photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary










Ha Ralifate


December 1997



Section 1

Mokete Mohaieane. You are how many years [old] ntate Mokete?
He! Them I do not know them.

You were born when?
I have heard it said that it was around 1933 there, when I hear them say.

During the dust?
Yes ntate.

Oo, let us go back and hear as to... [We listen to the tape]. Let us go on then ntate Mokete. You were born right here?
Yes, ntate.

You grew up right here?

You were how many in your family?
Boys, we were born there being two [of us]; girls are three.

The others are where? Your brothers and sisters?
The girls are at their in-laws, they have been married.

They were married right in the villages which are around here?
One was married at Ha ’Matjotjo there. One is married at Ha Mohale, at Ha Seeiso; another one is married right in the village here. My brother, him, he built there at Jorotane, there. Yes, ntate.

Now, you do what right now?
I no longer work.

You have how many children?
They are not there (there are none?).

They are not there. You were working where earlier?
By the way what did we call it that thing? You know we are going to appear [in the recording] saying this. [He shows me a bag on which there is written the name of the firm that he was working for].
Section 2
Oo, ‘Blasting and Excavating’. It is where?
It was here [pointing to a village on the other side of the tarred road].

Oo, right here.

What were they doing...?
This road.

Before that, you were not working.
Before that, I have always worked in the mines.

When did you stop working in the mines?
A long time ago.

A long time ago. Your parents are they still alive?
No, they have died.

Yes ntate. Your father had been born here or had he immigrated?
He had been born here.

Oo. You were a person who sometimes visited other villages, other than these ones which [are] near yours here? Who visits other places?
Yes. Places like Ha Lebese there ’Makhoroana, Ha Moshati, Ha ’Matjotjo. And places like Thabana-Morena, there I have been there.

Being taken there for what reasons?
To visit the people of there, because of knowing them.

Well, you did not have other reasons than those ones of visiting?

Right now, is it the case that you still move about a lot? Visiting those places?
No, I no longer move about a lot right now.

The mater is what?
Growing up.

Oo, it is just a matter of growing up.
It is just a matter of growing up.

Yes. The villages of the towns, there did you visit them sometimes?
I used to arrive there in Maseru and Qacha’s (Nek).
Section 3
There you went for what reasons?
In Mafeteng, it was when I was for joining (take a contract to go to the mines); even in Maseru I went there for joining.

Now when you compare the life of there in the towns and the one of here, how do you see it?
Ache, the life of the town is heavy. Because it happens that when I look, if you do not have money you have no means of eating. You live by going to work – even if you do not like it, you will go down [to work]. Even when it rains, whether it is cold, whether it is hot, you will go to work. If you do not go to work you do not have the means to eat.

Now, what about here?
Here at home the means are many. I use soil, I sow. There will germinate vegetables, maize, potatoes, pumpkin... I eat and become full.

You do not need to buy food?
I do not buy food. I will collect wood and make a fire, the pot will boil. In town there is a big problem. Paraffin, lijelello (tasty food to eat with bland food such as papa); you will not buy a pair of trousers even if you have been hired and are working, never! Not at all! That money if you are working for it, if you are working there, you are working for it for the owner of the ma-line (low- rent urban housing), and paraffin, and lijelello.

You have seen the people of there living how?
They are poor. They are poor. That is, the life of there is one which…that is, it is the life of a poor person.

And if you compare it with life here?
If I compare it with life here?

What about doctors here? Do people here mainly use European doctors or Sesotho ones?
They use Sesotho ones a lot.

Do you know the reasons that make them use Sesotho ones a lot?
That is, these ones, these Sesotho ones, they have lipitsa (medicinal preparations) which they put for you. If you have gonorrhoea or biliousness, they take them out and you will see them. Now the European doctor, when you arrive there, they will inject you with a needle, they will give you panados (painkillers) and medicine for a [common] cold. In the morning they keep asking you – if you are in hospital – “How is it?”. When you say, “It is alright”, you just keep being given a pill, and on and on. And a pill does not cure you.
Now a Sesotho doctor will give you that medicine and one that will make it possible for you to eat. If you are unable to feed yourself, he will feed you with his own hand. His wife – he will actually make an order that this person is not fed. Now there, at the European doctor’s, the doctor says, “This person should be given pills”. These nurses will give you pills. You are not going to eat; you are not able to feed yourself. When you try to say you are able to feed yourself, they say, “It is not us who said that you should not be able to feed yourself”. You should know that you are going to die [because of] these pills, these ones that you keep taking. Come what may, you will die [because of those] pills, because pills have [curing] power if a person eats.
Section 4
Not when they do not eat?
Not when they do not eat.

