Africa has a brutal enemy within, it has a viral infection that has a simple cure. A home-made cure called brotherly love, sadly though, a far-fetched cure.
LESOTHO, my home land, a country of ten districts, 2 million people (figure rounded), one language, a beautiful mountainous landscape and with both the highest and lowest point in the world. “The most peaceful country” they say. Why? Because our founder built the nation on the principle "choose peace rather than war". Now, yes a few incidences of gun shots and brutal killings do surface in the mountains kingdom, but Lesotho really suffers a different kind of violence. We have invincible scars, the kind that does not tremor throughout the world, but sucks out the last drop of humanity and brotherly love left in our people – especially the youth.
The cruelest crimes are orchestrated upon the youth – those who suffer the most.
The youth "waste" a good number of years at school or varsity. Most being forced into programs they do not even like, because in years past our only university has not upgraded nor diversified its programs – (The Courses we are subjected to taking have 1970 as their "Use Before” date) and our only trusted financial muscle, "the national manpower", only sponsors certain programs.
In varsity we have been forced into programs that only torment us emotionally: You fail once – You lose your scholarship! TO MOST OF US, THE DEGREES WE HOLD ARE MORE LIKE A PERFORMER INVOICE. A SAD REMINDER THAT WE OWE THE STATE MONEY, A PAINFUL REMINDER THAT WE WASTED FOUR YEARS OF OUR LIFE'S INVESTING OUR INGENIOUS IN WHAT THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION CALLS OBSOLETE.
BUT they are in power! We voted them in! They decide for us! Their children attend better schools, their nieces are sure of scholarships and jobs. Meanwhile, out there on our streets, there is a child - in fact children, who walk up and down desperately each day because they do not know anybody and carry an envelope with an “obsolete” BA degree. Why? Is it their surnames? Or that their parents or uncles are not known by the politicians.
This youth has walked the streets for 7 years now, tormented by the weather! He is ageing, his body taking in so much heat from the burning sun on summers, then the terrorising cold of the winter and the humiliating dust of autumn. He still carries his “Performer Invoice”, but if you were to take an x-Ray, you would see all his internal scars and his crushed dreams displayed. He has become a laughing stock in his community. Education is seen as a waste of time and energy. But he is still hopeful.
Our politicians are the worst abusers, they abort the dreams of this young generation! They fail them day in and day out. On the street lights hang headlines that say nothing about the youth nor the adolescents. What you see is a public display of greed and the lavish lifestyles politicians lead. We have been told of a Zero percent increase in the public service (our biggest employer), we have been told we will only be employed should a civil servant die or retire - all this we hear from a minister who denies us the right to study for the qualifications we chose and in the schools we desired and worked hard for! This we are being told by a minister who selfishly diverted funds that were meant to boost farming! This we were being told by the minister who cannot account for millions set aside for Youth Empowerment!
But because we are a peace loving nation we let it slide, although it really tears us badly within. We may smile, but on the inside we are crying hysterically!
We the youth of Lesotho are at the very edge of extinction. We are killed by HIV because we live recklessly and without a purpose. We are killed by stress, because we are growing, trapped in a routine lifestyle of: Wake up-Eat-Stress-Sleep. We cannot all sell apples, or music nor fast food, yet most of us already do. Many of us survive off Survey Projects, but that is not what we signed for.
We all had a dream, a big dream. We wanted a better life for us and our dependents. We wanted to marry, have children and pay for their meals, fees and medicine. We wanted to take care of our grannies and pamper our darlings. We wanted to develop our nation. Sing our national anthem with pride as we contest on national and international games. We wanted so much.... So much good. But we got our dreams crushed by the very men and women we voted into office!
In Uganda I hear a group of youths smuggled piglets into parliament. They were fed up with the system! They said they wanted the piglets to join their colleagues- "the Honourable M-pigs"! But we don’t even have to go to as far as that. Together we can make a noise so loud mankind will awaken. AFRICAN YOUTH UNITE! Love each other. LOVE IS an international token. It knows no boundaries. It is communicable.
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