photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary








farmer/village headman




February 1998



Section 1
[Answering a question about when he was born]
It is before leroele (literally, ‘dust’)1. I do not know when before the leroele was ntate. [I do not know as to] it was nineteen, what that is lerole. In fact, finds me already having been there (having been born) for some time. It came up from Quthing there from chief Mpiti Lebesele’s.

Mpiti Lebesele.

Yes ntate.

It was… I...
Take ntate Motseki Seshebane (?). Ache, the 40s come later, when I was already a person because I arrived here. You can learn like that about a person when you see me in the manner. As to when I arrived here, when it was me and not any of my siblings who were suckling, as to what year it was. Well, even though that year, I no longer know it as to what number it was. As to it was nineteen what.

Was it your grandfather or your father who first settled here?
My father who bore me, is Motseki.

He is the one who left and came and settled here?
The one who left there, and emigrated and came and settled here, because of my sister.
She was taken by my grandfather in there, at Matebeleng. Right up there, who was called Neo Motseki or Neo Seshebane. And then he came here, my father when he had now found. She was married in here at Ha Seotsa. In here, by the son of Seotsa Nteso. Now, my father felt himself that he could not stay with the children. That is, well it was to my ear (he told me this), even though I did not have any awareness (I was still young). He told me: “My child, I came here because of your sister”. It is clear that like any person, his presence when he was now here. Truly we stayed until my father in forty-seven, that was when he died. As for him, I know. I was already a little person at that time. In fact, I was lephura-khoahlanyana (a recently circumcised young man) like this.

He was brought here by the matter, that his daughter was married here?
Right ntate, he was not made to move by anything else. He was now following after the daughter. Now, the chieftainship of here, of Ha Tsapane. It came to find him as a useful person here and there, and it came to accept him.
Section 2
It was already a village here at that time?
It was already not here. It was from up there mostly.

Here at Matebeleng?
Here at Matebeleng.

This one is new this village?
Aa, this one is new this one. This one appeared during the collectivisation of villages. Some time after the Second World War ntate, this one. This forced migration of the collectivisation of villages. Do you not see when I got lost, when I was here. Coming from the place of gold. When I went, when I found that this my home. I found my home being here. When I appeared there, they said “Hela, the old woman now stays down there. ’Me Mamocheku, ’me Mamocheku now stays down there. Where now, now that it looks like my home is just ruins?” It was now ruins.

It had happened, that when you arrived here, you passed onto there?
No, I came from this direction, a pass there it is.

Oo, you were coming from there?
We used to come on foot. There was not yet a vehicle there, was no what here. We used to walk on foot. You would come from TY there, coming up on foot until you would arrive here. Or we would come up from Maseru there, until you arrived here on foot Molika-liko here.

Now, when people were being made to migrate here, why were people being made to come?
Here ntate, they were being made to migrate, it was being said that it was the collectivisation of villages and we did not know it was going where. It was during the reign of morena (chief or king) Letsie Letsie Theko. Now we did not know as to this migration. That is, it was not during the reign of the Englishmen, in other words.

But I do not understand, is it not that you were there?
Yes ntate.

If you say that people should move away from there, you are dispersing them. You are not collecting them.
That is right. Those ones who remained there are the ones who went on strike. They refused to leave and hid among the precipices. They became wild cats in there. They used to come in the evening when they came to eat. They refused, they refused. That is, it was just three villages (homesteads) that might be three, only three houses that had remained in there.