But Sesotho doctors are many here?
Yes, ntate.

European ones?
Ache, they have a station of theirs far away there.

There, at the place of the [animal] dip there, and at Ha Marakabei there. I have not seen people go there – being interested in going there. And again, the matter of the European doctor, in fact they ill-treat us, it is just to oppress us that it is said that your child, or your wife when she is pregnant, you should leave her at a clinic. That is, you understand that this thing of taking a child to a clinic, when the child is not yet born, you are already injecting them before they are born. You are already weakening them before they are born. When they are born it is already a must that you should take them to the doctor’s, because you have already given them medicine before, before they were born here. If you were to mate a government sheep, mate, that is, ten sheep or five, with a government sheep, and take a Sesotho ram and mate it with five sheep, and these lambs you mark them. When they run and dart about going in that direction, they will come and pass their mothers and go there. When they come back the second time, going in that direction, these ones of the government will remain, they are no longer going to run. Only these Sesotho ones will run and pass and go in that direction (?).

Meaning that they are still strong?
They are strong! This one of the government is just flour1 this thing. It (flour) is the one that gives it (the government ram) strength. It does not have hard bones like that one (the Sesotho one).

Now Sesotho doctors in the past and right now, were always many in a similar manner, or are they decreasing or increasing?
Sesotho ones?

Ache, I see them increasing, they are going further up.

The European ones?
Ache, I see them going down, ntate, because when you get there you might hear it being said, “Medicines are not there, they are finished”. Now the Sesotho one, when you arrive there, he takes a [metal] peg and he goes and digs in the wild there.
Section 5
Those medicines of theirs are still many?
Yes, ntate.

Those Sesotho ones (medicines)?

From the past they were always many?
Up to even now.

They are not decreasing?

Oo, meaning that you are not afraid that they will get finished. Now you, you married how?
That is, I took a girl.

You eloped or…?
I eloped. I went to give cows at her home.

You having already taken her?

It was known how when you had taken her? Please tell me that story of what happened.
Oo, that is, in the manner of eloping?

Yes. That is, how related matters were handled from the beginning to the end.
That is, at the time that I eloped with that girl, I started first and talked to her, we agreed. We came here at home with her. And then I sent for her relatives. When I had sent for her relatives, they came and asked for cows and their daughter. And then it happened that I slaughtered - they found that I had slaughtered koae (the slaughtering of a sheep, part of the ritual of welcoming a newly wed woman), and had given it to the girl. I had slaughtered a sheep and given it to the girl. Then I requested: “Because I have stolen [your daughter], I am a thief where your child is concerned. I know that what I have to do, even if you were to take her. But I know that I have [to] give cattle for marrying her, and I want that you should allow me these cows, when I give them I should not give them as payment. I want you to allow [me to give them] as marriage. Because after that you are going to mention six cows, it being said they are payment. Later when I give four more, it will be said that I have [given] ten cows, which now I do not know how they became ten, because those ones it was said that they were paying, they were not included in [cows for] marriage. Now it is a matter that it should already be said that I should already marry (give cows for marriage) right from when I start.”2

They should not say that you should pay?
It should not be said that I should pay. It [should be] a decision that they should be put in the same way (as serving a similar purpose). Now, well, they allowed me in this manner. And that woman is this same one that you see this one. [Showing me his wife].
Section 6
It was when, when these [things] happened?
Ninety five.

Oo, now you have not yet had children?
Yes, ntate.

The food that people eat, are they the same as those that they used to eat in the past?
Ache, they have changed. The maize that we used to plant in the distant past, we used to plant maize that was called lehalesbere (variety of maize, strong and hard) and yellowish borotho (variety of maize, broad and soft). Now, right now, the father of Ntahli (chief Leabua Jonathan, former prime minister) came up with that [variety of] maize which he called mantsa-tlala (literally, “the expeller of hunger”), this one that is [called] “hairy-stalk”. It is this one that I see all over the country; and it has no taste at all. Two cobs, in autumn, if you give a child two cobs of it, they will eat just one. The second one you will see them already playing with it. That one of ours, that one of lehalesbere, that one, they could even do five cobs, still eating it. That was because it was nice.

