The Sesotho novel, Manyekathipa, written by Kagisho Senkge Senkge, was launched at the Macufe Wordfest recently.
Dr Mathene Mahanke, deputy-director of the Language Services within the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation in the Free State, said: “The Sesotho novel that we are launching has been written by Kagisho Senkge Senkge, who died on 4 May 2013. The novel is based on the rural environment, ruled by the kings. People walked barefooted and fought with spears and knives. They used to get water from the fountains. We are fortunate to have among us Keketso Senkge, the daughter of the late novelist. She is accompanied by Jerrry Tsie and David Phetoe.”
Jerry Tsie from Letsema La Tsela Films from Pretoria in Gauteng said: “Greetings to the director of Heritage, Museums and Language Services, Dr Vincent Khetha; deputy-director of Language Services, Dr Mathene Mahanke; the staff of the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation and all the authors who are attending the Macufe Wordfest 2016. Next to me is the veteran actor, David Phetoe, who is the president of Letsema La Tsela Film.
“I become very emotional when I talk about the late Kagisho Senkge. He had several dreams, one of which was to have his novel published.When I met with the MEC of the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mathabo Leeto, in June 2015, I briefed her about the novel that Senkge wanted to publish while he was alive. She referred me to both Vincent Khetha and Mathene Mahanke, who supported the family of Senkge by publishing his novel. Thank you very much to all of them.
“The late Senkge also had a dream of building a house in Kroonstad for Mrs Senkge. We intend to build that house in November 2016.
While Kagisho Senkge was alive, he wanted to visit Singapore with his daughter, Kekeletso. In January 2017 we will visit Singapore together with her.
“In 2010 – 2011 we did a documentary film, Sipho Mutsi – The Barefooted Comrade, together with David Phetoe and Kagisho Senkge. The story was written by Kagisho Senkge, and the 94-minute film has been presented and narrated by David Phetoe. This film is a tribute to Sipho Mutsi, who died in detention at the Odendaalsrus Police Station on 5 May 1985, when he was 17 years old.”
Tsie further added: “We visited Thaba Bosiu in Lesotho for the first time together with Senkge. While I was doing a documentary about him at this mountain, I was surprised to see his face showing his happiness. He told me that the mountain was a religious place, the holy place of the Basotho nation. He said without Thaba Bosiu the Basotho nation or the Sesotho language could not have been. When we visited the Maletsunyane Waterfalls, Kagisho Senkge told me that Modimo (God) was present at the waterfall.”
According to Jerry Tsie, at church on Sundays, people who used to see him acting in television dramas ask him what he is doing since he was no longer acting. “We took a decision with Kagisho Sengke that we were not going to be part of processes designed to destroy black people. I say this because in this country we have settled for mediocrity. What you see on television is cut and paste, we are no more interested in the craft and quality.
“When excellency is unachievable, mediocrity becomes the barometer. We are in that space as a country where we settle for less. I am now working on a production of a painter of note, Motlhabane Mashiyamako, who died in 2010 in Mamelodi Kasi, in Pretoria. Many people in this country don’t know about him because the media does not assist in bringing forth knowledgeable people to lead.”
David Phetoe said: “We used to speak English with Kagisho Senge. It was not our mother language, it was the system that we were taught. He was the son of the universe, he was connected to African gods. He was very sincere and honest about what he was, what his people were, what the earth was and what the land was. Poetry came from his mouth. It was not only beautiful words, he believed in them. When we were doing a film of Senkatana in the mountains of Lesotho, we used to wash ourselves with the water from the mountains.
“Kagisho Senkge used to say we were blessed, because the water came from the gods of Africa. He believed that water is life. Without water from Lesotho, there is no life in Johannesburg. We believe that water is life, that is why we brought water from Lesotho. When we see water being wasted in the townships, some of us are hurt. We feel the pain, the distance and we long for the hospitality the Basotho nation showed us – that is life. Kagisho Senkge believed that water is life”. – Flaxman Qoopane