Over half of the population of Basotho live under the poverty line. That is to say that essentially, over half of Basotho have to make due with M13.00 or less. You might wonder what M13.00 might be able to buy, I would say a loaf of bread and two eggs. Take a moment to reflect on that.
Now think of it this way, the ones that can afford that loaf of bread and two eggs are the lucky ones. The bulk of our country’s GDP is built by the informal sector, 70% some articles would say. But it is this 70% we are quick to forget, especially in times of crisis.
The world might not be as forgiving as you believe, just take a look outside your window. I have been blessed with opportunities in my life, I was able to attend some of the best schools in the country, heck! I even graduated at university with a degree that I might probably never get to use.
But how many of us were offered these opportunities? How many of us were able to make a choice between which schools we wanted to go to or not?
The problem with privilege is that it is very similar to poverty. They are both blinding in that you only see what your immediate environment allows you to see. That is the problem with my country. Too many politicians and white-collar workers blinded by the light that is privilege. So much so that we fail to hear the plight of the masses, and the masses are hungry. What has been our response to their screams, “LET THEM EAT CAKE!”
More recently, our country has gone into a nationwide lockdown. This has seen numerous places and shops that sell goods and services be on lockdown for the next 21 days. Not only have the shops closed down but all places of business, well except for some government offices, pharmacies and other “essential services” have been on lockdown. This has turned the vibrant and robust capital city (Maseru) to a ghost town while its citizens are safe and snug in their homes as we all practice social distancing.
This is for what is truly a good cause, but the question remains, what is being done for the less fortunate? While we do understand the importance of taking precautionary measures, which indeed, is very important not only for us as individuals, but for the nation as a whole. What has been said to our workers in the informal sector, those that survive on the prayer, “Lord give us our DAILY bread.”
I have yet to hear a word that has been uttered.
Kemnet Network Lesotho and Urban Taxis and Tours have decided to finally say something…, and the first words we uttered were “Let there be light,” we will no longer sit idly by while our mothers, sisters and brothers die of hunger because fate had not handed them the same hand as us.
Therefore, during this lockdown and for the foreseeable future, we will be handing out food packages to the economically disadvantaged as a way to shine a light for those that are living in darkness…Kaofela re chabana sa Khomo, KHANYA!