photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
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lethuela (traditional doctor)






detailed breakdown

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Section 1-2  Personal and family history. Children – six surviving out of eight. His betrothal and marriage. All his children are at school, except two who are herdboys.
Section Section 3-4  His brothers’ and sisters’ work (two brothers work in the mines) Agriculture: “…crops – maize, wheat, peas, and others – we are able to have in abundance”. Selling surplus crops and wool/mohair. Also sell animals when need to raise some money for the family, but he does not have many (only ten).
Section 4  Life as a boy – herding, drinking milk straight from the cow, collecting wild plants; no proper schooling. Wild plants are still available and there are boys who still know about them.
Section 5-6  Initiation – changes in customs, especially higher fees: “They now simply consider what you have in hand. If you are well to do, he will charge you one hundred and something. Perhaps that is just for the scarification. After this you will probably be charged a further two hundred rands, explanation being that it is for firewood.”
Section 6  Sickness as a boy: ‘The head swelled and became thus big …After that I showed signs of an insane person.’ Details of how he was treated: ‘With this goat he purified me. That is to say in the manner of taking the bile’. Unwilling to go into too much detail about “sethuela” practices.
Section 7-8  Digging medicinal herbs and treating people. Brief explanation of his practices. Does not make animal sacrifices. Traditional feasts and dancing.
Section 9-10  Pastures reduced because of increase in arable farming. Herbs that can be found here but not in other parts of Lesotho: Khonathi (edible root used to treat barrenness for women); spiral aloe. Controlled collecting of plants to ensure species survive. Abundance of food in the area; occasional overflowing of rivers.
Section 10-11  His views on resettlement: “It seems to us that the promises we have been made are not going to be kept.” Benefits of the area: “we never find ourselves in any difficulties since this land of ours provides us with everything”. Problems over compensation. Choice of places to move to: ‘We have opted to choose places where we might perhaps find it possible to live as we had at our former places.’
Section 12  Examples of promises to others that have not been kept: amounts of money, quantity and quality of grain, wells. Problems with new houses due to poor construction. Being told not to plough some of his land.
Section 13-14  Problems in determining value of fields – measuring size rather than yield: ‘Let the “acre” be understood in its Sesotho sense and not in the white man’s sense…. . It should not be handled in the white man’s way. It would cheat us terribly.’