But then it increased again?
Now it is increasing because chief Letsie has now, I do not know, as to how he had now talked. I had not even held the administration here at that time. Because I held the administration there, at the chief’s place during the days of chief. During the life of chief Letsie when, when the chief died. I held the administration during those days. In 60 what, 67, 68, 67, 67. Yes, 66, it was when I held the administration there. Now I have been ill since that same time. And I did not know as to, I continued to go down. Chief Letsie died after that. When I was already holding administration there. Now the matters of earlier in there are the ones that I do not know as to. They went in what way they were coming from where, and they were going where.
Section 3
Now, please tell me here. If I were to say to you, you should close your eyes and think that I have not been to this place at all, and then I were to say, please tell me how you live here. Take it as if there is nothing that I know, or me I say to you, I say…
Let me tell you, I would rather just tell you, not that I should close my eyes. I would rather tell you as to which one is my life. I am a chief. I would rather just tell you my life as to what life it is here, where we live. Here ntate, here we live in a way that is not well, one that is not well, because, I am saying the living of here in a way which is not well. It is a thing that I do not find well. As for my wife, she is sick. Here she is inside the house who I do not know, as to I. The [Highlands Water] Project, I am requesting the Project to build for me speedily so that I can go down, so that I can be near doctors. There with this wife of mine.
I do not see advancement that, ever since it was said that we would leave this month of in New Year. We shall spend down there. It is not like that. Right now, day before yesterday, here, it was only then we were beginning to find some money which it is said we should [use to] take the children to school. The children, the teachers are already expelling them here, with simple words. In fact, they are just keeping quiet because of knowing us, if they did not know us these teachers because we are near them. I do not believe that they would be given a place if she came from far. That they would be given a place if they did not have money because of the way changes are now.
Even us, just like those from outside they have taken us out, those who know what the conditions are. Now, it has been said that we should not plough. We have not ploughed. As for us, we live on cannabis here. I live on cannabis here. Me, I do not steal and in fact, I will even die without ever having stolen. I live on cannabis. I sell cannabis. On the twelfth month I harvest, I sell. When I finish selling this cannabis of mine, I take my child to school. That is my aim, that is my life. I would even buy food and eat papa (maize porridge, staple food). Because when I have found (harvested) two bags, I have the means that I shall be able to take this child of mine to school, now that the smugglers (the buyers) are here, with one bag. He is not going to put his feelings (set his own price). I will put my feelings. It will require me, my wisdom as to I put in what way. Now, then we would agree. Now when he has finished, when he has taken two bags I already know that I have the means to take two children to school. Or one if there are two of them but in fact two of them, I shall be able to take them.

You harvest how much? When it is said that you have harvested?
Bags, cannabis?
Section 4
Cannabis ntate, I harvest twenty-five bags. Truly, or more. Or more, truly, or more. Because I do not steal, that is my life. Do you not see when I sell until Christmas? Now in Christmas we go even higher in money then. When Christmas comes, we are very high in money, when these crooks arrive here because we want to rescue. We only strive so that we should be able to take these children of ours to schools. That is our aim where we are.

Do you never agree on setting a price?
No, no, we would not understand one another, him put the price?

No, I am saying you, as the people of the village here?
Oo no, we agree ntate. That is here. Some, you see, we have; our little problem is here. Our little problem, is that my problem, just like my wife is sick like this. I would have a way that the buyer would come and hijack me. He, it would happen that when they advise him, they would say, “His wife is a person who is very ill”, and when she is ill he would then come and say, “Me I buy for this much”. You hear that he kills me. Under having a person who is ill, I will have to submit, just so that I should be able to find the means that I should be able to take this person of mine to the doctors. That is the life we live.
It was said that we would be given moneys here, by these ones of the Highlands Water Project. Moneys for being hurt (hardship/inconvenience) which we would begin to see these moneys, holding these little cheques of theirs. But they have just said we should shoulder ourselves. Just say now, this invalid of mine, who do I leave her with, just like you found there, being two of us like this. Who do I leave her with? Because I do not know as to there. I do not control myself there, there at this thing. There where I am going to change this cheque, I do not control myself. They will also do their feelings or they might say, “Wait man, I shall come and see you at such and such a time”. Do you see that thing? Now tell me just like a person as to I will execute it, when I am where. Now for those reasons ntate...

Yes. You have how many fields?
I have four fields.

They are how big?
Ache, I do not know in size as to I can compare them, because one of them is there over yonder there.

Yes, you do not know their sizes?
Yes, their sizes truly. Well, I do not know. If you could ask me about harvest only as to I reap harvest of what kind in the house?

Oo, how much do you normally harvest then - when a year has been good?
When it is good ntate, here this field of mine in the mokoatlaneng (?), in here. Just below Ha Montsi, in there I get ten and one unit bags.
Section 5
Yes, maize. Still eating from it with cannabis (still harvesting some cannabis from it). Still having harvest ten and five units of bags of cannabis. This field, by the turn of the river this side, I have a way of getting five bags. But because I normally plant cannabis on it, especially I always make this cannabis to suffer, this maize (I always make cannabis prosper at the expense of the maize crop), that is the field that I get a lot of cannabis from. As it is the one that I get a lot of cannabis from.

