photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary












October 1997



Section 1
When were you born?
I was born in 1940.

Where did your parents originate?
I have learned that they came from Khalong a Baroa, in a village called Ha Ramotroane. Then they moved to this place. I am a son of Mr and Mrs Tlolo.

Are you saying your parents’ surname was Tlolo?
Yes, and what made our surnames to differ is that I adopted my grandfather’s surname which is Makatsela. Tlolo was our father, and my brothers and sister changed their surname from Tlolo to Makatsela when they were at school. But for me, this was not the case as I was always using Makatsela.

OK. Have you been here throughout your life?
I grew up here and my father had four fields at this place, and at a later stage my brother was given two fields which we both developed in the sense that we both prepared the fields to make them possible to be ploughed by the cattle.

Do you mean you developed a field?
Yes, both of us developed the two fields with our own hands and the use of cattle. With the other fields, I cannot tell how they became developed as I have known them as already developed and they provided our family with food. My family never bought food except during low yields caused by droughts. When yields were OK, we never bought food. There was also plenty of livestock, you can even see those kraals (livestock enclosures) over there.

Oh yes, I see them.
You can see them. They are big. There was plenty of livestock. I grew up in that environment until I went to primary school at Hamoutsi.

How old were you when you went to school?
I cannot remember. I took three years at Hamoutsi Primary School because the school ended with class three, then I went to further my studies at Mazenod where I took only one year because our local priest complained of his Christians who attend school in other missions. I came back from Mazenod after a year to attend school at our mission in Ha Ramarakabei where I did my standard five. When I was doing my standard six, I was expelled from school by the priest because I was involved in a dispute with a girl. I then came home. It was in 1959, I can remember because I was unable to write exams in November. The following year I went to attend school at Nazareth and I was able to complete my primary education in 1960. In 1961 I moved to Maseru to work at Lesotho’s technical institute until 1962 when my employment was terminated. I then went to a driving school.
Section 2
Did you manage to get a driver’s license?
Yes, I did. And in 1963 I went to the mines to work in a mine, which was called Steinfountein, until 1965 when I came back home. I returned to the mines towards the end of 1965 to work in a mine which is today called Harties no7. I worked there until 1992 when I came back home. In 1993 I was not working and in 1994 my parents died and I had to come back here to stay here because there was nobody left.

Do you mean they died in the same year?
Yes, and since my first marriage in 1970, I stayed at Nazareth and in 1987 November I married my second wife and stayed with her in Maseru in a village called Khubetsoan. So after the death of my parents, our family decided I could come back home.

What has happened to your house in Khubetsoana?
It is still there because my wife and my children are staying there. My children attend school in Maseru.

Sorry. Did you say your children are still in Maseru?
Yes, some attend school while the elder one does piece jobs.

Who are you staying with here?
I am with my youngest son, with my second wife. My son is schooling here.

Are there any schools here?
Yes. Molika-liko Primary School. Furthermore, about life here I am well clear, know everything, since I was born until now. But when I came to stay here I started to hear that LHDA has plans about our village. When I came to stay here in 1993, the settlement issue was still in its early stages, all its development occurred in my presence. I know all of LHDA’s promises and I have heard them from LHDA employees themselves and LHDA contractors. But as time went by tension started to build up due to changes in promises. When we asked them about these changes in promises, they told us that initially promises were made by other contractors and now there are new contractors. We were promised a lot of things such as farming centres where we will be trained [in] vocational skills including commercial livestock farming, poultry [farming], and they even told us that those interested in keeping goats that produce five litres of milk will be helped. It was the first time that I learnt of a goat that can produce five litres of milk and I was so shocked.

I see.
Now all these promises are no longer mentioned. Now the talk of the day is that “you are leaving” next year in February. No more promises. We are told that we are leaving but were not told what it is that we are taking along with us, especially our property.
Section 3
Which property are you referring to?
I am talking about our fields, trees and others because with houses they have each they will build new ones and even the kraals they will build new ones or compensate us for the other kraals. But when one looks at the size of the proposed sites they are not even the size of the kraal. Many of those sites will be able to accommodate one house and one kraal, then what about the other kraals?

