photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
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Ha Tsapane


November 1997


A longish interview with quite a few one-sentence answers when the narrator seems a bit bewildered at the questions. Despite this, it is a strong interview in which the narrator speaks movingly about her land and the impending move, and especially about being separated from those who look out for her – the informal support network. Her husband died recently and perhaps this has added to her sadness about moving. Some statements are almost biblical in their cadence and style, for example: “It will remain as a rock on my heart when I think of the place that I am being removed from”, and “Truly we do not know as to what caused these dams in the land of God

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Family details; two children – one migrated to lowlands.
Section 2-3  Moved to area due to marriage. Apprehension about moving elsewhere; contentment with where she is now: “Each and every single crop I was planting in my fields and I was living comfortably in this land where we are being removed from today.” Crops: peas, beans, wheat, maize, pumpkins, potatoes. Visits Maseru to see relatives but does not like it.
Section Section 4-5  Crops now being affected by drought. Rarely buys food - tends to just use maize Mixed use of Sesotho and European doctors. Have to pay European doctors in cash, whereas Sesotho doctors will accept a cow, for example, if there is no money. Making money from woven goods.
Section 6  Explains about grasses for weaving, weaving process, etc. Men weave hats. Her husband worked in the mines until injured, then wove hats.
Section 7  Didn’t go to school as her parents had no sons and she had to herd. Dancing and games: “We would ululate, men would dance and dart about.” Rain game: “It would just be joy.”
Section 8-9  Does not want to go to the lowlands. Why she likes her village: “My (maiden) home was still in the mountains in the area of Makhaleng there and that is why I do not like way way down there. As for this land, I liked it with all my heart.’ Does not travel much, likes to be in her village: “I feel that the beat of my heart will be in the direction of this place where my life was
Section 10  Fear of moving: “Now I am going to be a molopitsi (beggar) in other people’s villages.” Theft – doesn’t want to comment on it as it could be slander. Sorting out disputes and conflicts, reconciliation brought about by chiefs and members of families. Community will be widely scattered: “We are dispersing like the young ones of a bird.”
Section 11  Anxieties about what will happen to the burial association. Compensation – people still do not know how much. Upset about being separated from friends and how they will fit in in other villages: “It is cruelty.” “The thing that this government of today has done to us, I am afraid of it. As for me, I cry…” The dam project as an almost biblical catastrophe: “We have been befallen by the great flood, that one of water of old which we hear of.”
Section 12  Ease of life in present village: “We cut grass, we weave, we help ourselves; we plant our food in the fields….”
Section 13  Recent death of husband. Burials: relocating the ancestors.
Section 14  Not understanding of what caused the dam to be built in her village.