Other food that which the people of old… what was eaten in the past? Other food that was eaten in the old times?
In the old old times there, when I was growing up, I used to see it being eaten even these sugar canes. I saw people eating a lot of things. Potatoes were many at that time. Now, right now, ache, even those like montsokoane (variety of plant) are no longer there in the wild. Even lihoete (plant with an edible root), if I left here going to herd, I did not mind whether I left [home] here having been given food, [because] I knew that I was going to eat lihoete in the wild there, things like these montsokoane and lioalioetla (?). Now, they are no longer there.

Right now they are no longer there. What is eaten right now?
Right now when I look, ache, things are now said to be fish oils, banna (Man)! They are cabbages...

The drinking of the people of old, [as for] it, how was it?
The people of old used to drink joala (beer); they used to drink joala, this one that is called moqopothi (Zulu word for commercial and home-brewed sorghum beer). Now moqopothi was joala which we hear that, when it is talked about by its owners, because me I do not drink it, they say that it was nice. My father used to drink it, they say it was potent. Because it used to happen, that when they had drunk it, I used to see them as very happy people in those times. They were very peaceful people. You would even see it making them fat; not this one that I see these days, whether it is still moqopothi, I do not know how it is made. Because even the sorghum for it, is now called mothopo (sprouted sorghum used for brewing joala), I no longer know, mothopo, I did not know it.
Section 7
Now when you look at the people of old and these ones of nowadays, how is drunkenness?
People nowadays have gone out of the way. They have gone to the side of the way because right now father, mother, son and daughter, they all go to the joala bar. Now, when you try and look, you find that the father, when he comes back from there, they are drunk, the two of them (husband and wife). The father fights the wife, the son fights the father, and there is no one to stop the other – in the family it has become a place of people of similar age; they are of equal age, all of them in there. Now, I have seen that this one is not joala, this one; that is, there is no – it takes respect out of a person, this one (joala) of nowadays. Earlier, if a child was drunk he/she was beaten; now, these days, the children are no longer beaten because the mothers are now controlling the fathers in the families. If a father were to try and show this child a mistake that they have done, which he sees, the mother says, “Oho, I do not know who you are making happy with (at the expense of) this child of mine. Those [children] like so-and-so there, they are their age-mates, their mothers have let them and their fathers [have also let them]. You will go on scolding a child here”. The old man will even keep quiet and stop scolding [the child]; even showing this child that “You arrive here late in the evening, you arrive at night. I do not know where you are now going”.

What do you think it is that causes this thing?
The thing that caused this thing? I see that the love that had no boundary in it, because now this woman, when I say that I love her, I now say, “This is your house, here you shall do each and everything [that you like]”. Even when she is doing each and everything, when she gives instructions here, I keep quiet, but this girl child, when I try and look at her now, I find that the fathers have failed to rule. This child of a girl, you shall never see her [going to] fochong (night parties where liquor and food are sold, regarded as events where morality is low), you will never see her at a feast for balimo (ancestors), or at a feast for bohali (home of husband’s family). A boy you will see at the feast for balimo, at a feast for bohali, meaning that the father has failed to rule as of now.

Because the boy goes all over here?

Because the boy goes all over here?
He goes all over here. Wherever he likes, he goes. This one of a girl if she were to, her mother beats her. You will never see her. Her mother beats her. But you, if you were to start reprimanding this one of a boy and you show him the way, his mother scolds you.

I hear. Did you attend school ntate Mokete?
No, ntate.
Section 8
It was said that I knew how to herd a lot. My father had cattle, and he said, “This child of mine, these cattle of mine, when he herds them he makes them thin”. But they are not here now. If I was educated, education would still be here. Now the wealth there [of cattle] has gone.

In the past, is it the case that school was difficult in the past? The people of old, did they find it difficult to attend school?
No, it was the same as now. Right now it has long (a lot of) monies [that have to be paid], even the laws of there are long right now. Earlier it was not done in that manner, they just agreed.

