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Communal duties have become a thing of the past

Matshediso Fologang

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Our society has moved on and has adopted all western values. Or is it a situation where we have partly remained traditional and partly a confused society? What has happened to our traditional communal character? We have become so westernised that we are no longer bothered by anything happening away from our immediate families.

This past two weeks I witnessed activities that left me outright confused. I still have no right explanation for these. In the villages where I grew up, social cohesion amongst the people was part of our being. People shared all the emerging chores and duties. This was more pronounced particularly in times of bereavement and weddings where the whole family clan and the village had a role to play. These roles and duties included sharing the costs of funerals and weddings, and this included each member of the family, clan and to some extent the whole village. In case of death, once such was announced, the entire village would gather at the homestead of the family of the departed.

This was during the days when we had no mortuaries in our villages, and the funeral would take place immediately. As part of the obligation, relatives and clan members would bring grain and other food stuffs to cater for those who would be engaged in different chores at the bereaved family home. This same response was also extended to weddings as the family would contribute towards the feast.

In each of these two ceremonies, it was a given that all family members and the clan were duty bound to somehow assist. For the bereaved, these duties included grave digging, providing firewood, and preparation of the homestead and all the foodstuffs. Both funerals and weddings were not expensive and families never had to worry about the financial strains endured in the modern era.
But now things have changed, and with our society becoming part of the so-called global village, we are witnessing a complete change in the involvement of people and relatives.

In the days where there were no mortuaries as indicated earlier, the expenses related to death were generally minimal. With the introduction of the service, funerals have become highly costly. It is not cheap to keep a corpse in the mortuary and the cost of coffins/caskets are just high. What is even more costly is the catering during the time leading to the actual funeral. I hear Kgosi Kgari III of Bakwena once tried to put control over this. The expenses are normally the responsibility of the immediate family members.

It is sad that all expectations are that one family must outclass another, and this doesn’t come cheap. What is even becoming emotionally burdensome is that even the insurance industries have joined in the fray with somewhat curious funeral covers that enhance the competition. We have actually been drawn into the business of thinking of death and not old age safety networks. People would rather take a funeral cover than a health plan. Traditional burial societies that were started by tribesman and women at the height of the migrant labour system away from home have also died a slow death.

The said communal responsibilities have become a thing of the past and the extended family and village moral fibre is dead. We have reached a level where we even don’t attend funerals that are supposedly not well-endowed (maso a sa nonang).Ceremonies have become the responsibility of the affected families while the rest wait at a distance for the final day where there is attendant food. We have copied the ways of the west but we are not doing it right, but we have also abandoned our own ways. So, in essence, we are a confused lot. We are neither traditional nor a western people. We are just a confused and lost lot!

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Of Kings and Pawns: Tlogela malele ao Mma-V

