Metropolitan come to school’s aid
THE Mathebe community in the Mafeteng district has expressed gratitude to Metropolitan Lesotho for the timely donation of three new electrified and equipped classrooms which have eased the challenge of inadequate infrastructure at Mathebe Primary School.
Mathebe Primary School was founded by the Lesotho Evangelical Church in 1886.
However, the old buildings were no longer meeting current standards, resulting in the school authorities and community extending the begging bowl to the corporate sector, development partners and other well-wishers for help in rehabilitating infrastructure.
Metropolitan Lesotho subsequently answered the call and during a recent handover ceremony, Mathebe School Principal, Mapakiso Khuele said before then they were even forced to use a chicken coop for some of the lessons.
“That was not a good learning environment because learners must be in a class room where they are comfortable for them to be eager to participate and do well in their studies,” Ms Khuele said.
“Therefore, we are very proud to receive the new classrooms from Metropolitan Lesotho and we heartily thank you for your generosity.”
She revealed how they initially struggled to get in touch with the insurance giant, adding, “However, we finally found a way of ensuring that the letter we wrote got to the correct people and soon after that negotiations for the con- struction started”.
“The classrooms were eventually built and that is why we are here officially receiving them from Metropolitan,” Ms Khuele said.
A representative of the parents, Ms Mamolahlehi Seboka said the classrooms were of such high quality that they would not have built anything comparable even if they had grouped together like they did in some of their building schemes of the past.
Ms Seboka said God had surely blessed the community through Metropolitan and the parents were “therefore very grateful for the generous support”.
For his part, Metropolitan Lesotho Managing Director, Nkau Matete said the company was happy to assist in improving the lives of the children and communities especially a time when they were celebrating their golden jubilee.
Mr Matete said Metropolitan commenced operations in Lesotho in 1967 and they were supported by Basotho, some of them parents of the learners as well as their teachers who bought various policies and other products from them.
“We know the parents support us hence the need to come here to their children’s rescue. We are also supported by teachers,” said Mr Matete who also revealed he attended the primary school in the late 1970s.
“We are very happy with the support from the teachers and parents so will carry out several activities to give back to the community as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations,” he added.
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One of those lessons would be for opposition movements to resist the temptation to exaggerate the individual role of President Mugabe to the detriment of a focus on social and economic justice.
In South Africa, vilification of President Zuma often has the paradoxical effect of strengthening his hard-line support, especially when critics resort to racist and colonial tropes. More important, it is often forgotten that the politics of patronage, exemplified by Mr. Zuma’s dubious financial dealings with the Gupta family, is not limited to the president but is widely shared within the A.N.C. As the political analyst Stephen Friedman argues, patronage is so central to the party’s political machinery partly because most black South Africans are locked out of the white-dominated economy. Often, their only access to wealth is through political networks.
More than anything, Zimbabwe teaches us that if the South African people’s legitimate demands for land and wealth redistribution remain unaddressed for too long in the post-apartheid era, it will take only the right political entrepreneurs to cynically capitalize on a hollow rhetoric of “radical” and “revolutionary” demands to consolidate power in the face of widespread dissent. Like the A.N.C., Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF long prevaricated on these historic issues central to the liberation struggles. It was only when Mr. Mugabe was losing political ground and international credibility that his party appeared to rediscover its revolutionary roots.
What we are witnessing now in South Africa is not so much a matter of an exceptional, corrupt president as the surfacing of contradictions that were inherent in the negotiated settlement. The longer these stay unresolved, and subject to cynical manipulation, the worse the consequences could be. What will determine whether South Africa can escape the “Zimbabwe complex” is its ability to confront the inequity that was the legacy of the political settlement that ended apartheid.
Chigumadzi is the author of the novel “Sweet Medicine” and the forthcoming book of essays “Beautiful Hair for a Landless People.”