You see the benefits of attending school being which ones?
The benefit of attending school, that is I find that it has a lot of help because sometimes you would be going to go and look for a job… Now when you get there, they say here is work, but then, this work needs a person who knows how to read, so that it should happen that another person arrives here, you should give him certain things and certain things, but then you will write them [down] here. And then it would be found that you do not have… you do not know how to read, that work will beat you (you shall not be able to get it).

You see it as a necessary thing which is needed?
Which is needed, that each and every person is in education/learning.

When you look at this education that is given at schools here, do you see it as being fit for these local people here, when you look at right here at [your] home area?
Yes, ntate.

You see it as not needing to be changed?
It does not need to be changed altogether.

Churches, them have they been there long?
Yes, ntate. That is, the church that I know, I used to know the church of Roma (Roman Catholic Church) and the one of Fora (Lesotho Evangelical Church) and that of Chache (Church England).

The people of old attended church a lot?
Yes. In fact the churches of old ntate, they were nice. They had no courts of disputes within the church. They just prayed, when they finish praying, they knock off.

And now?
They hold court in there, these courts. When you leave there, you have forgotten as to what you were praying.

The work of the church in the past, you knew it as being which among the people?
The work of the church?
Section 9
It was to take people to the correct way.

Now how is it?
No, it is no longer like that at all. When I go to church there, it is when I know that that woman is there at church there, let me go and meet her. If she has not gone to church, I say that church was not nice that day.

Now, right now, and in the past, people attend church a lot or is it still the same?
No, right now they no longer go to church. It is just old people who go.

When you were growing up, what kind of tasks did the men help others with?
The men?

Yes, ntate.
That is, when I was growing up?

I used to see – because there were no [paid] jobs - these times of hoeing like this, they used to hoe in the fields here in matsema (communal labour); they did not make likoropo (work for payment). I would see the men then, being the people who were interested in even going to letsemeng (place where communal labour happens) there, to go and hoe there. Even if you were a person wanting to dig stones to build a house, they go there, they make letsema.

Right now they are doing what?
Ayikhona (nothing), they no longer go, they now say you should hire them.

The women, them their jobs were which ones?
In those times?

The women helped one another a lot and – right here at matsemeng (places of communal labour) here – they hoed there.

Right now?
They (communal labour parties) are not there.

Were you initiated/circumcised?

Oo, meaning that you do not know the matters of lebollo (circumcision), how they go?
Ache, indeed ever since ntate I actually did not like. That is, I did not see the usefulness [for] it, altogether. That is, I used to find that- my father was saying that he wanted me take me to ho mpolotsa (be initiated). Because him, he had been circumcised, he wanted ho mpolotsa (to give permission and provide means for circumcision) with joy. That is when I went to church, I said I would rather be converted, now that he is not able to take me to school. If found that lebollong (initiation school) the cost of there, they come from my home here. There at lebollong, there is nothing that I shall come back with, which does not come from my home here, because blankets and all other melamu (ornamental and fighting sticks carried by men), food, and all these kimberlites, these ocres, are bought by my father. Now [from] lebollong I shall come [back] with what here which is new, which will come and enter here. I found that it is not there altogether. That one is a waste of time of there.
Rather than my father here having some betterness, it would rather that he makes that person (the man conducting lebollo) rich through me. That one who has conducted lebollo, because when I have gone there my father will pay his money, which it is said it is for tlhaka (an incision which has healed), he would pay his money which is said to be for lenaka (a horn containing medicine used by traditional healers). He would pay his money for things that will be counted for him, which he will have to pay for there of these breads, flour, and for the sheep that are said to be for likhalapa (food contributed to a feast; to return a compliment/favour). They are paid for by my father all of these. I found that no, this one is a thing that has no use badly this one. This one has gone out of control of the law, this one!
Section 10
Oo, I hear ntate. So lebollo has always been a thing that you did not understand one another with?
Ayikhona, ntate.