You normally harvest how many bags of cannabis?
Khele, ntate, [laughs] cannabis ntate, I harvest a lot of bags. Truly, here I shall be unable to give you the truth, which is correct because I am saying to start a lie. That I might say, it is how many bags? Because it might happen that, but up to sixteen, seventeen I reach. But that would be after I would have already sold. Now that is where I am saying. I am not going to have a price that I might say I, and also. I might not have that, I might have a sure, as to I have a way that without putting you down that I sold this way. I will know that I have made this much. No, no, that is not where I am there. Now, I am just expecting that I should get what I want and save myself without expecting, that I might be asked questions. Like those that you are asking me. I just sow and reap cannabis, sell it and get what I get, and I never sit down to count the precise number of bags. The exact amount money I get, so that, I could be able to answer questions such as yours. I am a chief, you should respect me. [This was said in jest].

We have now talked about two then, there remains two, this other one?
Aa, this other one I plant beans on them in there. Those beans truly, aa I normally get four tin containers or five. Yes, or peas. If it is peas, then I normally get a bag and a bit.

This last one?
This last one where, there it is. You can see, I have still planted them (cannabis) and they are, this cannabis even though it is not very good there, it is. Below that one, right by this berry tree.

Oo, here.
No, by that berry tree, this one further down. A berry tree here, it is ntate. A berry tree is here.

Yes, here it is.
Aa! You see the berry tree, it is cannabis that thing. Yes, it is cannabis.

The one above the path?
That is right, it is cannabis. Now I am still going to…

And the one below the path?
No, the one below the path ntate, is below the path, that same one below those cattle.

Below these cattle?
That is right ntate. I am planting cannabis right. There it is, you can see it also. I am a chief.
Section 6
Now, there normally come out how many bags?
Is it not that I said just like a chief. That chief when they harvest they do not become aware that he should count bags. I do not count bags. I just count to sell there only.

Beans and peas do not prosper why?
Here ntate they sometimes prosper peas, a lot. That is the thing which is there, is the matter of hail. Them they prosper but frostbite sometimes comes.

Yes, especially the thing that actually troubles us is hail.

This place is actually liked by hail?
Yes, a lot ntate. A lot truly, it is liked by hail. A lot, these people of here have actually gone to the extent of looking a person who mixes potions like this. Who mixes potions like this and he would mix potions against this hail. Just like yesterday he stopped it. Khele! It was bad! It was coming and looking very bad. It was coming from this side. You know it changed its mind. We were actually with him this side. He stopped it truly, you know he stopped it. This side, it has caused havoc up this side. On the plateau there right up to Masaleng, it is wrought havoc. Now truly here, it did not even drop at all. But now the chief is not paying this person. I am telling the truth. Is it not that well, when they pay him they bring here.

Now this house of mine (which the chief uses for storing grain for the doctor), what does he pay it with himself? What does it pay it with? I am telling the truth.

When they harvest they bring here?
Yes, when they pay him, when they pay him. When they pay him they bring here. Now this house of mine what does he pay it with? That is where I pay myself for that house of mine.

Now, hail, as for maize it does not do this thing, get spoilt?
Ntate, it defoliates it. It would be terrible here if he had left it alone yesterday. You see these ones who have planted following feelings that are not their own. (He actually means the opposite that is, he means people who have planted despite instructions from the Highlands Water Project that nobody should plant in anticipation of moving early in 1998). Me I did not plant at all.

Because it was said that you are leaving?
It was said that we are leaving. It was said that we should not plant. We received letters. We have letters of ours in the houses in here which stop us. That we should not plant altogether. A person who has planted here, you can see his maize that it is green. That is, it is just his awareness (common sense, wisdom) the one who has planted on his own not because the permission of this letter it was speaking about the Highlands Water. Just like a person who respects the person of a chief, I felt myself that me I am not planting. I shall plant cannabis there, which I will harvest. Cannabis as for it, I have planted it there.
Section 7
The person who respects of a chief, how could you plant cannabis?
I plant it cannabis. I live on it. I do not steal.

I thought a chief.
I do not steal, I do not steal.

These crops of the fields, do you alternate or actually you...?
I have a way of alternating several times, even lentils I sometimes plant them. Yes, I sometimes plant them right in here. Right in here by the turn of the river.

You alternate why? Why is it that you alternate?
I alternate because I want that this year, I should alternate the soil or I should do what?

What is it that makes the one that you think. Makes it that agriculture of here should succeed?
The thing of here?

