Let’s return to Masimo economy

16th March 2017
The Fireplace
Column

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By Matshediso Fologang -


This past Saturday I once again spent the night at the usual Motswere tree. I sat by the fire and could not help but go back some 50 or so years.

Old memories came back to flood my mind. As I sat there alone I reminisced about those yesteryears when this place would have been full of life. This place and the neighbourhood would have been alive with every family sitting around the fireplace. This is the period in our seasons known as Letlhafula.

This is the period of joy and contentment.As I sat there a distance to the south west I could hear the croaking of multitudes of frogs and the loud baying of the blue-back jackal. I felt like a young man and wished my age mates were around so that we could like in years past go to sit around the fire in some home to share the produce from the fields.

I recalled the adventures we had then, when, despite the abundant and plentiful sweet reed, maize, water melons in every field of the clan farms (masimo) we would go at night to steal these from other masimo.  This was done by boys. Why we did it I will never know. It was just being boys and trying to show who could bring more loot.

I recall stories told of some fields protected by big snakes. The snakes were supposedly meant to stop anybody from stealing but we the “brave” defied the snakes. There were many stories of other such protective and preventive measures field owners used to repel thieves.

Despite our adventurous nocturnal invasions of these fields, I must confess there were some that were never raided as they were owned by people known in the community as traditional doctors or those of their close relatives. Despite our being just naughty and adventurous we were also strong believers in the powers of the traditional doctors. This was part of our upbringing.

As I enjoyed the fire under my Motswere tree this Saturday,  there were no other fires in the neighbourhood. The place looked like a new place than the one I grew up in. I wondered about this part of our socio-economic development. Very few people are found in masimo nowadays. Here a few fields have been ploughed and the produce is not so good.

Sadly those who had planted maize have their crop invaded by the bull worm or whatever it is called. The harvest might not be good and if my age mates were here we would have less to help ourselves with. This time there is little expected in the coming harvest period.

I then thought deeply that perhaps this way our ancestors were showing concern that we have abandoned their fields. In my youthful days the process of ploughing and the masimo economy involved all and sundry. The youth were part of the agricultural sector and fully involved in food production. We have cut our connection with masimo. Majority of our young ones have no connection with the masimo economy For how long?




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