May 23, 2022

Songs are the cause of hundreds of deaths

Music may be food for some, entertainment for others. Someone may once become a means of livelihood, the path of music. In this path there can be competition, rivalry. But it can sometimes take the form of sectarian warfare, which usually no one will remember. But that is what is happening in Lesotho, a country in the southern African monarchy. The controversy over star performers surrounding an exceptional harmonium-based music has turned the country into the murder capital of the African continent. A BBC report has come up with this story of bloodshed surrounding music.

“Maybe I survived as a woman,” said Puseletso Sima in a calm voice.

The shadow of his once strong voice in his soft voice. Thousands of fans from southern Africa and other parts of the world flocked to the beer halls and stadiums to hear his voice.

She is hailed as the queen of Lesotho’s popular music form. He is sitting on the verandah of his small cement block. He has no touch in the house of this artist who has achieved success in music year after year. “Everyone here wants to show their bravery by owning a gun,” he said.

Village after village of orphans in a once gentlemanly poem
Famo’s beginning as a musician is absolutely gentlemanly. It begins with the traditional hymns of the pilgrims. The song is sung to the tune of a concertina (a musical instrument) and later to a harmonium (accordion). The hymns were a lot like spontaneous folk poetry or rap. Such songs were sung by herdsmen when grazing animals for long periods of time, or by tourists while grazing in the mountains of Lesotho.

In 2004, a Famo musician was accused of shooting another man. From then on, the cycle of revenge and counter-revenge began.

The song begins with the ritual of insulting and humiliating the opponent. Many Famo musicians have been shot dead in the last two decades. The same fate befell hundreds of producers, fans and DJs and family members of musicians associated with this music.

One of the patrons of this music is Sebonomoya Ramainoyane. Explaining the nature of the atrocity, he said, ‘They came looking for you at home. He saw that you were not at home. They will kill your wife, they will kill your children. They will kill all the members of the family. Orphans now live in village after village because of this Famo music. ‘

Many have been forced to leave their homes for fear of their lives. Most of Lesotho is rural. The population of this country of fascinating beauty is about 20 lakhs. The landlocked country is bordered by South Africa. The country ranked sixth in the world in the number of homicides last year. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly.

“Jealousy is nothing but jealousy,” said Sima, explaining the beginning of the massacre. “When the artists started promoting themselves, they started singing insulting songs for others,” he said.

Growing up like most Famo stars, Seema had to struggle with poverty. He said, ‘I started singing from a very young age. I used to graze animals. It’s not the job of young girls. But I used to fight with the boys in the pasture. ‘

Sima left home in search of her own destiny. He sang to entertain thousands of people who had left Lesotho to work in gold and diamond mines in South Africa.

Famor originated in the middle of the twentieth century. The name is thought to have originated from the Lesotho language Sesotho ‘Wafamola’. The word is used to refer to the swinging or swaying of a skirt in the exuberant moments of women dancing to the beat of music.

Sima is good at dancing. He used to perform exercises with a traditional fighting stick while swinging his waist in a grass skirt. Strict-minded miners were also his visitors. He said, ‘They would be very happy. But they were afraid of me. They thought I would kill them. When I left the stage, I kept my face serious without looking around. No one would come near me. ‘

Sima encouraged Bereng Mazoro, a young native and one-time pastoralist, to come to music. On stage he is known as Lecase, which means ‘coffin’. He is now retiring. Lexus was sitting in his small house on the outskirts of Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. He said, ‘Singing means competition. Everyone wants to win. ‘

In both South Africa and Lesotho, Famo musicians and their fans are divided into several groups. Traditional blankets of special colors later separate themselves from each other. The color of the Terene group is yellow. It is one of the largest group. The colors of the Sikh group’s blankets are akashi and black. The artist of this group in Lecce.

When one of the co-stars was threatened, Lexus went into hiding. Although he was living in South Africa at the time. He kept a gun with him all the time. He did not answer questions about whether he had killed anyone. Laugh and avoid the question. But Lecase said, ‘I fought back. Because, when I see someone burying and find out he was killed by another group, I get angry. I have to take revenge for this. ‘

The cause of the murder when the song Kali
Famo artist Salope Mohlobuti was the victim of a retaliatory attack back in Lesotho. In 2010, he was shot dead in his secluded home in the hilly Matelile district. In his last song, he slammed the killers of another musician, saying, ‘Little kid.’ That artist was his cousin. He was also killed in this song.

