An Open Letter to the Youth of Lesotho: Awaken the Sleeping Giant

Guest Post by Thapelo Donald Ntsiki (Adv.)

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Dear Youth,

At the launch of Augustinus Ngombe’s book titled “Leadership and Knowledge,” hosted at the International University of Management in Namibia, Professor Patrick Lumumba, said the following words which still echo in my mind:

“…Africa has the youngest population in the world and if we, as a continent, are going to take part in the affairs of the world, whether it’s in economics, science, invention and innovation or whether it is in critical areas that will help us move politically and socially, it is on the shoulders of the youth that this can be done.”

I have been lucky enough to have met a great number of you. To grow with you and to see how your work inspire and motivate most of us to make the best of the opportunities, creativity, inventive capacity, intelligence and talents in the development and progress of our beloved Kingdom. Jesus need not every Easter for us to resurrect or tap into our creative faculties.

I am privileged to live in this time and era. COVID-19 has placed us at the crossroads of history. To borrow from Obama’s speech at Madiba’s centenary, we are living in a “moment filled with peril, but also enormous promise.”

50 something odd years after our independence, the torch of liberation we most fared for in the delivery of the promise of independence has not even been flickering. Our macro-economic fundamentals are in tatters to sustain socio-economic growth, cultural progress and sustainable development.

We are a polarised country divided by party lines and political affiliations. We have even forgotten that we are Basotho before ‘bo-Congress or bo-Nasi’. Our country’s development is on a downward spiral and we are “silent” when our beloved motherland is steered right off a cliff.

Our country is embroiled in debilitating socio-economic problems: poverty is on the rise. Unemployment is shooting for highest heavens. Inequality is deepening. Economic exclusion is the order of the day. Political instability is our daily bread. Gloomy economic trajectories are business as usual.

Today, these problems have increased exponentially, thanks to novel COVID-19 scourge. While Coronavirus’ dark cloud hangs over our heads, our challenges and problems are stirring deep in our eyes.

Who are the victims to our rhyming and recurring problems? Is it the old people who have all kinds of benefits in parliament and Cabinet even during the worst times of Coronavirus?

Kindly take your time to read two splendid essays by my learned friend Advocate Mokitimi T. Ts’osane, Covid-19: Crisis Leadership in Lesotho: When a crisis calls for an introspection on Leadership and Covid-19’s Sacrificial Lambs in Lesotho: Orwellian and Strategic Game Theoretic Reliefs in favour of the government to catch my drift.

I bet on my beautiful daughter’s future that the greatest impact will be felt by the youth. The largest age group and future of this country. We are not the only victims here. The perpetual existence of our beloved Kingdom as a sovereign economic and political power is also at stake.

We are grateful to those who fought for our sovereignty and those who have been at the forefront fighting for our democracy. Yet, times have changed and keys to the kingdom have changed hands. We are facing a different set of problems and it is with a different mindset that we will overcome them.

It is upon and up to us to fix our own country. Otherwise we will be collateral damage to the decisions of perfidious individuals who will not be present to suffer the consequences of their bad judgment. There will be no Thomas Sankara, no Thabo Mbeki, no Malcolm X, no Steve Biko, no Robert Sobukwe, no Mandela, no Lumumba, or Garvey to fight our battles.

We ourselves should wake up and fight our own battles. The change we all want to see starts right in-front of each of us, with each one of us by all of us. If we wait for someone else, we wait forever to the demise of our beautiful Kingdom.

We are busy paying allegiance to political parties and playing political pawns to politicians in a fight for scarce opportunities in our public sector which we have misled ourselves to think they belong to politicians. We have forgotten that the ultimate power rests with the people and we are only strong when we unite. We should not be cynical and egoistic. We ought to sacrifice for our collective advancement and growth.

Together, we are a sufficient capital for our country to break free from the chains of economic exploitation and political manipulation. We have abundant skills and creativity to liberate our country from the scourge of underdevelopment and neglect in the name of individual gains.

The youth has been inactive and exploited for the longest time. It is about time we awaken the sleeping giant. We are that sleeping giant.

We are all witnesses to an entrenched culture of corruption, political patronage and kleptomaniacs at the expense of our country’s development. We do not have to wait for massive laws to fight corruption. We all should start where we are to be upright citizens for the sake of the future of this country.

We should all stand against socio-economic exclusion of women and child marriages. The culture of treating women as non-entities or second class citizens is antiquated and has no place in the 21st century. Unemployment, poverty and illiteracy know no gender, skin colour, qualification or social status.

To achieve in our objectives, we should stand together not beg from the politicians or international donors but to create communities. We should all be on a mission to impacting positively our societies which will in turn translate to change in our regions and essentially our beloved Kingdom.

Donisha Pendergast, Bob Marley’s granddaughter, dissects the word community to “come and unity,” which is a phrase which calls all to action. This is a call to action, not only to the youth but a concerted effort from the government and inter-governmental institutions and also the private sector, civil society, universities, students and the populace at large to fight for survival and abundance.

We all share huge responsibilities as leaders to this country – to be a leader you need not be a leader of a political party or occupy a religious position but we are all leaders hence we should all lead this country to a path of progress and opportunity. Stepen R Covey was correct in this regard, leadership is not about position but action.

Our Mountain Kingdom, Lesotho fats’e la bo Ntata rona. Ha ra mafats’e le letle ke lona. This is our only home; hence the need for our total devotion, intelligence, dedication, energy, pluck and hard-work. This is the task for her unrivalled social capital for her to bear fruits of sustainable development, unity and progress. We all have equal responsibility to navigate this country away from the iceberg, this is no Titanic.

Khotso, Pula, Nala!!!

I hope you find this in order. For further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me on Facebook: Donny Ntsiki or Twitter: @Donny_Ntsiki.

Yours faithfully,
Thapelo Donald Ntsiki (Adv.)


Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the author; they do not necessarily reflect the views of Selibeng.com.

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