Even now it is still the same?
I always tell the child - these boys, these ones – but they are useless. I say, “Now that God shows that he has still given your parents that they should teach you (send to school), children of Basotho, if you could only hear and be educated. If you could see what goes on in other places”. I arrived at Bloemfontein once, and found a young child working as an inspector. This was such a young person. I went to Maseru, this bank near Seputana – this one, they say it is a bank for the United Nations, there, where it is used, a place for the police here. When I was working there, I was working at that bank when it started from the ground, when it was being started from the foundations until when it was completely finished and functioning. There was a child there. The child used to go about with a European inspector. There would come this inspector of this child first. I found that the Europeans were afraid of the child. They were a child but also an inspector, because they agreed to the education of their parents. They listened to them when they said, “We want to educate you”. They would even die with that education; there is not a person who might steal it. Now when you have reared animals, or many things, we come there and steal them. Education is not stolen, ntate. Never.
Section 11
How is theft around here?
It has no size. [As for] it, you should leave it alone. They steal a person’s wife [while she is] still with her husband. [As for] it, you should leave it alone, theft you should leave it alone. Other than that you might talk about others (you would rather talk about other issues),

When you were still growing up how was it (theft)?
When I was growing up?

No, they just stole well; they were even respectful; it was respected at that time. Now this one of today- whether it is exacerbated by shapa-shapa (the police) I do not know. [As for] it, it does not have a size.

What happens? What do they do?
Those ones of nowadays ntate? No. There is not even a horse there you might be saying you will - because their owners tout for them, these same horses that steal it. When he comes, coming walking on the way here nicely, he would go with this horse of his, riding on it nicely. When he appears at a village, he wants it to show its walks. Tomorrow it is no longer there… when it is not there: “Hela, you have not seen it, that horse of mine in there?”. He has touted for it that they should steal it (by making it show ‘its walks’ when he sees people).

I hear ntate. Witchcraft, [as for] it how is it?
No, it… ache, me I do not know it altogether. Because I have heard it being said witchcraft is practised, I have not seen it (a witch). I have not seen it truly, I am not able to tell a lie there. I have always just heard it being said witchcraft is practised, witchcraft is practised, I have not seen it.

You do not believe in witchcraft?
Mm (no), because each and every person on the matter of witchcraft, I have always seen me, each and every person still having some medicines in their house. Now I do not know one who is a witch, and one who is not a witch as to which one it is.

When they all have medicines?
Yes. It would be found that it is at a time when I protect myself, now I never know as to [whether] it is to protect oneself to do what.

Let us go back a little then, when you were growing up then, as to what did you do when you were growing up, things like games which you played, things of that kind?
Games, when we were growing up, they were called lichifona (night concerts attended by young men and women in rural areas). You will see us walking, being many, seeing those things of ours at night, those ones, in the evenings when we penned [animals]. Now sometimes us, when we leave, it would happen that we ride on calves, we go on them having put on them likhoathatha (rope passed through the nose of cow). We pierce them in the nose here, this thing when it leaves the nose, it has a long one at the back, we are holding there, that is where we hold on to; we ride these calves, we go on them to chifoneng (place of lichifona) at night.
Section 12
During the day at the grazing areas what did you do?
During the day here at the grazing areas, we used to just play by ho kallana (mock-fighting with sticks or maize stalks) with liqobo (plural of qobo –a plant). Qobo was there in those times.

Qobo is what?
Qobo? A thing is there which is called qobo, it is eaten like this, it has broad peels like this. That is, its peel is nearly the same as that of thing… its peel is like this, it is the same as that of this thing [shows me a little which he has collected from outside]. That of it, here when it is green, when it gets here, it becomes red here, and then you would peel it and eat it. It is nice. Now we used to play with them.

Right now, the children of nowadays, you see like they now play what?
Ache, these of nowadays I do not know their game, ntate.

Is it the case that when you were growing up people still hunted?
Yes. [As for] that, I used to see people still hunting. A man was there here, he is called ntate Tehla. He is my paternal uncle. We used to go with him; he was a hunter. He even ended up [in] koeetseng (a deep point in a river or lake; usually thought to have snakes or monsters that hypnotise people into the water) across there. I hear the dogs frightened [and chased] a wild cat. This wild cat, it happened that when it arrived, it was found that it got to a place where the dogs were not able to reach it. He then took off shoes and went there to it, when he got there he caught it by the tail; it happened that when he threw it down, the tail oa charooa (?), and it happened that it was him who rolled down, him, it was him who went down. [As for] it, it happened that it remained there. He was maimed from that time. Other than that, no, they still hunt, there these liqoako (wild cats), the hares, mechalla (meercats) these rabbits, mabele (antelopes); mabele do you know them?

