photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
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November 1997


Laurent was interviewed twice: see Lesotho 8b.

The translation of this interview is sometimes awkward but it does cover several topics of interest. The narrator worked in the South African mines to gain independence from his family, although he later had to give up because of (unspecified) ill health. He talks about his area and his reasons for returning: he liked herding animals.

The main part of the interview is about the LWHP. In contrast to many other narrators, he is in some ways quite positive about the move, and about the area he is going to. This seems largely because he has relatives there who have some land. He wants to sell his animals and buy a tractor. Presently he cultivates cannabis, but he will lose this important source of income as a result of moving. He feels he has not received enough compensation as he will not have as much land in the new place, and will either have to share or rent fields. He thinks his children will suffer more. With land, they all had a degree of self-sufficiency – his children will have to find jobs and earn money for food, no longer able to grow it. He mentions some of the chiefs but his feelings are not entirely clear.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Two sons and four daughters. His father originally moved to the area because he needed land to cultivate in order to eat. Left the village to work in mines in South Africa; left due to ill health.
Section Section 1-2  Went to school briefly – left first to herd and then to go to the mines. Went back to the highlands because he had animals and wanted pasture. Used both local and European doctors but European doctors required payment in cash and were difficult to get to (on horseback). Income from selling wool from their goats and sheep.
Section 3  Would like his children to go to school but cannot always afford fees; presently trying to sell a calf. Marriage. Payment of bridewealth still customary. Entertainment while growing up – playing football.
Section 4  Nowadays people drink alcohol. Why he liked herding: “I liked animals. I felt that I liked them.” Likes the mountains: “If I leave this area, there is no other place that I like; all these streams, I know them.” Has been to see the area where they will move to, but new house is not yet built. Livestock theft is very bad locally; “Theft here has finished us in this area, we have nothing left.” Has lost interest in herding (because of the impending move?) and wants to sell his livestock to buy a tractor; feels this will enable him to make a living.
Section 5  The different local chiefs and how they rule: “sometimes you will find that he oppresses you”. Lack of development in area – no roads, no water.
Section 6  Crops, especially maize. Crop pests – first appearance this year. Importance of cannabis for cash income. Why he wanted to go to the mines: “I should work for myself and I should not expect my parents to provide for me.”
Section Section 6-7  Choice of place to move to – somewhere with fields that he’ll be able to plough. Has relatives in the new area, and knows it a bit already, therefore relatively positive: “In this place I did not have feelings of moving away altogether.” Income will be affected because can’t cultivate cannabis. Consulted his children about the move but they left decision to him.
Section 8-9  Optimistic that “bury-me-shilling” association will continue. Complains about inadequacy of compensation. Feels his children have lost out, been “betrayed”, and will have difficulties earning a living: “The children of my children will be born when [the compensation] is already finished. Even these ones of mine, they will grow up when it is already finished.”