Can you please try to explain, I am not clear.
Here at home, we own a huge piece of land, but where we are going to, land is small. It has been measured, they say it is 50m by 50m.

So 50m x 50m will not be able to accommodate these kraals. I do not know about others but where I am going to be resettled in Likalaweng, they said they are going to give us 50mx50m. We are told that we will be given around R1800.00 annually for the fields. But if one wants a lump sum, they will give R37000.00 as a total of one’s compensation, but this is for one acre.
Now the problem is that I do not know the number of acres in my family’s field and nobody here at the village can tell me the number of acres his field has. We were told that our fields were measured but we still do not know the number of acres of our fields. This implies that the LHDA is in a better position. Say my field is one acre or three acres while its actual size is five acres, since the LHDA knows that we do not know the size of our fields. When they realise that they have limited funds they are going to reduce the number of acres in our fields.
Even our houses and kraals were measured and we were around when they were being measured. But we were not told their measurements and it is to the LHDA’s advantage to build small houses for us because we are not aware of the size of our houses. Even though they are saying they want to build us bigger houses than the ones we presumably own.
My family had two roundels (round thatched houses) and my brother had a house which we bought for R100.00 here in the village. It is also included in the package. This house was roofless and they told me to roof it so that it could be included in the package. Then my problem is that I fail to understand the reason behind forcing us to roof those roofless houses because we are leaving this place, so one begins to wonder and ask questions like: who is going to live in those houses. This implies that LHDA does not care about us because it wants us to spend more money on the property that we are leaving behind and yet we do not know how we are going to survive in the resettlement areas.
These are the problems that I can identify with resettlement and even with the issue of fields. I am not satisfied because they say the compensation on fields of R1800.00 will be given for a period of 50years but when you calculate R1800.00 x 50years it is not R37000.00. So one wonders about the rest of the money, where does it go? If this was fair, R1800.00 should be correctly multiplied by 50years and the total should be given to us so that I can deposit it into my account and be able to earn interest. So I want LHDA to tell me to whom does the interest go? I do not believe that LHDA will compensate us, I will wait until the last moment. I still maintain that the compensations [will] just fade away like earlier promises because we are told to leave before we are compensated. I suggest that we be compensated before we leave and we should have full control of our money.
Here we have fields where we cultivate maize, sorghum and beans. We also cultivate fodder for our livestock and some of this fodder is sold. So the problem is where we are going, we are not going to have fields. The other important thing which is our main source of income is cannabis. Do you know what is cannabis?
Section 4
Yes, I know it.
People always come here to buy cannabis from us, and it helps us a lot because with it we are able to pay our children’s school fees and maintain our families. Cannabis is really important to us. Even during Christmas our children are able to have new clothes, such that an outsider may even think we are employed. Maize and other crops cannot match the amount of money we get from cannabis. I even prefer to sell cannabis than to work in the mines because I get a lot of money from it. I know for sure that if I can sell two bags of cannabis I will be able to pay school fees for my kids and still have something left for maintaining the family.
We were also promised to get jobs during the construction of roads and other things. But people from Ha Mohale, Jordan, Sequnyane and Bokong have been employed by the contractors and yet they are not going to be resettled, while we and those to be affected by the dam are not employed. This includes people from villages such as Ha Hapane, Mamokoluoa and Ha Lekhera. There are also people of Matebeing who own fields here which are to be affected by the dam. They are also not working and yet they were told not to cultivate their fields this season because a crusher site is to be situated on their fields. The contractors once came here together with the LHDA people to take a list of our names but nothing has been done to this day.

Have you ever tried to question the LHDA people on this matter.
Yes, we are told that preparations are still under way. I have heard from my colleagues that people get jobs through bribery and we do not have the required bribe and this is money.
Before I forget, there is this issue of natural vegetation which we are to leave behind and which keeps us with medicine. When a child is sick, one quickly digs up the necessary herbs and these herbs are our medicines, especially when our bodies are now used to them. We are then told that there will be some money that will be given to our new chiefs and village development councils where we are going and we wonder why that money is given to those people and not to us. Then I begin to realise that this money is buying refuge for us.