Antelopes are there but they of two kinds. This other is greyish like this; it is buck that one. This one which looks like it is a little red, which has a wide tail, that is, it looks like it is a bastard, it is lebele.

Now in the past, what was hunted then?
It was still those things which were hunted.

How are they, are there still many of them?
They are still there. There are still many of them, and quite a lot. Right now? There are very many of them, even now. Because I see, like the hunters are a little bit… they are the people who are decreasing [in number].

Meaning that they are still many those animals which are hunted?
Yes; even these jackals.
Section 13
Earlier people used to travel on what, when you travelled in the past?
By riding horses.

And now?
I see like the horses are decreasing, the roads are now many, I see that vehicles are now being boarded.

What are your feelings, you, about these many roads?
I see like a road right now, I see it a very good help to the people. I see that each and every person - I see like it is a life (a way?) which has decreased their sufferings. That is when they want to go to town they did not know- even many people they were dying, not knowing as to what a vehicle looks like.

The people of the village here, how do you live with one another with the villages that you are neighbouring?
We live by understanding one another only. And also that when we have some work/ feasts, we consult one another with them.

In the past how was it?
It was still like that.

Let us talk about the behaviour of the children of the past, as to how it was when you compare it with that of the children of now.
The children of the past, there were things which were called thakaneng (a place where young people sleep); the girls used to sleep in there with these boys. You would not find a mistake [having happened to] a girl, or behaviour that is not correct with these boys and these girls. They had respect, which was very plentiful. This respect was done like this; it was caused by the fact that, so that these people should know how respect this much, in the past the law of then, before they made these treasuries (a name given to local and central courts). The law of then was good, because when a when a girl and a boy had made a mistake, they would be called and go to the chief’s place. When they get to the chief’s place there, they would be closed in [a house]; they were beaten, a lot. Now these other ones, when they think that they are going to be beaten, they stopped [doing] these things. If they were to see you while [they were] standing there on the road, and he was with a girl and they are in love with her, and they saw that an adult is there, they separated. And in fact you would never know as to whose child it was who was here and he was with whose girl who was here. They would run away.
Right now (these days), you will pass him pressing her there. These days, these ones of nowadays. The thing that causes this is what? It is the treasury (court of law). This treasury, because he knows that you will not beat him up. And this contempt of children toward adults, a child would insult you being an adult, it is because of the treasury. That time earlier if it was said that a certain child has insulted so and so, and you raised this matter with their parents, they knew that they were going to be beaten. And they were not beaten by these parents. The chief that I see - that is he is still a little bit like he might… and when he… all the other principal chiefs are not like him, it is this chief of Ha Marakabei there. Even if I was to resist being this old, he does not take me to the treasury, he asks me to go to [his traditional] court. I am called at the court. When I arrive at the court there, when the case has beaten me, I am put into a house and I am going to be reprimanded in there. That thing I will not repeat it that one.
Section 14
He is chief who?
Seesio. They are going to beat me. They are going to beat me. That thing I will not do it [again]. Even if it is a woman, that thing she will not do [again]; he calls other women for her. They are going to beat her in there.

Those were the chiefs of old?
Yes, those were the chiefs of old. That is, he is still working [along] that law of old. That is, this one of the treasury this one, I still know that you will take me to the treasury, there is nothing that you will do to me.

Let us indeed talk, these same chiefs these ones, as to the chiefs of the past used to rule how.
The chiefs of the past used to govern a government which was correct. That is, you see this chief who is called chief Masopha.

[Chief] of Matsieng?
[Chief] of Matsieng, the principal chief, he is still holding on to the law of the chiefs of old. If the other chiefs, it happened that they were helping him in this ruling of his, when he speaks, it would be that there is still a lot of respect. In fact, it (respect) was not going to stop. Where he has been in the plateaus here, when he arrives, these boys at the [animal] posts will just tell you that - you will actually see that Masopha has been to that place; or it be said that he is coming, they know that Masopha is coming in there. And that thing that they were doing, all of them, they stop it there, he would even come, and when he arrives in there, he would even go back (without any wrongdoing having been committed). It would even be like that thing never happened. Because a bad thing he knows how to stop it, and he stops it [in accordance] with the governing of old. When I am this old, he reprimands me [in accordance] with the governing of old, he beats me.

