numbers, those numbers such as 2, 3, 7, 11, 13, 17, the numbers that can only be divided by 1 or themselves, are often preferred because, as they get bigger, they are often hard to deal with,” Senekane says.
A bit of maths here but a simple one will suffice.
On the side of Alice, 10 is raised to power 3 times 7 (Remember 3 for Alice and 7 for Bob).
So 3 times 7 is 21.
So 10 is raised to power 21 which makes the number 1000000000000000000000, that is, 1 followed by 21 zeros.
When Eve the crook tries to steal the information, she comes across this ginormous number.
She is fooled because she doesn’t know that actually, that number represents 10.
When this mammoth number reaches Bob’s side of the system, Bob’s side has two advantages.
It “knows” Bob’s own key, 7, and it “knows” Alice’s key, 3.
Immediately, it can tell that there was a number which was raised to power 3 times 7—a number that was raised to power 21.
To arrive to this mammoth number (1 with 21 zeros), it can only mean that 10 was raised to power 21.
Now it is clear, Alice sent Bob the number 10!
But it appeared to Eve as a huge number she could not make sense out of.
Not so fast.
It is not difficult to see that should Eve have access to both Alice and Bob’s keys, that is 3 and 7 respectively, she doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the hidden number sent was actually 10.
“That is why we need to hide these keys also, 3 and 7 and that is the most difficult part,” Dr Senekane says.
“It is hard to prove mathematically, that Eve can’t find the keys and use them for her own benefit.”
That is why he is assessing the use of quantum physics.
In this case, another line is created between Alice and Bob to exchange keys.
But the keys are sent, not as numbers but as photons (very tiny particles that make up light).
The number of particles interpreted in the binary format, are translated to either 3 or 7 for Alice and Bob.
But here is the big trick for Eve.
Photons are quantum particles (that is enough).
When you try to measure them they become something else.
So when Eve tries to measure these particles, they lose their identity (from quantum to classical) and the Bob’s side immediately realises that Eve interfered and the whole transaction stops.
What matters, is not so much that Eve did not see the information.
It is that we can detect that she saw the information and we can stop her on her tracks.
So Dr Senekane and the team are working to ensure that the techniques used to generate these keys using quantum physics are indeed mathematically provably secure.
This is to ensure that if the techniques are implemented correctly, the only way that Eve can interfere without being detected is by violating the fundamental laws of nature; a feat that is quite impossible.
The electronic ticket
ROMA – THATO Rammoko and Mohale Molieleng, two National University of Lesotho (NUL) trained computer enthusiasts, are introducing eventspoynt, your electronic ticket to your favourite events.
It is fully paperless!
You buy your ticket online, you pay online with either M-Pesa or Ecocash or even your bank account and, listen to this one, you only bring your phone to the event!
No paper. Nothing!
Just your phone!
This is it! www.eventspoynt.com or inbox Eventspoynt.
So you are one of those in the Born After Technology (BAT) generation who is baffled by the prevalence of paper-based tickets in the 21st century?
Or, are you, perhaps, one of those hardworking fellows who like organizing events but get frustrated when potential clients blame distance or even obscurity, of your ticket selling outlet?
Or maybe you are just a good old environmental enthusiast bewildered by the ever-declining forest resources that help keep our atmospheric greenhouse gases balanced—and you want to see paperless technology reinforced, bit by bit?
Thato Rammoko and Mohale Molieleng have a solution.
“I am a computer trained hip-hop artist,” Rammoko said in an interview.
“It turns out those double passions, computer and hip-hop, combine in him to create the product we are introducing today,” he said.
Everybody somehow knows a thing or two about Lesotho’s rising hip-hop music.
But have you heard a thing or two about the music from an insider?
Okay, listen to Rammoko relate.
“Outside my technology life, I am a hip-hop artist,” he said.
“Some people call our fast-moving music industry sotho-hop.”
In a nutshell, it is a version of hip-hop delivered in a combination of Sesotho and English or in Sesotho only.
It drives young people crazy!
But behind the vibe, pop and fanfare, there are glaring cracks.
“It is an industry that is moving fast, but with no financial rewards in the end,” said Rammoko.
‘In this industry, it is not uncommon for you to be famous, have your music played on radios, TV and all over, while you are broke.”
‘It is a survival industry!”
He added in a tone layered with determination to transform the status-quo.
Here are the problems.
Lack of proper copyright law means “you can sell just one CD for M100, and the next thing you hear your music played across the country, while you remain with that measly M100 you started with, in your pocket”.
Your CD has been copied!
So they have a strategy, they no longer make money through selling CDs.
They give them for free and then organize live events.
“But this alternative is no picnic either,” Rammoko added, holding his breath.
Fraud, fraud, fraud, is a problem here.
“When you are on a stage delivering music to your fans, you can see the hundreds and hundreds in the adoring crowd, only to receive income that clearly doesn’t correspond to the numbers.”
“It leaves you wondering, what happened there—we mean, like— at the gate?”
Oop! Eventspoynt jumps in at this point.
It is a brilliant solution, not only for hip-hop events but for all kinds of events.
Doing it is as simple as ABC.
You go online—register.
Then you choose your event, and the kind of ticket you want to buy, e.g. VIP, Goldern Circle or normal ticket.
Then you pay the given price with your M-Pesa, Ecocash or through your bank account.
During the paying process, a unique number, called order number, is generated.
This you use as a reference when you pay in any of those options.
Once they receive your payment, Eventspoynt folks confirm both by your email and by your order number and your e-ticket is sent to your email.
You can either print it (but please don’t, save the trees), or you can leave it on your phone.
When time comes for the event, you show up with your phone on hand [or your printed paper if you are the Born Before Technology (BBT)].
And here is Rammoko again: “In your e-ticket, there is a code called QR code.”
That is Quick Response two dimensional bar code, it determines if or not you will enter the event.
“We scan the code, in your electronic PDF ticket on your phone or on you printed paper. For scanning we use any phone that has a camera, as long as an app is installed there, to recognise the QR code.”
This time around, no money is exchanging hands.
Thus fraud is kept at bay.
It is stress-free for both the buyers and sellers of the tickets.
All you need to attend you favourite show is to have a phone and money in your M-Pesa account.
That is it!
It doesn’t get easier than that!
The beauty of this system is that it is versatile – all kinds of event organisers can use it as a tool.
And you can buy a ticket, while in any corner of the Mountain Kingdom, or beyond.
Eish! Those are NUL trained computer gurus for you!
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