Critical distance affords those who watch unfolding events from a distance a vantage viewpoint. For the actors in the unfolded events only in hindsight can they make sense of the nexus of those events.
We were not actually sure but it was there, like a hunch that everybody feels at the same time but for lack of a firmer grasp of reality do not want to or cannot acknowledge what’s happening because time has yet to give the unfolding phenomena in front us a shape, a form. And perhaps, at a sympathetic level that is, everyone is hesitant to acknowledge what is happening because all are in it – all are in the box-set of a moment with no leeway for critical distance myopically. I saw it flush around on the faces of majita like a shadow of doubt or a bulb moment as the judgment was passed on by the principal (most of the time pronounced presbala) flanked by the Tight Three: SRC’s president, chairman of the SGB and Prime leader of the Educators. It was a disciplinary hearing and they were facing the rest of those attending the hearing in the staff hall. Our parents dotted that sea of attendees. On the opposite side with us sat our leader, head sunken to his barrel chest, I could not make out what was going on in his mind due to his sunken head and the fact that I beheld it oblique as I was sitting several people away on his left so the positioning of his face defied a reading. His mom sobbed silently while his dad sat unemotionally on the right hand side of the two rows of chairs separated by an isle facing the big boss and the rest of us. I come to think of it I never thought of him as a mama’s boy kinda of an ou. Clearly his pap could not care less. I laughed silently imagining how the old man was dragged from home to hear a stout baas’s case.
It was difficult watching the rest of the SRC’s piercing eyes stabbing at us through the still sea. My attention was arrested by one other person in the staff hall that morning, my grand mother. I mean she had all the hopes the Mampja family had vested in me and I had went ahead and dashed them in the dirt by my association with Kanda. Kanda was a third force inserted within Leshetla La Pele Student Leaders Council at the time that its radiance was brilliant. Over time through a calculated putsch the good guys were removed, tables turned and the modus operandi became bullying by any means necessary. After all wasn’t the Leshetla that had delivered the community of this our institute from corporal limitations of an evil system? Heh?
‘…By the mere act of bullying other kids within the confines of this prestigious school you have tarnished the image of the movement that was Leshetla. It has eroded and has become something else’ Said the principal (pronounced presbala naturally) in one of the parts that I managed to catch as my head spun with gnawing worry during the tribunal that would go on to define our schools socio political narrative when we were finally suspended.
(the reader can stop reading here or go on for some more syntactic theatrics)
‘When you were sworn in two years ago to bound your self to lead by light and courage not by fear and intimidation we were elated. But the tone changed as you began to push the lower grades out of your way during breaks or marches to the assembly and sending… tlick-click…(she snickered with a twang) you swore on oath that you will uphold the good character of this fine movement!’ Here the principal (sometime pronounced presbala, remember?) gave us a glittering snarling sweeping glare. Heaving her form she presently pressed on
‘…instead, whether from boredom or from pure opium of power, you send your appendages to confiscate by force lunch boxes, pocket money as well shoe wipers of the cowering little boys and girls of this fine institute, sometimes even blackmailing those in the same grade as you held a ruler to their neck
to do home work for you! They had no choice did they?’
Here the principal’s face saddened empathetically as if she herself had been a victim of such torture somewhere in her neatly folded past. My mouth devilishly watered from a memory insistence of a confiscate we did one time on one of the skaff tini luncheon our Master Kenzo directed us to take for our enjoyment from a little built lower grader. It was lekker delicious especially if you succeeded in ignoring the sobs of the victim while munching.
‘some of your victims would be those spotted chewing gum or slyly looking at their social media accounts by your minions who threatened to expose them if they did not comply with your dirty scams.’ She was now pacing left and right as she marched towards the finishing line of her ruling. Earlier, I forgot to mention, Our defender duly appointed by the Student Action Committee (StAC) had been floored and had failed to shield us from this oncoming ruling merely because his only argument was that we were entitled to all these privileges by the mere fact that we were leading Bowelaletšatši Institute forward. He was floored with a resound thud-thud. Presently he sat there awed by the regal presence of the principal riding atop a crest of a surprising lyricism as she finally gave her own verdict. Who would have thought. Members of StAC had failed us.
‘Wrong is wrong, therefore by the power vested in me by both the staff of this fine institute…’ she waved at the staff in the hall with her right hand and then the SRC representatives with her left hand ‘I find your actions and those of your outfit detestable and its poses grave danger to our community and has leads to the demise of a movement that has shaped this twenty something year old institute to be what it is. I do not have to wonder what the founding members of Leshetla would say if they had a live line to speak to us from retirement villages. All of you are hereby ordered to step down and be relieved of your responsibilities with immediate effect. You will be contacted in due course for your unique punishment.’ She concluded. I saw my grandmother’s eyes fall in disappointment. Only if she knew that I had seen this coming months ago, that long before the Leshetla outfit had lost it I became a mole for the SRC’s president and the principal (many times pronounced as presbala) and had sworn to bring Master Kenzo down.
The principal’s ruling will be like a cloth sated with a detergent to wipe the table top clean. It will clean us off the face of the school’s social fabric and I suppose I will be suspended like the others but perhaps not severely since I negotiated a brief suspension in exchange for prime intelligence. Yes I am an impipi and I know what happens to guys like me. we will get to that later,…maybe.
The ridiculed pseudo Leshetla outfit’s leader, properly speaking Master Kenzo picked his head majestically and sang ‘bazooker scatter the remnants of the enemy’ in defiance of the ruling and between the hails of song and dance ordered a briefing in the soon to be vacated chambers of Leshetla la Pele Student Movement. I felt like a captive stripped down and being led towards the dungeon, to keep face I joined the chant and sang ‘Bazooker scatter the remnants of the enemy’. I caught a knowing look in the eyes of our principal (observably always pronounced presbala) as we marched into the glare of that morning•
mmutle arthur Kgokong 2016