photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary










Ha Tsapane


November 1997



Section 1
Yes ntate Tanki, yes, could it be ntate you are a person who was born here in this village of Ha Tsapane?
Yes, I was born in the village here.

Yes, in what year? Or your years are how many?
I have years that are seven tens and two units.

Just like you are saying that you were born here, could it be your family has always been here from a long time ago?
From long long ago.

It is not a thing that you can remember?

Could it be ntate you have children?

They are how many ntate?
I have children - those who are alive are three; two passed away.

Oo, ntate, what are they doing now?
This other one has been welcome/accepted/adopted, these other two have been married - there remains one young man, he is still here.

Right in the village here?
Right in the village here.

What is he doing?
There is nothing that he is doing; he is a person who herds, who plants (practises agriculture) only.

Oo. Oo, ntate the wife... [what about] her?

No, yours.
No, her work is to hoe and to cook only, and to harvest.

Oo, oo, the wife of your child - [what about] her?
Even she, her work is to cook, and hoeing and to harvest. Because her husband has not been hired.
Section 2
Oo ntate. Now could it be ntate now can you tell me in the manner of making oneself a living, which one is it? Because I heard a lot of people actually saying agriculture is the one which is important here. Could it be you, you are looking at what especially?
Agriculture is the one that I see we actually live on a lot here; because we find that even this food we are able to sell and be able to wear and to clothe the children with [money from the sale of] this food.

Now ntate let us come to this matter, when drought has struck like this, how does it affect your harvest how?
Drought sometimes strikes just like you see, like this. But at some time well, we shall still be able to eat.

Are there other ways that you are able to bring in some money?
When the problems are there of money, we sometimes brew beer so that we able to get some tickeys (money).

Let us now come to the matter of services of the public; maybe when you are ill you go where? Or you go to Sesotho doctors or to the hospital?
When I am ill, when the Sesotho doctor fails, I go to the European one or one that uses European methods in Likalaneng.

Could it be earlier, before this road of the Project was constructed, what did you do?
We were able to ride on horses and go to the doctors in places like Teyateyaneng, places like Maseru.

How much time on horseback does it take to go to Maseru?
It is one day, on the second you arrive.

On matters like banks, is it the case that they are things that you now use?
No, we have not yet used them.

According to you ntate could it be you see this road of the Project having helped with what?
This road that has been made by the Project, it has usefulness - because it is here vehicles are able to reach, people are able to make their little businesses, they are able to take things and put them in their homes.

I am coming to another matter; beer - we are leaving aside the Sesotho beer - is it a thing that is obtainable in the village here?
Yes, it is obtainable, easily, because of this road.

Yes, let me come to the disease of koatsi (Sesotho word normally used to refer to anthrax but now used to refer to AIDS) which is a thing which is very well known in Lesotho here. Here is it a thing that once was visible or is it a thing which is known?
The one of koatsi, it ended a long time ago, I do not know when it was.
Section 3
Yes ntate, but not of the animals, the one of people?
No, it is has not yet been here.

Now ntate, theft - is it the case that it is a thing which is here?
It is a thing that is here.

How strong is it?
A lot; it is strong.

It is theft of what kind; breaking into houses or they steal what?
It is things like animals; in the houses no, even if you were just to go and spend a month without having locked it you will find this house still being as it was [when you left]; it is only the rat that will destroy your things.

This theft - is it the one that comes from outside or - there is still some that comes from inside the village here?
It comes from inside the village, it comes from outside.

On the point of abducting people, here?
It is animals only.

Yes, here you said people are mostly for agriculture. Women and men do the same tasks or are they different?
They come together for work; just like when we hoe, we will come together; sometimes we brew beers and we make matsema (communal labour) and we are going to hoe there at your [field].

Are there schools here in the village ntate?
A school in the village here it is only one, there it is.

It is a school for where?
It is the school for Molika-liko Ha Tsapane.

These ones of lebollo (circumcision) - you can say what about them? Are they here?
Yes, they are sometimes there in this same place.

They are for boys and girls?
It is only boys inside this place.

Meaning that right now they are still at mophatong (circumcision lodge)?
It is that some are still to go [later]. The girls no.
Section 4
Churches - where are they in the village here?
It is the church of France and the Roman one only.

People from other villages come to these same churches?
Yes. The one that is here is the French one; the one of Rome is at Ha Seoli, but we still go there

Here in the village could it be the customs of Sesotho like mokhibo (women’s dance), like mohobelo (men’s dance) are they things that you sometimes perform?
They are still performed those things and it would be nice, things like mokhibo; and even the children play here.

Could it be what time of the year?
In fact these games of adults we are going to play them at Christmas.