Now the chiefs of nowadays, [as for] them what do they do?
These ones of nowadays, they are the ones for bribery these ones. They take you to the treasury. These ones know the treasury there; you are going to be sentenced, that is all. People we are being contemptuous of each other here, we are going to be sentenced.

It is not the same as before?
No, it is not the same as before.

The people of the village here, most of them provide themselves with livelihood by doing what? What do they do?
Their providing livelihood for themselves… they provide livelihood for themselves by planting food in the fields, and these animals of theirs they shear wool/mohair from them, they are going to sell this wool/mohair, and buy children food.
Section 15
Excuse me a little ntate. Yes, ntate, you were still telling me about the fact that they shear wool/mohair they…
They sell also these animals of theirs - if they have them - and the one who does not have animals, will sell wood and go and find some flour. This wood they will take it and take it to people who brew, and then they would give them some money to go and buy flour.

In the past then, they lived how?
That is, it is the ones of the past.

That is, it is the ones of the past, these ones of nowadays [as for] them, how do they live?
Aa, these ones of nowadays, their life is heavy.

Yes, ntate, we were talking about these ones of nowadays as to them they provide themselves with livelihood how?
By working, because jobs are there these days. They now live by going to be hired at work [places] here. At construction [companies].

Let us come then, your feelings about this matter that you are going to be made to emigrate, as to your feelings yourself are which ones?
My feelings here on being made to emigrate, there is nothing that we can do; because when it has already been spoken (the authorities have), and in fact, we cannot do anything because the country is the king’s. And those who came to him, and it was agreed, it is true they had asked for water, and even we could not do anything to this water, because it comes and it passes going down there without us stopping it to use it. Now, there they have found a benefit that them they should stop it, and go and work with it. Now, now that they are making us emigrate from here, and they are taking us to those places where we built on them. We cannot have an easy life, and find the easy life that is the same as the one of here where we still are. No, never. I have chickens here, right now outside here, if you were to look at these chickens of mine, you would find that they are having an easy life, because I have planted trees there, they have gone into the forest. Even the hawk does not find the small chicks of theirs, no. Now here where we are going it is just a plain place (unsheltered).

The other problems that you are fearful of because of this matter of being made to emigrate, which ones could they be?
Ache, the ones that I am fearful of, [as for] them they are not there, ntate.

I was actually looking for your feelings in full, that is, as to what it is that you do not like about being made to emigrate? That is your real feelings on this matter of being made to emigrate, as to how do you see it?
Ache, (as for) it, there is nowhere I feel I have [a feeling of being] oppressed on it, no.

The promises which the people of the highlands water have promised you, do you accept them?
Yes, [as for] them I accept them. Even though others (promises), I see that they have changes on them. They have changed; they mentioned that when they make us emigrate [from] here, they will make each and everything of ours which we had. But now, they are now saying that you should do it yourself, or look for somebody to build that thing for you, then they will pay that person. But earlier they said they are the ones who will build, now they are no longer building. Now they are saying that you should do for yourself.
Section 16
They now pay you when you have built?
They now pay you when you have built. That is where I am not agreeing with them there. They talked that the walls are there two of them here. When they first came here, and found me repairing them, they said I should leave them, I should not waste for myself, I should not waste my time, they will build them for me. They are no longer doing that thing. They are now mentioning that they will pay me. But even then, they are not mentioning the payment of the walls, as to how much it is. They just keep on saying, “You will be paid”. I am intending that I shall still ask them when they arrive here; I heard it being said that they are coming on Tuesday.

Of this week which is coming?

Yes, ntate. So, that is nearly your feelings about this matter of being made to emigrate?
Yes, ntate.

Oo, ache, I am very thankful ntate Mokete.
I am thankful me too ntate.

Yes ntate. Thank you then.
End notes
1. Describing a government ram as ‘just flour’ comes from the technology of breeding chickens where a cock is no longer needed; the fact that most commercial chickens are brought up on lay mash has made most Basotho to regard them as products of flour. The narrator here regards government rams as being no exceptions.
2. Sesotho custom makes a distinction between paying for damage in the case of elopement, and giving cattle in the case of marriage. If elopement has occurred, before discussion starts about the number of cows given for marriage the man has to pay a number of cows - usually six - for damage.