Catholic Church, Qoaling community bury hatchet
THE Roman Catholic Church in Qoaling, Maseru and the local community have agreed to end their decades-long conflict which at some point led to the rape of nuns and theft of the holy sacrament and other church property.
The two sides smoked the peace pipe at a weekend ceremony facilitated by a local community organisation, Qoaling re lelapa (loosely translated to mean: Qoaling we are a family).
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli graced the ceremony alongside local priest Thabelang Mothabeng, Thaba-Bosiu Principal Chief Khoabane Theko and church members.
Speaking at the ceremony Qoaling re lelapa spokesperson, Teboho Molapo, pleaded for forgiveness on behalf of locals who had subjected the church to suffering through serious acts of criminality including raping nuns and robbery over the years.
“Qoaling is one of the biggest and oldest villages in Maseru which boasts of many people of stature but there are some things that just don’t add up,” said Mr Molapo.
“Unlike other villages, Qoaling is a notorious place which is not progressing at all. We are our own worst enemies as we mug and kill one another.
“Life is not considered sacred and killing another person in Qoaling is not a scary thing at all. We have committed these same brutal acts on this church and its caretakers.
“Way back in 1984, some of our boys raped some nuns, looted the church and stole the holy sacrament. We are tired of these acts and we have come to ask for forgiveness as we feel that the Roman Catholic has cursed us and this village is not progressing in any way.
“We feel that we cannot progress and achieve anything without asking for forgiveness from the church that we have wronged so much in the past,” added Mr Molapo.
Father Mothabeng said the church was ready to bury the hatchet with the locals in line its teachings which emphasised the importance of forgiving one’s enemies.
“I can attest to everything that has been said (by Molapo) about Qoaling. It is a hub of crime,” Father Mothabeng said.
“Nevertheless, we accept your apology. There is no way we could have refused to accept your apology because as a church, we preach forgiveness. To demonstrate that we have indeed accepted your apology, we will hold a big mass on a date to be announced,” he added.
Commissioner Molibeli hailed the positive move by the community to end their wayward behaviour and make peace with the church.
“What you have done is a positive move in the right direction and we hope that other communities will follow suit as you have set a very good example.
“Truth be told, Qoaling is a place of unexplored talent which has struggled under the huge burden of crime.
“We are gravely concerned about the high crime statistics in Qoaling and we are ready to work with you in fighting it. We are ready to set up a police station to combat crime and bring other services to the people. All that is needed is for a site to be earmarked and we will build the station,” said Commissioner Molibeli.
On his part, Chief Theko praised the community for taking the bold step to ask for the church’s forgiveness.
“Nothing beats the power of forgiveness and we are all humbled by your confessions.
“However, we would like to see a real change in your actions and not just talk. Let us truly repent through our actions,” said Chief Theko.