Yes, what is it that?
You know here the thing, which makes us here. It is just turning the soil in winter. If you can turn after you have planted. Immediately you have planted, that is after you have harvested and you turn, the agriculture of here will succeed in a terrible way. In a terrible way, terrible way. Without it having been irrigated and without it having been done anything. Without you having put manure and without you having taken that dung. Even if, I hear that they say yesterday wheat was being loaded by the committees, I say, “Banna, the chief will struggle so much, he is even going to hire people who are going to load”.

Do you never allow a communal access to fodder by animals here?
Here at my home area, animal communal access to fodder is done ntate here. We allow communal access to fodder. We allow communal access to fodder, these cattle should graze there all of them there, from Ha Tsapane this side even coming down from Matebeleng. Right from here, there they get access to fodder on that field, they would gather on it, there or we would actually leave it and let them all of them be harvest there. When it is being harvested, there a boy should go and stand on that field there, or he should go and stand on that field there at the end. [That field] should be made accessible to all animals, these cattle should move there all of them there. When it has been finished it would still be a thing that we shall. It just depends on the owner of the field when we have finished as to whether he will turn, or he will not turn when we have finished. You hear we used to live a good life?

Yes ntate.
Now we are going to live these things of the lowlands there, where it is said that a person should use fodder privately. They (animals) should come and eat after you, what is it that thing?
Section 8
The difficulty, the difficulty of the agriculture of here, it is what?
The difficulty of the agriculture of here ntate is that, I shall be unable to mention it. That is, the difficulty of the agriculture of here it comes. That it is the matter that a person of here ntate. Here he does not plant, there is not even a way that you may plant. Just on the matter that how much do you have animals. It is just a matter of how much rain has fallen. But when I now, I can make a thing like letsema (communal labour), not having them animals or, we come to his assistance a person here and we get and we plant for him according to that policy of looking for that field of his. Right now these maizes ntate, I would be plucking some maize for you there. That is the field of a son that one. Them they planted by force. You would be stopping going to pluck some maize for you there right now. But we planted late it was being said that we should not plant. The matter, well banna plant boys, you shall see as to what happens.

Frost. Frost does not bother you?
You know the frost of here in fact it is not that much that it be there. I would lie ntate, if I were to say- frost it is not that much that it be there here. It is not that much it be here ntate. That is, it has a way of seldom, seldom.

Other than that it still comes at a time when?
At its time, which is appropriate. The third month towards its end, when it is going to meet with the fourth you will but they will have gone past the danger point. These maizes all of them, all of them, all of them there. I say ntate, right now I would be plucking maize for you which you would not finish three cobs, right now if we had planted at our time. You would not finish three cobs. Truly I refuse. There cobs you would not finish them. We plant a variety of maize called ma-menoana (literally “mother of one with little teeth”- suggesting a small probably hard variety of maize) here ntate here.

Yes, we plant ma-menoana, hlaka-le-boea (literally, “the stalk is hairy” - a variety of maize).

That is the one, which agrees with this soil?
That agrees with this place. It is in fact my first time to see. I think I do not know as to how many years we have now, or five or how many planting ma-menoana. But we succeed. That is, Molika-liko. This whole nation of Molika-liko it is crying. It is saying that now Molika-liko is being made to emigrate. We are shouldering Bokong. We are shouldering Seotsa. We are shouldering Kopolara (Koporala). We are shouldering Monts’i. This thing, Ts’iu, they eat here (people from all the mentioned areas depend on Molika-liko for food). Truly I swear. Right now I still have maize which I can actually show you there in the house there, which I can scoop. In fact, if I had not given the horse habore (oats) it being said that we are going, and also my wife being ill and me living alone. I would still be having some bags in here.

Your children have all grown up and left home?
Is it not ntate you hear. Is it not you heard. I said that one of them died?
Section 9
They died? Yes, you said.
They died the eldest one the first one. They are now four years [dead]. There again died, this one a few days ago on the twelfth this month that died (last month). Now there remains only one of a girl. Now in simple words, when I approach the matter of looking for a second house to resuscitate this family of mine, because it keeps being defoliated by the people there and there. I quote myself. I say that person when I look for her here, and she comes and ill-treats this wife of mine, this one, who I may be keeping. Is it not better that I should suffer with her myself? And this is a matter that will have to be sat down for there and there as to I quote and unquote how. Because you see, the thing that has put us in difficulties, they a thing will be there, an inspector. The inspector they say these houses he has built them ntate there. They are going to be searched the Friday of each and every week. Now I ask myself as to, this wife of mine, you see her ntate, is she given the state of her health. The sort of person who can clean and see what its condition is? When you look at her yourself with the eyes, when you see her like this? Is it the case that, that is the sort of thing that she would be able to do? I am asking you.