What about in the middle of the year?
It is in March; they sometimes play then and the adults would also play; they just prepare food for themselves here and they just play.

Other ways of entertainment, are they here?
Some concerts at the school there, but not in the village.

I request that we come to this matter of witchcraft. Is it the case that it exists here?
I cannot provide evidence that witchcraft is a thing that is here.

It has not been visible?
It has not been visible; it is just a thing that is talked about.

Now here ntate, you have chosen to stay where?
I am coming to Likalaneng here.

You do not want to go down to the lowlands?

The reason is which one?
Yes, my reason is here, I am looking that may be I will find a little plot [of land] there because I often see that they are there. Because that is the place that I am used to.

Meaning that in the lowlands you were not going to get fields?
Ache, it is said that they will buy for you; I might be bought a rock where I will not get food.

You have also already chosen the kind of house that you are going to live in?
Yes, but it has not been built, they have not yet dug the site.
Section 5
Just like you are going to leave here, your family has always lived here including your ancestors. The graves - what has been said about them?
We agreed by saying that they shall take the graves and take them where I am going.

The expenses of doing that work – what they have said what about them?
They said they are going to be paid by them.

Because you live on agriculture, when you go to Likalaneng you are going to live how?
On agriculture.

[In] some villages agriculture is not a thing that they live on that much; that is, things like vegetables, like maize and so on. You will find that a person plants this one-of-the-ground (euphemism for cannabis); it gives him money and he is able to live and to make the children live; could it be you work like that?
Oo, cannabis?

Yes ntate.
We are also planting it like that; I will still see if it is planted in that area, if it is planted I will also plant it.

Does it bring in money for you?

Committees - are there ones here that help the chief to rule or is it the chief who looks after himself?
The committee is here.

It was elected by the people?
It was elected by the people.

People who are not in the committee when a pitso (meeting) has been called - is it the case that they have a chance to air their feelings?
We suggest ntate.

Yes ntate.
When it has been called, a pitso, and there is something that you want to suggest you can suggest it.

When you are going to separate like this how many are going to go with you to Likalaneng?
Hee, most of us are going to different areas and we are going to other people who we do not know if we shall understand one another in language.

In other villages you will find that when there is a dead person there is an association that helps with money could it be it is a thing that is here?
It is right here in the village.
Section 6
When you are separating like this, it is going to give problems-
They will have problems, and we are in fact fighting to correct them. Now we are separating we are arranging whether we shall still help one another even when we are dispersed, and also this money of ours - what shall we do with it? Perhaps we should take it and put it in the bank, so that those from there, should know that such and such a person is dead. We should help one another.

On the point of other surrounding villages, is it the case that you have good relations with them?
We understand one another; we make them live those from surrounding villages; even in the [burial] associations here we join with them.

You have always been faced with agriculture or you have worked somewhere?
I started by working at the place of gold; after I saw problems at home here, the old man having no [good] health, I stopped [going to the place of] gold and I sat down and I used agriculture.

At the place of gold you worked where?
I worked in Brakpan and Prins. One time I was boss-boy at other times I was at the store.

Could it be Sesotho medicines grow here?
Yes, those plants grow, the ones that are dug. Now [inaudible words] at far off places.

Marriages when they are here ntate, are they according to Sesotho custom or are they are now the new European ones?
Marriages have turned against us also because the girls are no longer asked for; they no longer have white weddings. It would happen that when you become aware you hear it already being said that the daughter of so-and-so is already there. And then at some point they arrange weddings thereafter. There are no longer white weddings.

Just like you are saying that there is theft here, the police - are you able to call them quickly?
We always call them at other times, and they would come late when the animals are likely to be far away; when we wake and we have not checked their tracks as to where they have gone. When we come back having failed, tomorrow one runs, he is sent to the police.

What is it that you will miss when you have moved from Ha Tsapane?
Here? It is nice; it is warm even in winter I do not get cold and even my animals do not get cold - they stay nicely on the vale here; and the soil of here.
Section 7
Ever since you stayed here, what is it that you think has improved this village?
It is the love of the people of this village; love when it is there in the village, the village becomes beautiful because we do not know how to steal from one another’s house even when you are not there.

Other villages people quarrel because of politics, how is it here?
No, each and every one chooses where they like; that is to the choice of the person it has never made us quarrel in the village. Even at work we still work together.

Ntate, which is the way of finding news here?
Radios - they catch stations.

These days because of the roads is it easy to go to Maseru?
It is easy. I can go and come back [the same day].

In the past you used to do what?
In the past we used to walk on foot. It would happen that when you arrive in Thaba-Bosiu you would find even those from Thaba-Bosiu leaving in the morning; you would then join them and you would meet those who are coming up (back to the highlands).