Joe Brown

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Dear MmaV

MmaV, akere I warned you about the people whom I said did not really care about you but were using you to push their own agendas?
Where were they when you needed them the most last Thursday and Friday at the High Court and in Kang respectively? Didn’t I say in my previous letters to you that their exaggerated support for you was fake and only self-serving, and that you should disassociate yourself from them?
And did you listen MmaV?
You see now what they have done to you? They deserted you during your hour of need and did not want to be seen around you both at the High Court and even later in Kang on Friday.
And I tell you, now that the dust has somewhat settled, they will think you have forgotten about how they deserted you and sweet talk you into thinking that it was just part of a strategy to a bigger picture.
Going towards the congress, they were already dismissing your chances, especially after a number of MPs and councillors you always thought were on your side revealed at the eleventh hour that they were with SisiBoy.
All the other reasons they give for not being by your side are just lies. They did not want the embarrassment of your loss to hit them on the face, especially right under the noses of such flambouyants as that Balopi chap and the Tebelelo woman that you seem to loathe with a passion.
Your so-called allies just couldn’t stand the heat and did as I had always warned you – leave you to burn in Guma’s hot kitchen alone. You should have listened to me MmaV. See how you had to then throw in the towel in shame although you tried to hide it with those flimsy excuses you projected as reasons for your chickening out?
You really disappointed me MmaV. You disappointed even those who supported you. You disappointed the delegates and all those who had prepared a vote for you. You disappointed the masses who were looking forward to an epic contest of numerical supremacy.
You disappointed the opposition party cadres who were rooting for your victory in the hope that you would be easier to beat in October than SisiBoy. You actually even disappointed SisiBoy himself, who must have been looking forward to the contest.
The result would have allowed him to gauge the level of dissent and dissatisfaction against him within the party. Now he will never be sure. You could tell from his facial expression the first time it was announced you had asked your name to be removed.
The way he shook his head, you could tell he was not amused you pulled out. He must have relished the idea of humiliating not just you, but his nemesis Kgama whom he knew all along was the real deal in this contest. And more than anything else, he must have thought: What a waste of resources for nothing!
I mean, imagine the millions you guys put into this campaign. Your combined financial power would have been channeled towards your party’s success at the national polls coming this October. I guess your financiers must be disappointed too, although I have no pity for them because they never stood with you for the sake of You, but for their own selfish reasons.
They were just using you to try their luck at blocking SisiBoy from becoming State President. I hear they now have quickly moved from you to their Plan B of funding the opposition in the same hope of accessing our tourism and mineral wealth in return.
Akere gatwe they realise SisiBoy is introducing economic reforms that will leave them in the lurch and keep them at bay from exploiting our resources? They had hoped your victory would deliver them to Kanana, but as soon as they realised that it won’t work with you, they moved on.
They never really loved you MmaV; they never really believed you could make a great President. And the smart woman that you are, I am sure you knew this too – that these guys didn’t really believe in you.
It’s just that you couldn’t show it. You were already too deep into it that you could no longer hit a retreat of thoughts. Otherwise the nation would have laughed at you, wondering what you thought you had in those two gentlemen in the first place.
That’s why you neither thought much about them when you decided to withdraw from the race. Truth be told, your withdrawal was never really about the race being unfair akere MmaV?
You just had to pick that line for political expediency. The truth is, you saw that the people who had motivated your decision to stand for the position of President were no longer there with you.
Clearly they had realised you stood no chance against SisiBoy and they decided to hide from public humiliation. They couldn’t risk their reputation of being master schemers and perennial winners being trampled upon.
Remember the two guys always see themselves as winners – that they have never failed in any of the contests they have engaged in before. I mean, do you really think Kgama would want people to realise that he is human after all? That he can lose a contest?
He had invested too much into your campaign, wanting to prove that he was more powerful and popular than SisiBoy, and when he realised he was going to lose this one, he hit a strategic retreat.
Otherwise he was going to lose the mental warfare, and people who have always seen him as an invincible would finally realise he was in fact a mere mortal like just like you and me. Now I hear he is sponsoring your refusal to extend an olive branch towards SisiBoy.
Again you are allowing yourself to be used MmaV. For how long are you going to allow yourself to be played by these men? Can you imagine a lot of women saw you as an extension of this patriarchy narrative that has divided national opinion?
Women felt you were pushing the agenda of men and that you had no moral ground to disparage other women for not supporting you. And it got worse when those Sunday Standard guys exposed the grander scheme being put together behind your presidential campaign.
That revelation was bound to damage your campaign MmaV; ke gore there was no hiding from what really was going on. That’s why some of the people who had pledged support for you started backtracking.
When Polson, against all expectation, rallied people to support your rival, the writing was on the wall. Your behind-the-scenes schemes were exposed and many of your people did not want to be a part of the scheme.
But of course your guys read the mood and they quickly slid into hibernation, leaving you to bear the brunt of the cold at the High Court and in Kang alone.
I suspect you might have thought you had it all figured out, only to realise later that your backers were just amateurs in the game, perhaps even playing you to meet their own selfish interests. But I have said this to you before MmaV – tswaa fela mo dilong tse and take a well-deserved rest after your illustrious service to this country.
You don’t want to be remembered as a bitter has-been MmaV, not after the colourful career you have had in both government and politics. Perhaps you feel that this country owes you something for your selfless service – and I believe it does – but at the rate you are going, you will end up being seen as nothing but a selfish and insatiable leader who refuses to let go of power.
And questions will be asked gore why o tshaba go tlogela. Kana the others bone we know what they are scared of. They know what they have done and that is why they want someone – a president – they can control so as go tshaba molelo o tlang. And they chose you to do their dirty work.
And you agreed.
Now that things did not go according to plan, they are on another mission and you will be going back to help push their plan? Nnyaa MmaV, tlogela malele a o ikhutse with your dignity still intact.
Remember you are the one who called this whole thing ‘malele.’ Just as you opted to ‘recuse’ yourself from the malele presidential race in Kang, recuse yourself too, from dintwa tsaga SisiBoy le Kgama, and don’t get yourself involved in the reported dirty schemes of foreigners seeking to plunder your country’s economy. You can’t want to be associated with boBrijete who clearly have a questionable agenda with their backing of Kgama. The way they have dedicated and committed their time, energy and resources to backing Kgosikgolo with anything he wants, ba tlaa go golega MmaV. Tswaa mo go bone before it’s too late. There really shouldn’t be much more to say here MmaV – a word to the wise is enough.

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Enlightening lessons from losing a loved one

Yvonne Mooka

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Last week (April 7) marked three months since my brother Moagi Ditlhase passed.I keep writing about my personal journey with loss in my diary and share it with my social media friends #DiaryOfAGrievingSister.

I agree we handle grief different, and with me, writing really helps.The reason I feel it’s so important to touch on this topic, is because grief, at some point or another, greets all of us. Each of us on this beautiful adventure we call life, encounters loss and pain. The kind that leaves you raw and tender for years. But today I want to share what I have learned from my journey. While we are thrust into the grief, the choice to carefully extract from the pain the very lessons we are destined to learn creates the true beauty. A true human experience. I am still learning. I am a work in progress. Here is what grief has taught me.

Life is short regardless of the number of years. And the small things you get so worked up about are really meaningless when you look at the bigger picture. Life can be taken away from you in less than a second and this thought makes you loosen your grip on life and stop wasting so much time trying to control everything or get so disappointed if it doesn’t go your way. Life is impermanent and so is control.

Like the wisest man in the Bible once said – ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ You realize the importance of memories. And how we should make as many of them as possible with the people we love. It is the only thing that will be left of them and you will want to celebrate their lives when they are gone. Memories are the only way to bring someone back to life. They will always remain. I look at my brother’s photos with a smile every now and then.

A little compassion goes a long way. Others are hurting all the time. You don’t have to look far to see heartbreak and loss written across someone’s face. I cry during Worship most Sunday mornings at church. I am okay with that. It’s my time to let out the emotion, and thank God for the ability to understand that others are hurting, too.

We are all in this together. Lastly, blessings abound. You just have to open your eyes to them. It’s the much needed breeze on a hot summer day. It’s the smile of a child as they run to the car after school. It’s a friend asking if you are okay today. It’s a friend not asking questions but bringing flowers just when they are needed. Perhaps it’s just knowing that you have love in your life.
Or that you were able to truly help someone in need. Praying for you that your faith shall not fail.

Facebook/Instagram: Yvonne Tshepang Mooka
Twitter: @yvonnemooka
Email: yvonnequeen2003@gmail.com

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