MP warns on ceremonies interfering with farming
by Arnold Letsholo
As the ploughing season is approaching, farmers have been advised not to compromise farming with ceremonies.
The call was made by the Member of Parliament for Kweneng South East, Mmoloki Raletobana, recently. He was giving a key note address during a Kweneng South horticultural exhibition in Gabane.
“The government is trying its level best to support small farmers by supplementing crops and fertilizers. From there the same government again purchases produce from the fields, such as water melons and others. But young farmers still fail to cash in on this. Why? I know that many of you here did not cash in on the initiative of selling farm produce. This is because moisture evaporated while you were preparing for your children and relatives’ children’s weddings,” he said.
“True that,” said a female voice from his audience of farmers. It is common practice that at the end of the winter season wedding invitations start circulating among villagers in Gabane. It usually takes months and sometimes years to prepare for a wedding. Consultations are made between in-laws. As part of the process the groom is sometimes required, especially those who marry outside, to buy some garments for his in-laws. The number of garments differs from one tribe to another. And this is exclusive of the bride price. This leads to lengthy discussions and negotiations.
The rainy season comes and goes when the process is on-going and often the soil’s humidity goes before the process ends. By the time the aunt who should lead part of the negotiations finishes her task, other farmers, who did not partake in the processes, will have utilized the humid soil.
“As I am addressing you now, I already have a handful of invitation cards. Who should I turn down? The first rains will soon start but almost every weekend from September there is a wedding celebration. When are people going to plough? Are you going to miss the benefits availed by the government again just because you would not miss the wedding of so and so?” asked Raletobana.
He jokingly said some would be running after marriage celebrations, plough when rains have reduced, get poor harvest and start blaming so and so for bewitching them.
Apparently in the past there used to be seasons at which marriage celebrations were ‘opened for’-meaning people could leave their farming areas, go home and celebrate weddings and all activities deemed ceremonial in the tribe. But since the tribe- comprising of related people and wards from the past- accepted cultures from outside of the village, this practice has since ceased to function.