It used to be difficult hee!
But we did not see difficulty because that was the way we lived.

Ntate when you were growing up could it be you once herded?

How was the life of herdboys?
We used to herd at home in the village and we also herded in the plateaus (at the animal posts).

At the animal posts, you took how long a time?
We used to take a long time, all of five months without coming home.

Now food where did you get it from?
No, food he will - one comes home and takes it; tomorrow (i.e. another time) it is you, if there is no person [from home] to take it there.

These animals found water how?
They got it easily.

What is it that has changed in the village here?
Yes, among these little children they are changing because of the European [and European trained] doctors who are taken to the clinics who have [medical] books so that even when they are ill in future you should be able to take them because when they do not have a book, the doctor does not help.
Section 8
On the schools of lebollo, the teacher is elected by who?
By the owner of the horn he chooses for himself that ‘I like so-and-so’. After that you will look for a young man to assist him.

Ntate how do you feel when you are going to leave this village of yours?
We are pained because where we are going we do not know how we are going to live.

The promises that you have been given by the Project, could it be they are which ones so that you shall be able to live?
For lijelello (tasty food to eat with bland food such as papa), they said they are going to give us money so that we shall be able to buy those vegetables.

It is a thing of month after month?
No, annually.

Yes, but being people we shall also look for something for ourselves; and see what we eat on the side. We cannot expect money; money is a thing that gets finished in a day.

Could it be you have animals?

It is cattle, it is donkeys, it is horses, it is goats, it is sheep.

They help you where?
They help me a lot also; they fight a real war because I shear wool/mohair, even when you come crying also I sell to you one of them and I get money to cover certain purposes.

Yes, what about milk, do you sell it?
No, milk is not sold here altogether. To plant with cattle, yes, there we help one another; milk when it is there and say it is not there at your home, you are poured milk so that the children can go and eat; not one that is sold; they are just given. There is no child who can eat [papa] on its own when others are eating with milk.

On the point of school, it is how many children who have not attended school here?
I do not know them by number.

Those who have attended school what thing of benefit have they brought to the village here?
Yes, the children of this village who have attended school truly the benefit of [their knowledge of] agriculture we have not seen it. Because a deed here it is, they do not get work, just like you can find that that child has found work and now they will bring a salary in their home. Even now we are still looking for jobs for them. Even if it were to be there where you work and you say that I like them here and they come- they are the one who will come and benefit us here when they still this side and has a job. [This does not make sense even in the Sesotho transcription]. Now a child who does not work is not able to bring a benefit to their home.
Section 9
Could it be the food that you eat of lijelello has it always been the same or has it changed as time went by?
It has always been the same.

Wild vegetables what about them?
They are there, they are collected.

Is it a thing that just grows like the cow-of-the-ground (cannabis)?

The ones of the law have not bothered you with it?
They are no longer troublesome right now. It is a thing that we are still stealing ourselves and we do not do it plainly; when the police are there we still hide [the cannabis]; even when you come carrying it on your shoulder and they are there [somebody will say] “Hee monna, hide [the cannabis] there”. Not that you should make it apparent [that you are carrying cannabis].

The people who buy from you are those who come from where? From the lowlands or from where?
Even those who come from across [national boundaries] of Xhosas; them they buy better truly.

When thieves have been arrested, how do you normally solve? Not only thieves, when you have problems what do you normally do?
Yes, it is the [responsibility of the] committee of the development council, and the men of the village; when we have sat down we shall make - the chief being there - we will make a decision; if this thing is to pass on to the court of the judges it should be able to pass when it has defeated us; if it has not defeated us we should decide it.

I saw a number of horses here, what are they used for?
They are ridden, they are loaded on, the games for them are many, some of them are made to amble, some are raced.

Do people sometimes make money by things like races?

Ever since you have been here, this village has always been this size or some people came during some years?
Yes, this village has always been like this, and it is being made to grow by the children of here who are being born here, some are going down to go and build down [in the lowlands] there.
Section 10
In the village here ntate when you wake up in the morning you work how? Together or each and every person looks at his matters?
During the times of work when you wake up you go to your work. In the evening when we come back you will still talk to one another “Hela, I have worked like this”. He will also say “Hela I worked like this”.

The little ones they remain with who?
They are playing [pointing to children playing].

Yes ntate.
Yes, they remain with those who remain at nearby fields.

The fields which are far are where?
All around this place all of it.

And those who herd?
Aa, those who herd, they just roam around the hillsides here.

Ache ntate, truly I was happy to talk to you; this thing that we are doing is a very important one.
No, we have hit them for now.

I am very thankful ntate.
I am also thankful; you should continue coming to see us in future.

Ntate indeed it is like that.