Majalle Majalle – Lesotho

Majalle Majalle – Lesotho

Date: September 14, 2015
  • SHARE:

A sea change in the mountains

He could not stop laughing when he recalls how rude he was when the district gender officer, Nthatisi Matobako, visited them to introduce the centres of excellence (COE). Cllr Majalle mentioned that he did not want to hear anything about gender issues as he held the view that gender was against men, but he had to attend the meeting. To his surprise the meeting was very brief and helpful.

Cllr Majalle was born and grew up in Thaba Tseka, one of the mountainous districts of Lesotho. Since he is the eldest in the family he did not finish school and dropped out. He was forced to drop out of school so that he could help his father financially. There were seven children in their family, only two boys and five girls and therefore he had to make sure that his siblings went to school. It did not matter that he had to drop out of school because, as the elder son, he felt obliged to take care of his sisters. He went to the Lesotho Highlands water project to look for work and he was hired. He was the youngest boy in the company and many people mocked him as they did not understand why such a young boy was working in a so-called ‘difficult’ job which they believed only mature men could survive. It did not bother him at all because he knew what he wanted.

He worked there almost all his life, only visiting home at month end and his siblings were able finish their schooling. After some time he decided to go back home as he felt that he had accomplished his mission and when he got home he started farming and was helping community members to take part because he realised that most people were unemployed and it was very difficult for them to help their families. He would attend different forums so as to learn about professional farming and when he came back from the forums he would try to assist people as much as possible. As he was helping people and appeared to be a very nice and helpful person, he started to hear a lot about gender issues from the Ministry of Gender in the district. He was not at all interested and did not want to hear anything because he had once attended a public gathering that was organised by the Ministry of Gender. He had misunderstood them and came to the conclusion that gender was about allowing women to disrespect their husbands and it was all about women, which he found very unfair because he felt that men also need to be empowered.

At the time of the 2012 local government elections his community encouraged him to stand for his political party in the polls. He was so excited and so looked forward to this new venture. He told himself that once he won the polls he would not allow anybody near their council to talk about gender issues. So basically he did not want anything to do with gender, Cllr Majalle laughs when he recalls how difficult he was. He won the elections and he was elected as the chairperson of the council and not long after that they received an invitation letter from Gender Links (GL) requesting a management meeting to introduce the COE stages 1 and 2. He confessed that he wanted to decline the invitation but thought it might be stupid to decline and decided that he should give GL a chance to come and see what they had to offer. The meeting was conducted by the district gender officer in Thaba Tseka and from that day he was already a changed man. He was looking forward to attending the inception workshop.

Cllr Majalle mentioned that he enjoyed the workshop so much that he wanted everybody to change their attitude and he was very keen on knowing more about key gender concepts and leadership. He said that it was difficult when he had to go to the public and share information because some of the community members were very difficult as they did not understand the issues and it was even more difficult because he used to be just like them and they wondered how come he had changed all of a sudden. Cllr Majalle confessed that he understood the concept of gender very quickly did not regret it as he can see that his life has transformed very well. Cllr Majalle continued to have public gatherings in the different villages as he wanted at least half the people who did not want anything to do with gender to understand and change their attitudes towards it. Cllr Majalle was fortunate enough to attend the first Lesotho district summit and he said he was able to see things differently and was able to understand gender issues even better.

He told his council secretary that he was going to change and for the better. He said the secretary could not believe it as she knew how difficult and stubborn he was then, but he knew that he meant everything that he said. Cllr Majalle is working very hard in his village to change men who are just like he was in the past. He is working to change their attitudes. He says that it is quite a challenging task as most of the men are very difficult but that does not bother him that much because they remind him so much of himself and that gives him even more strength to help them.

In his village he is a role model, especially amongst the women whose partners he managed to change. He highlighted the fact that it is not easy as some people say he had become more like a woman, but that does not really bother him because he wants to see his village change and for the better. He is working very hard with other councillors to see that gender issues are given a high profile in the council and so far he has seen amazing support from a few councillors even though some are still reluctant. He gets a lot of support from the council secretary and the Gender Ministry in the district and he is looking forward to changing more people’s attitudes.



2 thoughts on “Majalle Majalle – Lesotho”

Comment on Majalle Majalle – Lesotho

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *