The official opening of the Leuna Lechesa Building



Article for "Lesotho Today" by Tjotjela mor'a Moshapela-Cell. 5885 3135

A school, in my formative years of life, was a place for knowledgeable TEACHERS to load ignorant young MINDS with KNOWN knowledge. Bring an EMPTY container and I'll demonstrate the gist of what went on between my TEACHER and ME. Make sure the container is empty, but for air. Then fill it to the brim with, say, a mixture of maize, corn, potatoes, vegetables and fruits, and all that soused in pork gravy. You'll graduate as being knowledgeable in "NYULA" in the language of Mampondo. Granted that you'll be better loaded rather than be empty-headed! Some people loaded in this manner make highly competitive horticulturists. Many others, I bet, must get muddled up and confused in life.

Until the advent of the DIGITAL REVOLUTION, education was a universal factory for the REPRODUCTION of human heads in which KNOWN facts of life were stored. Like plants, birds, mammals, insects, fish, chiropters and creepers, we humans were mentally patterned like you programmed a COMPUTER. Our natural endowment in CREATIVE THINKING was, thus, under-used, undeveloped and unused. Right up to now, an overwhelming majority of mankind is satisfied to be INSPANNED like draught-drawing oxen. A handful of men and women of artistic and intellectual talents in span and drive us into REPRODUCING the known THINGS in our heads of minds and passive thoughts. We take pride in our becoming nothing more than CARBON COPIES, in content, instead of wielding our natural creative powers. Dependence on others and, or money or COMPUTERS make perpetual beggars out of us. We sing songs the FREEDOM, which we fear, dislike and avoid. Like babies, we like being fondled, nursed and teased.

And what has "CREATIVE LEARNING" got to do with our state of KNOWLEDGELESSNESS?

Ignorance floods our path through life with deceitful Preachers, dreamy Thinkers, drugged Physicians, immoral citizens, self-righteous impressionists, materially corruptible leaders and anti-social characters in our society. It is extremely COSTLY to govern IGNORANT citizens. Copycats might just be tolerable, where Orwellean automatons might be better substitutes to BRAINLESS and HEARTLESS but technically efficient Cybernetics.

The REMEDY is to be found in "CREATIVE LEARNING." How, but not what that entails is a question that activated Leuna Lechesa and Gerard Mathot. Lechesa is a Mosotho of Lesotho, and Mathot is a Philosopher in Pedagogy from Holland. Ten-odd years ago, Lechesa and Mathot, under the moral support and guidance of Prof Z.A.Matsela, founded the "SELIBA SA BOITHUTO," or, I dare say, "The Spring of Creative Learning" in Maseru. This was an answer to the age-old phenomenon of PASSIVE learning, the purpose of which was to render Basotho barely LITERATE enough to read the Holy Scriptures, on one hand, and cultivate a crop of literate - albeit in Sesotho initially - a crop of administrative and shop CLERKS, plus interpreters for civil and criminal courts. The market for knowledgeable Basotho was narrow, thin and flat.

The Hon. Minister K. Tsekoa of Education and Training spared no adjective in his praise of "SELIBA SA BOITHUTO" on 28-01-OS when it was officially opened for the SELF-TAUGHT LEARNERS. He was partly responding to a question that lingered in the minds of many a listening parent and patron alike. "How can an ignoramus bestow KNOWLEDGE upon him or herself?" is the crucial question in mind. "How" is a cultural concept for a METHOD, in this case, of acquiring knowledge of the unknown THINGS and BEINGS? A method is suggestive of HOW you get to know what you don't know. You have (1) an innate or conceptual knowledge which, in a way, implies that NATURE has PROGRAMMED you; (2) then life drills you through a perceptive world of experience; (3) finally you (a) discover, (b) invent and make mental and tangible goods and services through self-exertion in CREATIVE thinking and LEARNING. As such, you are not being SPOON-FED! "You don't easily forget that which you yourself have envisioned, thought up, discovered or CREATED," so reflected M. Raboko, a former "Creative LEARNER" at SSB, who has emerged a proud successful business enterpriser.

My nicknamed "Spring of Creative Learning" is, if I must divulge the secret behind it, is PEDAGOGIC CO-OPERATIVE FOR LEARNING. Mathot is an emulator of the former Monsignor Ivan Illich and Archbishop Paolo Freire, and whose public lectures Tsokolo `Muso attended in Scandinavia and Austria. These world renown Sociologists did inspire both Dr Mathot and `Muso. The latter initiated the founding of the LESOTHO ACADEMY OF ARTS. "Senohe ha se rorisoe mapatlelong a habo sona," so says the old Sesotho wisdom.

SSB results from a collaborative self-exertion by Lechesa, Matsela, Peter Hancock, Mrs Pam Pokane and, through over ten years of its existence, the moral encouragement and material contributions made by the local and foreign-based FRIENDS of "SELIBA SA BOITHUTO" Mrs Pauline and her best-half, Mr Paul Kloters fed our minds and souls with messages of goodwill, God-speed and "happy landing" from their supportive countrymen in Holland. The maintenance of SSB and its sustenance is in the hands of Basotho.

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