Mmm. I have seen her no.
Aa! so? You hear now it forces me to do feelings that I was not thinking in my wisdom. Now I do not know the awareness of a person, this one who will be there here as to she is the sort of person who will treat in a manner that is right or there where we are going down whether we shall be treated in a good manner. Meaning that I am going to live a difficult life because she is not my mother. That person and I do not know what is in her heart.

You became aware when that this maize of ‘ma-menoana prospers here?
Hele ntate, truly we became aware very late, much, much later, much, much later because I am saying... Do you not hear when I say it might be eight years or seven ago when we started planting ‘ma-menoana, and we harvest in a manner that is not the same, in a manner that does not invoke complaint.

How did you find it?
We took it in there at the co-operative depot. We came and sowed it here and it had
been dipped like this. We sowed it. Hele ntate! It gave us a lot of thing. Truly it gave us. Hela ntate it would be terrible here, right now, I am pointing at a field there it is ntate near you there it is, you would be seeing as to- You see you are saying it is shouldering there it is, he planted it late that boy, late. If it was the time, if we had planted at the right time. I am saying that I would be crossing here right now, while you are still here and I would be plucking three cobs for you there and I would say you should roast them and eat them alone. And you should see whether they would fit in your stomach. Aikhona (No)! I refuse they would not fit. Aikhona, you must tire these jaws.
Section 10
What is its advantage? What do you think it likes here?
This soil of here, this soil of here. Here ntate in so far as the soil is concerned these people who are saying we should move. They have undermined us terribly.

But now you are making seed for yourselves, you are no longer buying it?
Aikhona, we now just make for ourselves. We would only change it with yours. I would take yours and come and sow it on my field. I would give you. You would take mine and you would go and sow it on your field, and it would grow still being itself the same one of yesterday.

You no longer go to the cooperative depot?
Aikhona, we do not mix with that thing of theirs. It kills us that thing with that money.

When you compare harvest now and at the time that you were growing up, you see like...?
Hele! In here right now, it is much higher.

It is high?
It is high.

The reason is which one? Is it this same one of,
This same one of planting ‘ma-menoana. Even these peas of the government, you know ntate, they are good. Right now you see to those who have planted them. Those who struck (those who refused to abide by the order that they should not plant). They are dry right now and they are already eating them.

As for them, you sow ones which are called what?
Is it not that we buy them right there (at the cooperative depot). Even though we are now just changing for one another, like that as people2.

Now what took you to the mines if the agriculture of here, is as good as you say?
No, to the mines me I was taken by no. We had not yet started planting this thing. Khele! I to the mines, I when, I first went to the place of gold straight in 51. When I first went to the place of gold, there in the Free State there, North One, Odendaal there. I found it being khubetsoana (the development of the mine was at such at an early stage that they had only reached a red layer of soil). I worked there for a long time. There is no longer life right now. Hele, matsemanyana (communal labour?) of here were still ones what surprised people a person would hoe by hand. We did not weed with cattle, just like people weed with cattle like this. Right now we weed with cattle, regardless of how big a field is we weed with cattle.

How? Please explain to me?
By weeding?
Section 11
You weed with what?
With ploughs. These boys ntate when they go into a field there they do terrible wonders. That same plough, when he is holding it. We remove from it this ploughshare and we put in an old one. I weed a very clear thing, a very clear thing. The women they are going to drag this field regardless of how big it is. She is going to put in this thing. You will see her appearing from above. When we finish, we again collect it together.

This soil?
This soil.

With what, by hands?
No ntate, with the plough.

With the plough?
With the plough, that same one, that same one with which, we were weeding with.

You still work in a way that you make matsema?
A little well, ntate truly. But hei, they are now dozing a little. They doze a little like this because they look for the matter of moneys, on account of moneys. Well, by knowing one another we still help one another. Just like you see me having done some work here, they helped me in the way that they came to my aid with wood here because of knowing my wife and her illness. They came to my aid with wood. I did not buy it. They went tse-tse, truly the women of this village of mine. They came to my aid with wood and water and they were able to brew and do like that. They implemented my policy (plan).

