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Great brinkmanship I saw there, nephew

Dear Nephew,

Nephew Khotso, your letters make good reading but I will not promise to reply all of them because the work here is tough and tiring.

I am normally too tired to reply your letters but that does not mean I will not write here and there.

Yet a young boy like you who eats to a full tummy without that nagging guilty conscience of not having raised a finger to work for the food should write more.

After all, where else do you spend your energy apart from chasing village girls around?

You boys of today are always on the heat.

Besides, I suspect that writing these letters to me will help you perfect your skills for writing application letters.

Remember you are still very jobless nephew.

I don’t need to remind you that there will come a time when you have to move out of my brother’s house and fend for yourself.

And when that happens you must have the courage to make choices about which jobs you are prepared to take or reject.

Beware of those sharks of men that hop from village to village looking for people to work in the illegal mines.

They will promise milk and honey but once you are under those dark tunnels you become just another wretched slave.

These treacherous men from Zama-zama peddle lies.

To them there is no difference between you and the shovel you will be using.

And when you die they disown you like filth.

This is what happened to those 89 miners who were trapped, crushed and burnt to death under that Welkom Mine in May.

I am sure by now you are aware that most of them were from the Mountain Kingdom, that home of ours where jobs are scarce.

That home of ours where poverty has laid and hatched eggs season after season.

At the time of need the con artists who lured these men to the mines were nowhere to be found.

So the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children had to dig deeper into their already perforated pockets to bring the dead home.

Last week we buried some 24 men whose bodies had not been claimed.

For three months their bodies were kept in the morgue and by the time they took them out, some had decomposed.

They called it a pauper’s burial but I think they were just dumping the bodies in some shallow graves and cardboard boxes of coffins to make room in their morgue.

I wept.

I have seen many sad things in this long life of mine but this was in a class of its own.

I am a hardened old man but there are some things that still manage to penetrate my thick skin to pierce my heart.

Everyone seemed in a hurry to leave the cemetery.

I cannot blame them for they had come as spectators not mourners.

Among the mourners I saw someone who looked like an official from the government of the Kingdom.

They said he was a senior official.

The sight of him there filled me with anger.

Where was he when relatives from Lesotho were battling to carry the dead back home?

You see, the senior official is a smart man. He knows how to duck responsibility but still get some millage.

He knew that proper funerals in the kingdom can ruin bank accounts so he stayed away from those who were thinking of giving their relatives decent burials.

He never made it for the proper funerals back home.

But I was not surprised when I saw him at the pauper’s burial.

A pauper burial is by its nature cheap because no one is forced to take responsibility.

No one asked for a penny from him.

It took a lot of self restraining for me not to slap him in the face.

I still want to slap him.

Please, next time you write tell me how Pitso Maisa cried when he lost those ABC youth elections.

I want you to tell me how the boy screamed when he was rejected by popular vote.



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