photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
community activities

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introducing the area

employment and income

 quotes about employment and income
 key testimonies featuring employment and income

Largely self-sufficient in food, fuel and building materials, the people of Molika-liko have only a few requirements that need to be paid for in cash. Experience of employment has in the past been largely limited to working in the South African mines, which paid relatively "good" money. But this option is no longer available, and nowadays growing and selling cannabis is the most important source of cash income (see Economics). There is little detail about other marketing activities but the main items sold are wool and mohair, home-brewed beer, aloe, grain (any surplus from the harvest), and products made from grasses, such as mats, hats, ropes and brooms. Even though many people in the village sell cannabis or their surplus crops, people do not sell collectively or set a price for the whole village for fear that they may price themselves out of the market.

Many narrators complain that LHDA failed to provide local people with employment, even temporary work. Most people employed by LHDA are from outside the region, One narrator laments: "We are told these people are experts.. Our people here are just sitting and watching." (Lesotho 23).

Some narrators derive an income from providing practical services. Skills mentioned are repairing radios and building/roofing houses. It is recognised that people with non-agricultural skills such as these will be a step ahead when relocated to other areas where they may have no land, and will need to get waged work to survive. The spectre of unemployment and being idle worries people who are used to providing for themselves. One man says "[After relocation] I will remain thinking about ploughing, because when I am in another place there will be nowhere where I will plough..And then it will be that I am that man who just sits.I am just sitting, and then it will happen that I will change and will end up stealing, as a result of thinking too hard about this employment of my home area here. That is the thing which will remain there in this heart of mine." (Lesotho 13)

Those who have experienced urban life, and feel they could turn their hand to different jobs, are somewhat more optimistic but most are apprehensive about the anticipated change from independent subsistence formers to employment-seeking labourers. In the words of one: "...chasing around [for jobs] and getting used to looking for jobs is another long job" (Lesotho 17b).

quotes about employment and income

"I even prefer to sell cannabis than to work in the mines because I get a lot of money from it. I know for sure that if I can sell two bags of cannabis I will be able to pay school fees for my kids and still have something left for maintaining the family."
Thabang, M/57, Lesotho 2

"We were also promised to get jobs during construction of roads and others. But people from Ha Mohale, Jordan, Sequnyane and Bokong have been employed by the contractors and yet they are not going to be resettled while we and those to be affected by the dam are not employed."
Thabang, M/57, Lesotho 2

"The life of [the lowlands] is heavy [.]. You live by going to work time - even if you do not like [it] you go down [to work]. Even when it rains, whether it is cold, whether it is hot, you [have to go] to work. If you do not go to work you do not have the means to eat."
Mokete, M/64, Lesotho 11

key testimonies featuring employment and income

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   1   Lipholo   male/67   farmer/basketmaker   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   12   Maseipati   female/elderly   farmer   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   19   Nathnael   male/61   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   2   Thabang   male/57   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   20   Motseki   male/    farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   21   ’Mepa   male/50s   farmer/chief   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   24   Khethisa   Male/40   lethuela (traditional doctor)   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   25   Thabo   male/   farmer   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   26   ’Mampaleng   female/78   L   Ha ’Mamokoluoa  
Summary Transcript   7   Tlali   male/elderly   farmer   Ha Tsapane