Please tell me as to the old people of this village how do they live? Just like a person of a chief?
As for them, they live in a terribly pathetic way. So much so that I do not know what I can say. I do not have the means as to what I can give them, the sadness that you cannot know. My aunt, she is right there now, there at the end of the village. She is a sekoka (invalid), which does not know how it lives. Which remains sitting in the house. That is going out. That is her daughter, that one who is standing there. Now I see that her daughter is going there and I do not know what my is. And even she lives in a difficult manner. There is no means that, except if she were to be supported by her children in a funny way with porridges, which come in a shaky way like this. Just like me ntate, right now I do not know whether I can have the means that I can have some strength, so that I can be able to satisfy this wife of mine, with this little cent that they have given me. After I would have paid for the children there at school.

This road now that it reaches...
Because these children who have been left by this child of mine yesterday. My son-in-law is weak. Now I have assisted and they are now shouldered by me. There are two of them. Now I am going to take them to schools so that I can support this child of mine. My children should not forfeit education. Meaning that this little cent that is coming, this one. I do not have the problem of whether... I do not have the means, that, I have a sure that I shall have a way. That I will be able to satisfy this wife of mine except to go and throw down this money there at the school, just so that they should not be expelled from school.
Section 12
This road now that it has reached here, is it the case that it has improved your livelihood or it has worsened it?
Ao ntate, we have not yet known as to it improved it when it gets where (in what way). Well we can say it has improved it in a short way that when you think of going to town even in the coming hours (later in the day), you can still go down just because you will dependent on yourself, but now they hit us with moneys. Hei! Five rands to go to Likalaneng. When you leave from there it is fifteen rands to go to this thing Ha Ntsi. To go to Ha Ntsi it is fifteen rands. When going to Maseru ntate hele! When you go to Maseru... when you go to Maseru they hit you so much so that you should feel and stop, nineteen rands there. Even then you should know that, that taxi has been very kind to you.

Before now, what did you do?
We were still boarding at Likalaneng there. Hele! That entailed so much hardship. That entailed a lot of hardship.

But now just like people who just live on selling cannabis. Has it not strengthened? Has it not strengthened? Has it not?
Aa, these smugglers are now able to come right up to here.

Has it not cause for you that...?
Aa smugglers are now able to come right up to here.

Yes, I am saying has it not caused for you that the police, should not be able to come here easily?
The police, the police I put cannabis out to dry while they are still here. They do not arrest me. I do not steal ntate hele! I do not steal, I am not going to hide, I will not steal. I want that I should go and answer that case in front of the magistrate. I have never stolen anything of a person’s. I will even die without having stolen a thing of a person. But this thing I make myself live with it. I do not steal. I do not do what. I make my family live with it. I do not take another person’s property. He should please show that case by which he is accusing me, as to I am guilty when I get where. When I get where? By making myself live? He should please show whether it is the case that I am guilty when I make myself live.

I know that you are actually refusing to move from here, what reasons do you normally give to the people of Highlands Water [Project] for refusing to move away from here?
Ntate, it almost defeats us that one because I am saying. It almost defeats us.
Section 13
But please give me the reasons by which you were refusing.
We were showing ntate as to they do not satisfy us. When we get where (on what points), because our aim was because. When they were talking about money that we shall be paid, money as to a person when he was paid. As to how the soil you will pay, it how. That is, even you as a person of an adult. You can ask yourself soil, if I say I will pay you for soil. As to how you can pay it. If it is not for the whole life, including the lives of your children. But right now as I speak with you like this, we have been given a scale. Which is a thing that eats us in a terrible way, this one of being given a scale. That is, it does not. That is, it ntate that thing. I tighten in the mouth (my language becomes stronger). Immediately I get there. Yes. There I tighten in the mouth because here now we were cheated ntate. We were cheated.
I developed eyes (became aware) these fields that I plough already feeding these children of mine. You should see me in the years I have how many years. I have five tens of years which have six units. Now tell me as to just like a person, as to when I developed eyes already finding these snows. Already finding these snows, ntate my arrival here. See what I am saying, before the dust. You should then immediately quote as to before the dust, as to ntate already finding these two fields. Now they being cut for us there, he cutting for us there. Because we have not been put. You see.

