Concerns over Basotho violence

By: Public Eye Reporter
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Basotho residing in Mangaung were last week urged to desist from gangsterism and killing each other. Basotho have for a long time been involved in bloody fights among each other over the wearing of traditional blankets whose different colours represent specific groups of the different Famo music artistes.

The killings and rivalry among the music groups have dogged the mountain kingdom over time and have spilled into South Africa, especially in the Free State where sizeable communities of Basotho are found.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tlohang Sekhamane, described the spate of violence which people from Lesotho who reside in Bloemfontein are involved in as unfortunate.

He was addressing thousands of the Basotho people last Sunday during a joint initiative between the South African government and that of Lesotho to ensure that there was proper documentation in the form of identity documents and other permits.

"It is really disturbing to us as your leaders and the entire Basotho nation to hear that you are attacking and killing each other here in Bloemfontein. We know that it is not all of you but this is not the kind of news that we are happy to hear from our fellow leaders in South Africa," said Sekhamane.

He said upon further investigation, it has been established that the Basotho people are in conflict as to who should or should not wear certain colours of blankets and listen to certain music of various artistes.

"There are other ways that you can resolve your issues not by killing each other and, sadly, many of you when you die, we need to ensure that we follow proper channels in repatriating your bodies back home and it is a costly exercise as there are processes to be followed," he added.

Sekhamane said as Lesotho officials, they have in the past held various meetings with their citizens in order to control the situation but the rate at which the matter was resolved is not up to expectation and there is still a lot of work to be done to bring an end to the killings.

Although there are no exact figures released in terms of the number of killings that have occurred so far, in 2015 only Public Eye has published stories of at least six murders which include incidents that happened in Bergman Square, where two died and another in Rocklands where three died after a group of men stormed at a fruit and vegetable market and opened fire.

It is believed that some of the killings could be prevented if there were enough organisations that cater for Basotho where there will be monthly meetings to discuss issues that can sometimes lead to violence.

In the light of this, the minister pleaded with Basotho to approach his office to give suggestions and input to put matters under control, especially since they were in another country with different laws.

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