February 20, 2007


Rethabile offers a Prayer for Lesotho over at black looks. Which begins as such and one thinks that Lesotho lacks promise; maybe.

Dear Deity… now what? This country of about 2 million people, independent since 1966 from England, with a 30 to 35% rate of HIV infection, one nation with one language and one culture, with a lot of water to sell in the form of electricity or just plain water, this country with some of the biggest diamonds in the world, this country is one of the poorest countries in the world, this country that is often described as “tumultuous” when it comes to politics, has seen its sons and daughters die for it, this country called Lesotho, surrounded entirely by another country, having the highest low point of any country on the planet…

One reads his plea. How can one answer?

For crying out loud, Lord, I said it deserves a break. There’s a lot going for us — help us capitalise on our resources and on our identity and on our culture. Amen.

What of the African country that has undergone many changes since becoming free from colonialism, and now without any of the resources in its own hands? How does it build wealth and provide opportunity for all its citizens? There have been no models for this, since history has only provided us examples of exploitation playing an important role in the development of civilizations, empires and countries. I imagine smaller societies have achieved this, but their histories are left only for the anthropologist.

No, America is not a good model. For most of it history, slavery was a major factor of the economy; during the industrial revolution, there was the exploitation of the immigrants; and the farmers, the breadbasket, their land extricated by genocide.