photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
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November 1997


Only some of the interview was taped, which is unfortunate as the narrator has some interesting things to say. He talks a lot about what the impact of moving will have on the village - loss of cooperation etc. The irony is that that it is a relatively fertile valley, and even produced surplus harvests. He is very concerned about what will happen to the graves, particularly those older ones that are unmarked. His suggestion is to make one central grave to commemorate all those whose burial sites are not known exactly. The villagers have been unable to agree. It seems that the unity that once existed has begun to erode with the uncertainty bout their future, where they will go, and what they will get as compensation.

He makes a powerful statement about how the greatest loss to them will be the wisdom and knowledge of their land, which they have accrued over time.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1-2  Family and settlement details (a bit confusing), five children. Wife teaches at the school. Went to school briefly; was not circumcised Has cattle but no sheep. Used to work in the mines.
Section 3  Life in the past: “Life here was still very good because, well, we did not even know hunger.” Patterns of grazing. Animals used to eat the crops, therefore had to move them to higher animal posts Life as a herdboy; the men he worked with. Co-operation with neighbouring villages, even when stealing has taken place; “We sometimes quarrel like that but there’s no fighting and spilling of blood
Section 4  Fertility of area. Has one field and share-cropping with “the old people here or … people who do not have cattle. Or those who are needy in the hands like the handicapped
Section Section 5-6  Leaving the village: anxiety about how the mutual support system will work and what will happen to the graves. Community takes care not to bury the dead in wet and muddy areas. Problems of moving graves: not knowing precisely where everyone is buried; no unity about what to do. Proposes a central site for all unknown graves. Cites similar example of need for communal grave after a mine explosion when identification of individual dead was not possible.
Section 7  Loss involved in leaving the area: “The things which are going to be lost are many, because according to a person’s being familiar where you are at a place, the wisdom of living in that area will be lost to you.” Loss of knowledge of wild vegetables and medicinal plants. Location of village: “In the middle of the mountains you find a beautiful village, which is very appealing…You see this valley is beautiful, ntate. Even you, when you arrive, you see that this land is a special mountainous area.” Area protected from snow and frost.
Section 8  Road building. Witchcraft. Wild animals. Protected species: “Now these steenboks and these bucks they are the ones that we protect a lot so that they should not be shot at, just like a lot of people have bought guns from the government.” [Interviewer stopped recording at this point]