And they were brushing aside your reasons by saying what?
Ntate, they brush them aside by saying it is the project. It is the project. They say our chiefs gave them away a long time ago. They lie and say it was signed for by Chieftainess ’Mants’ebo (regent for Prince Bereng Seeiso King Moshoeshoe II from March 1960 between 1940 and 1960). That is, they speak a lie just they get there. They even calumniate this dead person of God. ’Mants’ebo where was she? Where was she, a person when she is sleeping her nice sleep where she is sleeping. ’Mants’ebo these things which are like this, no. The only thing that we did not like about ’Mants’ebo is the government of the Englishmen that one of colonialism, which she had brought here. Other than the colonialism that she had done here, I do not find that ’Mants’ebo. I could say she had signed that Lesotho should be.
The Boers should come into this country. This thing is just being done by them people, like Lekhanya and others. Lekhanya is the one who sold this country ntate this one. Do you not see when the government has given him that he should go and build a farm that side, in Ladybrand. Why when he is a person of this side? He had talked what with the Boers? Here ntate we are being cheated. That is, he signs. Now when you arrive. When it is already being said that: “If you do not sign you will be eaten. Sign here! Your money is this much. If you do not do that you will be eaten”. You hear, I am being threatened. We have been threatened ntate here a lot of them.

But you, like a chief, you did not take these people of your and...
Let me tell you, these people ntate they say I will mislead them. Their stopping me they say, “He ntate, you will mislead us because, we just want that we should benefit, even if they have oppressed us”.
Section 14
They say you will mislead them?

When you try and show them that you should try and resist this thing?
Yes, [trying to show them] that this thing is eating us, this one.

Yes. By the way, you said you are emigrating to where?
I am emigrating to Ha Seoehlana. Here where I want this wife of mine, should go quickly and be taken to.

She should be taken to the doctors.
Yes, so that she should be able to see the doctors.

But what are your feelings about the life of the lowlands?
Ntate, it I did not like it or I liked it, there I would say...

Yes, let us talk about maybe it was not said that you should move away from here, and then I arrive here and come and ask you and say what are your feelings about the life of the lowlands?
Let me mention like this ntate. I would still. I am coming there ntate. I did not understand altogether about this matter of moving away from here, but in the name of my family because of the way that I see. I am weak. It is better that now, now that it is that they have now forced us in this manner. They have forced us. They should rather remove me so that I should at least go and be able to put this wife of mine near doctors there.

But the life of the lowlands, is it the case that you like it?
Whether I like it or I did not like it. In the name of my wife I will have to like it.

What about if you had a choice? Right now you do not have a choice I agree, but you if you had a choice?
No, I was not happy with it at all.

Because I was not happy with it because in the lowlands ntate, the people there live in a difficult manner. There is thievery, there are all these things. People are invaded in their houses at night. That is, you would feel that you do not know what your conditions are. Here at our place ntate, even if you were to sleep here, never. Even if you were to sleep outside here, you would never hear. That is, this thing would rather stop you and you could rather be killed by things like, things that are being brought by ghosts. Here things of the night. Not that you can be frightened by anything, which might come with threatening your life, no ntate. Except for a thief only, a thing that I do not want here. The thief is the only thing, which will come and threaten you here with the threats of theft.

In other words theft is there? Because I heard you saying the people of the lowlands are troubled by thieves.
Hei! He they steal in the lowlands! They steal; they invade [people in their houses at night].
Section 15
I thought you were saying so because here it is not there?
No, a person who comes here, he would not be able to invade [people in their houses at night]. That is, him he just goes to the kraal (livestock enclosure) only. He just goes into the kraal and he is just going to steal in the kraal. Yes, here right up to yonder there. He would not come and invade [people in their houses at night], never. No, he would not be able to invade.

According to you, who is supposed to be blamed for the fault that you are being moved from here? The government or the king or the Project, who is supposed to be blamed for the fault?
You realise that it is the one who signed? The signatory who signed here that we should be move. The fault must be blamed on him if it is a fault; the person who can be able to be blamed for that fault; we cannot brush aside that one. You what do you say about it? How do you come in yourself? The person who signed that we should be moved from here, he must accept that this fault should be blamed on him; if we were to go and live in a painful way there where we live. Us we shall be able to go and cry to him and say “Know that we live in a painful way, then”.

This signatory should be blamed personally or, as a person who represented the government?
He is a person, aikhona. It is the chiefs. These principal chiefs are the ones who come do. You not see when Khoaabane (Theko, the principal chief of Thaba-Bosiu, the ward in which the Mohale Dam area falls) came in here and got here and said, “The one who refuses to leave from here, the one who refuses to sign this papers, pass him, just pass him and do not do whatever. You should leave him as he is”. He was in Likalaneng in here at this thing.

