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Vol 40 No 7

Published 2nd April 1999


Disunited kingdom

South Africa rescued the government but may have destroyed the nation

When they looted and burned businesses in the capital, Maseru, last September, Lesotho's young nationalists meant to protest against the 'protective' intervention in their country by South African soldiers, acting in the name of the Southern Africa Development Community. The unintended result was to weaken their own fragile state. To do their shopping now, people from Maseru travel 10 kilometres across the border to Ladybrand, a small South African town which is booming as a result of its neighbour's misfortune. When the National University of Lesotho held its graduation ceremony in November, the proceedings were broadcast in the Sesotho service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. One student won loud applause by castigating the government for 'surrendering' Lesotho to the South Africa National Defence Force, but met a deafening silence when he condemned the burning of businesses. He went on to ask three crucial questions:

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