A touching and tragic love story

Book: Pelong ya Lerato

Book: Pelong ya Lerato

Author Teboho Letshaba

Publisher: Maskew Miller Longman

Reviewer: Boitumelo Tshehle

Grade 11 Sesotho pupils can now learn more about their own social and cultural issues through a book written by one of their own.

Pelong ya Lerato, Sesotho for Loving Heart, will be introduced to pupils next year. The book will be prescribed for grade 11 Sesotho literature.

The author, Teboho Letshaba, 25, says Pelong ya Lerato brings to the fore the whole issue of promiscuity in the era of the HIV-Aids scourge.

The book is about the life of a young man called Thabang. He is a wealthy businessman who sleeps around, though he is married to a beautiful woman, Sebolelo.

Thabang falls in love with a nurse, Palesa Lebajwa. Lebajwa works at the local clinic.

He boasts about his sexual prowess to his friend and business partner, Molefi.

Molefi tries to discourage him from having an extra-marital affair because he says it is not only immoral, but also affecting his commitment to work.

Thabang does not realise that by having unprotected sex he is putting his wife's life in danger. His careless behaviour results in him fathering a child with his mistress.

But Thabang denies that he is the father of Lebajwa's child. He accuses her of trying to use the baby to win his heart and ultimately force him divorce his wife.

The story highlights the behaviour of men who believe that, because they have money and other material possessions, they can have every woman they want.

But in Lebajwa's case, Thabang seems to have met his match. Lebajwa is a woman who believes she can beat a man at his own game.

The mind games lead to disastrous consequences - Thabang's wife is stabbed to death by his mistress.

The love triangle ending in tragedy resonates with headlines that we see in the media every day.

Letshaba's book attempts to portray modern life and its excesses as characterised by Thabang and his misadventures.

The author also touches on ilobolo, a touchy issue for many families.

Through this book Letshaba seeks to warn us that ignorance of one's culture can lead to gross misfortune.

He portrays this through an argument that ends up in a fight between Thabang's wife and his mistress.

During the fight Lebajwa stabs Sebolelo with a knife.

She is rushed to hospital by neighbours, who also tell her parents about the incident.

At the hospital doctors try to save her life, but fail.

Her parents are so aggrieved at the loss of their only daughter that they vow never to forgive Thabang for causing her death.

Says Letshaba: "Our culture is the torch that lights our path and helps to keep us on the right track so that we do not go astray.''