Now he was saying they should pass him and what would happen to him eventually?
He should just be thrown away. “The one who refuses to sign you should pass him”. We had to, you hear that I am saying that this is the thing that was done, so that these people should sign.

When was it?
Ache, I forget as to which time it was ntate, which days it was. I think it was during the month. It is before the twelfth month. I think it was during the eleventh month.

You ended up signing when? When was it when you ended up?
No, it was after, it was before the end of the month of Christmas. That was when we were signing these things of payments. These ones which we sign by force of the fields these ones.

But did you end up convincing yourselves that your fields had been measured in a way that satisfied you?
No, no, no, no, by who? Where were we? When it was said that, that thing. It is said what is this? They say “Here is something” they do not say when you do what it looks at this field. It is immediately said, you are going around carrying some metals, just like this one. That you are carrying this one. It is said, “It has made these many hectares, it has made these many hectares”. You hear that you are being told? You are told just like a child.
Section 16
But were you there?
You were where? Even just to see with my eyes, I did not see. Even as I am talking to you like this, truly. There is not even a person who may appear here who drove me and I went to see my fields.

And he measured in your presence?
And he measured in my presence. He is lying the one who may appear saying that. That is, all here, these people of mine, here all of them. There is not one who may appear and say so. He would not appear and say he was once called. Whether me being there or me not being there. Or say to me the chief “Call these people of yours here this little person wants it that his field should be measured at a certain place”. No, he would not speak that thing. He would be lying and speaking a lie. Only that we told in a morabaraba (this is a game, but used here to mean tricky or confusing) fashion that: “It is like this. It is like this, your field is like this. It is like this, it has yielded these many acres. It has yielded these many hectares”.

And we are paying you this much?
And we are paying you this much. We are told like that, yes. That is, they say “You would be bound that your money should appear being this much, your field is this much it has yielded these many hectares”. Bloody fool.

Is it the case that there is a thing that you do here, so that the animals should not end up exceeding the carrying capacity of pasture? That is, that it should be a reasonable number that shall not be more than pasture?
Of what? You are starting to invite trouble now. Of what? Even if a thing destroys pasture, look. Right now they have ever. It was said that we are going. Do you see this vale, how it is because of these cattle to just roam about, because I refused completely. I said, “’Matsapane (the chieftainess under who he is as a village headman) you should not reserve this grazing area altogether. We are going, we are going to put this grass of ours into the highlands water, inside of water”. Just look at those oxen when they walk. They are roaming. You see as to what kind of smelling they are causing now. A thing that destroys ntate. The thing that destroys grass is the matter of crowding animals. Crowding animals ntate is a terrible danger. It is a terrible danger. In my growing up, me, I did not know as to an animal is crowded in what way.

To crowd?
Aikhona, crowding and it being said that they should go there. They should go there. Pastures being changed. It is a terribly new thing to me that one, to my ears. Animals ntate, if there were to be left and allowed to roam here, all places here. They cannot destroy that grass, never. Just like here it is, even now you can see, just like when you just look. There, when you, you could say there is a place that has been reserved. There is not a place that has been reserved here, no.
Section 17
But just like a person who lived here for a long time, let us leave the matter that you are leaving now. This time that you lived here not knowing that you are going, is it the case that you had a way that you could say, “No, let us not increase animals and allow them to be more than pasture”? Was it there that sort of thing?
Ache, it is not there that thing. We do not know it.

There is no such thing?
We do not know it, that thing. That is, a person just rears his animals in a manner that he just likes.

Where soil is concerned? What about the soil? What do you do to make sure that it stays in a fertile condition? Is there nothing that you do?
I did show and I said. The soil we have to turn it when we finish harvesting, or during the seventh month. Even long after communal grazing of fodder would have happened, you turn. It would be then that you have gathered your soil so that it stays being well. So that when the months like the eighth arrive, when there enters, it would be that it is alright.

You have how many cattle?
Right now ntate, my cattle are finished.

Ao banna.
Truly they are finished my friend. I have only two cattle of oxen, even then.

Oo, for purposes of ploughing?
For purposes of ploughing.

End Notes
Lerole refers to the year 1933 when there was a red dust that accompanied a short lived sun eclipse. This is also the date associated with the height of depression, characterised by drought and enormous shortage of food in Lesotho.

This seems to suggest the practice where instead of buying maize seed every season, at each planting season the villagers exchange with one another maize from their previous harvest to use as seed.