photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
lesotho
 
THEMES IN THIS TESTIMONY
Agriculture  
Community Activities  
Compensation  
Development  
Education  
Employment and Income  
Family Life  
Gender  
Justice and crime  
Land  
Livestock  
Social Institutions  
Spiritual Beliefs  

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Tlali

(LESOTHO 7)

Sex

male

Age

elderly

Occupation

farmer

Location

Ha Tsapane

Date

November 1997

summary

This is an interesting interview, although the translation makes it confusing in parts. The narrator describes how his family came to settle in the village and what it will mean to move. He does not want to leave. There is evidence of confusion and divisions within the communities as he believes some relocatees have been dealt with more favourably than others by LHDA officials. Such resentments, whether well founded or not, exacerbate the social disruption generated by resettlement. He talks about the impact of the project, how confused he feels about the compensation packages, and how long it will take before he receives any money. He thinks this will be all he has to live on, since they will not be able to before. He also believes they will have difficulties cultivating cannabis – which was sold to traders and which provided much needed cash – because the traders will no longer visit the new place. He talks a lot about the land and what it means to him.

The narrator talks a bit about working in the mines in SA, and is unclear as to whether he should be getting a pension as a result. He explains that working in the mines enabled him to support his family, although he regrets that he never bothered to get an education. At the time he did not see the point, but now feels this would have helped him a lot in life.

detailed breakdown

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Section Section 1-2  Personal details, born in the lowlands came to the mountains when about ten years old. Settlement and development of the village; mentions “the years of the dust” when the dust was so thick it blocked out the sunlight.
Section 3  He has two children, both married. Being a herdboy, detailed description of clothes worn
Section 4  Playing truant from school as a boy; now regrets being uneducated: “I see it that when you are carrying this book you are carrying money.” Changing views on initiation rites: “If you stayed without ho bolla (being circumcised), you could not even marry a woman… These days you marry these ma-kereke (church ones)
Section 5  Games played. Working in South African gold mines. Confusion about whether or not he is owed a pension. Reason for leaving.
Section 6  Returned from SA with a sewing machine to make clothes to sell (unclear as to how successful). Says money was the only thing he got from the mines that helped him and his family live.
Section Section 6-7  Diseases. Used to carry people to hospital on horseback. Traditional methods of healing. Sejeso – food poisoning by a person wishing to harm the victim – Europeans do not understand this illness. Types of food eaten. Varying size of harvests. Changing weather conditions: “The sun has changed. I do not know if it is an act of God; but it has changed against us.”
Section 8  Division of labour, men and women. Using animal dung as fuel for cooking. Animal theft – worse since the road was built by the project.
Section 9  Anger about the project: “We are being lied to and being told that we will get amazing wealth of bags and bags of money. I am saying that there is not even one who has got a cent.” Distinct feeling in the community that LHDA officials favoured the more educated over others.
Section 10  Why he likes the place: “What actually binds me to this place, I see that my animals thrive well.’ Complains about grazing restrictions. LHDA supposed to be providing kraals for the animals – not yet finished.
Section 11  Animal dung as fertiliser. Currently no co-operation between farmers, hopes they may reform and pull together after moving. Growing cannabis: fears the traders will not visit them in new location (too near the police? – but they are known to be implicated in the trade). Major economic loss.
Section 12-13  LHDA project: “They affect us by taking our lives away from us. Fields are our lives.” Need cash compensation because “I would not be ploughing…. I would just be sending a child to bring me paper (i.e. flour wrapped in paper) so that I can come and eat. It would be that I have to have that kind of money. Places that are sacred to him; leaving their ancestors behind and fear of retribution: “They (the dead ones) can strangle (smother) me because they would be saying I left them to be smothered by water.”