If we go by the latest records of Lesotho, we would know that she was only 34 years old when she envisioned a future that would make her a proud 54 year old country today. At that age, still a youth by her own standards, she was full of both enthusiasm and courage like her peers around the globe. It is not surprising therefore that during that time, she envisioned herself in the next twenty years. According to her vision, “… by the year 2020, Lesotho shall be … at peace with itself and its neighbours … its environment well managed and its technology well established”.
Sadly, we are here in 2020, and it would seem the Lesupi scenario is upon us! We have a crumbling economy and governance system. We have unprecedented unemployment that is hugely affecting the youth, with #BachaShutdown signalling a need to urgently solve the youth unemployment crisis. We have a notable increase in crime, especially as it relates to women.In fact, in terms of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and femicide, Lesotho is currently ranking in the 6th position for having high murder rates globally (UNDOC 2017 Report). This is despite the fact that the country is affectionately touted peaceful and lauded for progressive legislative frameworks for women empowerment.
Given the state of affairs as reflected by the statistics, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we endeavour to ask ‘to what extent can we say satisfactory levels of human development have been achieved in the country?’ Varied interventions that are being carried out have fallen short of identifying the real sources of the turbulence that exists within the society. The team of Nketjoane Mohloling finds it imperative to work at finding these real sources with openness. We will endeavour to use different art forms such as poetry, drama, storytelling, visual arts etc. as strategies that will guide the process. The team believes that the Arts can play a major role in building a prosperous nation where men and women peacefully coexist.
As our point of departure, understanding that we need to take a creative journey towards the Melupe scenario—the joyful scenario of peace and prosperity—we believe it is indeed vital for us to reflect on the Vision 2020. However, we should not do this by avoiding centring issues of gender. For us, this is because the failure to critically analyse why this vision has not been achieved in the gender sphere will only enable the persistence of more acts of violence against women—a clear indicator of non-peaceful coexistence of men and women.
Further, and most importantly, it will lead to us forgetting that the sanctity of the vision document was sanctioned with a prelude of a “Royal Clarion Call for Unity”. Us, Basotho, In Lesotho and Diaspora uniting in different areas of our lives for prosperity and peace. United to mend the broken promises that have brought us to the unfortunate scenario of lesupi, which based on the idiom: ‘Ntlo e itoantšang e fetoha lesupi’ means we cannot continue to take unity for granted. We must commit to a journey to seek answers from the source, with our first port of call being to end violence. As such, we all need to think through how, for example, in these 16 Days of Peace (aka 16 Days of Activism against GBV), we can join hands together as Basotho and the world to end GBV. controls-forw