I am lost, which money are you referring to here?
I refer to the money which has been declared as compensation for the loss of the natural vegetation and grazing land.
Section 5
How important is that natural vegetation to you other than using them for medical purposes.
We use the grass for roofing our houses, grazing land for our livestock and finally our well being. So since we are the ones who have lost, the compensation should come to us not the village development committees.

Sorry. Going back to the issue of cannabis, when did it become the main source of income for you?
Let me tell you this. Cannabis is illegal and people are afraid of being caught. In the past my father used to cultivate cannabis just for smoking, not commercial purposes. But now people cultivate it only for commercial purposes. At first people cultivated it together with maize but now we even cultivate it in our house surroundings. You cannot see it now because we could not cultivate it because of a lack of rain. But if you can go down by the fields, you can still see some.

What are your other sources of income beside cannabis?
During good seasons we produce more maize and wheat of which surplus is sold. Wool and mohair are also another source of income.

What are the other reasons for keeping livestock besides for wool and mohair?
I keep cattle because I plough with them. Horses are a mode of transport here and donkeys are also useful because they are used as carriers.

Which of these livestock seems to be liked by more people in this village?
Those are sheep and goats because one is able to sell wool and mohair annually and also because they are able to increase in numbers quicker than other livestock. This is so because both kinds breed twice a year. Cattle are also of great importance because they are used to plough. People here do not consider milk to be important because it is not even sold by those with cows.

Just as it seems that you are about to leave, what is going to happen to the graves?
I was just about to address that. We have to exhume our corpse and leave along with them and the LHDA has agreed to incur the funeral expenses of reburying the bodies. The LHDA has also promised that all corpses, no matter their number per individual, will be buried in one day each with its own coffin. I even understood that the LHDA will provide a bull for that funeral and even the compensation will be provided by the LHDA.

Which compensation are you referring to?
I am talking about the compensation that one gets if he decides to incur the expenses, or if one decides to leave graves behind.

Can you please tell me about the things that you think it won’t be easy for you to forget about with this place, that is, memories with this place?
Firstly, my father’s big field, down the valley which was a source of food for the whole family throughout my childhood. All my brothers and sisters knew we all survived because of that field. This is to say we grew up feeding on that field. Among all my brothers and sisters, I am the only one who is still alive. This field has also been of great importance to my family as a whole, in the sense that my son and I consume food from this field. It is so big that it allows us to grow different crops on it at the same time.
Section 6
Have you ever been involved in commercial farming, since you are now mentioning this issue of cultivating different crops in one field?
To me commercial farming only applies with the cultivation of cannabis. This is so because cannabis is not consumed but provides us with cash. Its like one is employed and not only employed by a small firm but tends to portray an image of a person employed by a big firm.

Going back to your childhood. Can you remember how did your father manage to raise you and your brothers and sisters?
Are you asking about raising us up from childhood to maturity?

My father relied solely on agriculture. This included relying on wool and mohair and production of wheat and maize. My father was never involved in growing cannabis. The other thing is that my father died before I matured. During those days, school fees were very, very cheap. This is the reason I was able to go to school even after the death of my father. At primary level, our parents only incurred expenses in purchasing exercise books and pens for us.

Where did you say you attended your primary level?
At Ha Montsi.

Why Ha Montsi instead of Molika-liko primary school, because you mentioned earlier there is a primary school in this village.
Because during those days, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lesotho Evangelical Church (LEC) were not on good terms. So Roman Catholic Christians had to attend Roman Catholic schools, so the primary school in our village belonged to the LEC. The situation was not the same as it is today.

Have your children ever stayed here?
Only those that I had with my first wife and last-born with my second wife. I had four children with my first wife and three with my second wife.

What made you marry two wives?
My first wife cheated on me when I was in the mines by being involved in a love affair with another man in my absence. So the only option for me was to marry again. With my second wife we are doing OK. It’s only that she spends most of her time in Maseru to look after my children in Maseru.