Malefetsan, Solap’s son, is now 18 years old. He kept the song on his mobile phone as a memory of his father. However, the young man’s comment, rather than being a musician, he wants to be a pastoralist. Malefetsane said, ‘I don’t listen to this song very much. Because, its words are very provocative. It’s all about murder. I don’t want to get involved. This song killed my father. ‘

However, some artists like Seema have distanced themselves from the violence. He said the song never insulted anyone. Sima said, ‘I have sung about everything in my life. About my marital life and when my family breaks up. I also sang about the failures of my married life. ‘

Sepang Makakole, presenter for Mo-Africa FM, said anyone involved with Famo was at risk. Even DJs have been killed. “When you’re on the radio, you have to make sure all the songs are performed,” he said. If you leave out a group song, they will say, you don’t like us. Then they will shoot you. ‘

Although now murder is no longer limited to music. Famo groups are also fighting for control of South Africa’s lucrative illegal gold mines. Their fans work in these mines. Last Christmas, miner Cello Tao came to Lesotho after three years to see his wife and two young sons. A few days later, he was shot dead along with three other guests at a New Year’s Eve party.

The idea of ​​Taut’s friends is that he was killed for leaving the party. Because, he went to another with his earnings from a Famo group controlled mine. Three more people were killed the same week. It is believed that these are also Famo-related killings.

Weapons go from the police
Angered and terrified by one attack after another, the villagers staged a protest rally. Many people have left their homes because of these murders. A local headman said he had received death threats for protesting the violence. Many complained that the police had failed to protect them. There are also allegations against the police for colluding with these miscreants.

Last November, 65 guns were lost from a police station in the center of Mafeteng district. Deputy Foreign Minister Maimana Mafathe told the BBC that officials had sold the weapons to Famo groups. Tanki Mothai, a senior police official, said the allegations were being investigated against several officers on duty. “The government has adopted a zero tolerance policy on police involvement in criminal activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the closeness of various Famo music groups with politicians is long-standing. Terene is one of the biggest and scariest Famo groups. The leader of the group, Tei Sehlana, was the driver of a Home Ministry vehicle until his death earlier this month.
Sehlana was nominated as the successor by Mosotho Chakela, one of the best Famo stars who founded Teren. Although Sehlana herself is not a musician. He denied that the group was a criminal entity earlier this year. He claimed that it was a funeral home. Its members work to raise funds for the funeral.

Sehlana also denied ever ordering anyone to be killed. “As a party leader, we are trying to stop these killings,” he said. Sometimes I just can’t keep up. Because, our members say, when we are attacked, we can’t just stare. ‘

Lesotho Deputy Foreign Minister Mafathe said the ministry had given Sehlana a job in the hope of improving the situation. Because, maybe if some of these people are given a job, the rest will also understand the importance of getting a job. He hoped that they would work hard to help the government stop these killings. But Sehlana was the victim of this violence.
He was shot dead by an unidentified gunman on April 2 at a concert organized by a political party. The attacker is thought to be a member of Teren’s rival group. Sehelana later died at the hospital.

Sehelana’s followers arrested several people on suspicion of assault and handed them over to police. However, the police released the suspects without bringing any charges. However, police say they are still investigating.

Panta runs out to bring the salt of a one-time star
Once upon a time, Famo star Lexus wanted to avenge every murder. Annoyed by the violence, he recently quit singing. “I am shocked and outraged at the people who have pushed me to become a singer,” Lecase said. I have never fought before, no one has ever fought with me. But now that I’m a singer, I’ve made a lot of enemies. ‘

Lecase is now living a modest life in his small home. His source is a small maize field and some chickens. The companion is a large tortoise.

Now the Famo Concert is not organized as much. Such arrangements are considered very risky. “They destroyed our business in the sabotage,” said Sima, 63, of Famo Rani.

Despite her success in music, Sima’s life is miserable. None of his three children survived. One dies at birth. One died of an illness. Another was killed by his partner. He also fell prey to robbers for his own fame. They stole many of his assets, including his favorite harmonium and most of his own music CDs.

He asked Sima to show the dance to her three grandchildren. It is as if his lost past is recaptured, albeit a little. Due to rheumatic disease, she can no longer dance like that. Puseltso Sima said: ‘It’s like rocking the waist and twisting the shoulders. I am the one who introduced this dance. No one can dance like me. ‘

Sima is struggling to raise her grandchildren and some local orphans. “If I still had my musical instrument, we wouldn’t have a gas crisis, we wouldn’t run out of food,” he said. They got everything they needed in life. ‘
Like his one-time disciple and co-star Lecas, Sima is also regretting getting involved in music. “It simply came to our notice then. Some of us made a living by relying on music. But now we have to bring salt. I’m a star musician, but I have nothing to say. Famo music has broken my heart. ‘