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The benefits of us joining South Africa

Dear Uncle,

We are living in crazy times, uncle. Out of the blue we find ourselves having to listen to this hogwash from some people saying Lesotho should be swallowed by South Africa. I don’t know what sparked such a misdirected debate, especially during such a recession and the ravaging HIV and Aids pandemic, but I think whoever had a hand in elevating it to newspaper headline levels is either myopic or just mischievous.

Put plainly, the argument that our little Kingdom should be swallowed by South Africa is at best ridiculous and at worst just trash. It is shocking that someone is trying the sneak this matter onto the national agenda. Professor Keketso Mothibe and his disciples are pushing a stale agenda that they will soon discover to be an extremely hard sell. Even if you turn this asinine debate into a serious one, it is quite a task to find anything really fundamentally important that will come out of the merger apart from the fact that Basotho will not need passports to cross into South Africa.

If you sift through their arguments, you will come up with a few other petty benefits that the proponents of the merger are desperately trying to blow out of proportion to add credibility to their cause. You will hear arguments like that Basotho students will be able to go to South African universities, something which they are already doing legitimately. Push a little harder and you will start getting bombarded by the economic jargon that in the end really means nothing to the poor people of Lesotho. All I see are negatives.

If the merger is successful we will replace Limpopo as South Africa’s poorest province. The poverty in South Africa stinks. It’s overflowing. The gap between the poor and the rich in South Africa has been widening. They rarely show it on TV but the truth is that millions in that country are living in shacks. More than half of South Africa’s people live in abject poverty and the number keeps growing precisely because not much has been done to improve the people’s lives.

That means nearly 20 million South Africans are living in poverty. Where does anyone get the notion that little Lesotho’s 1.8 million people can get anything from a place where 20 million people are either scrounging or scrambling for their daily bread? We have enough poverty already in Lesotho. Meanwhile, South Africa’s leaders sing Mshini wam’ with the passion of crèche kids singing that Twinkle-twinkle little star song. But there is a hilarious angle to this so-called debate. What other benefit will we gain from this merger apart for the fact Lesotho will be just another province of a country that venerates doggy characters?

What will Basotho benefit apart from taking delivery of a truck-load of rubble rousers that masquerade as leaders? I have no doubt that once that mob crosses Mohokare River then we are in trouble. Why would anyone want Basotho to be citizens of a country led by Jacob Zuma, a man who is more passionate about his Mshini wam’ jingle than anything else? He is the same man who once told a court that after having sex with an HIV positive woman he had a shower to minimise the risk of infection. By virtue of being a province of South Africa it means we will get to call that ignoramus, sexist and blabbermouth called Julius Malema our own. Basotho would have to learn to stuff their ears because that boy can poop vitriol about almost everything including our own mothers. This is the man who once threatened to kill for a politician.

Athletics in this country will never be the same if we merge with South Africa. Our own Lesotho Amateur Athletic Association (LAAA) will be part of Athletics South Africa (ASA); that disgraced organization whose boss Leonard Chuene is a bona fide liar. Because we will have to be called South Africans that means we will have the same citizenship with Jackie Selebi, that disgraced former top cop who is facing serious corruption charges. Then there is Thabo Mbeki who once said HIV and Aids do not kill and that statistics about crime in South Africa were exaggerated.

We will share a country with that drunk of a doctor who once presided over that country’s health ministry. The point I am making is that Basotho already have people of such ilk and there is no need to burden them with worse imports. Before I go I must put something on record. I have a feeling that this agenda is being pushed by Basotho who want to earn a living in Lesotho but live across the border (in Ladybrand). I mean those people who want to be Basotho by day and South Africans at night.

Your nephew, Khotso

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