photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary










Ha Ntsi


October 1997



Section 1
Mrs Matefo Khoele, my name is Moshe Tsehlo, my home is at Ha-Molenqoane and I am looking for views of people who are staying in these villages that are going to receive people from Likalaneng - due to the construction of the Mohale Dam, and I would like to know who you are i.e your name, the name of the village where you are staying, who is your chief.
My name is Mrs Matefo Khoele. I am staying at the village called Ha Ntsi. I am ruled by Chief Libe Thamae. I am a woman aged 19 years old. I got married in 1997 in May. I do not have a child yet. I am living with my husband. As to how we live, we depend entirely on agriculture. During harvest we collect all our food from the fields, bring them home for storage and during the time for planting gardens we plant and when ripe we use them for daily food and sell others to get money for other reasons. In this family where I am staying we have a big family. I also live with Mr Motau Khoele who has a family and one child and the wife is not working but both of them are self-employed and running businesses.

So you mentioned that you have just arrived at this village because you just got married. Can you just explain as to where is your original village, who was your chief and how many were you in your family?
Where I came from is the village called Ha Mapale. We were ruled by Chief Mosuoe Theko. In my family we were six and now we are five because the other one passed away in 1993.

Thank you for that information. I would also like to know that you are within
Khoele’s family...what traditional Bosotho cultures are being used here? Do they differ from those of your original family or home or are they the same?
I have seen that they are very different from those that I know from my home/family. When I arrived here lingoetsi (newly married women) were made to wear animal skins when pregnant and breasts were left bare.

Meaning that they were not used in your original home.
Yes. In fact they were not used at my home at all.

One of the things that one might have interest in is this life where one depends entirely on agriculture, where you indicated that you live by planting, how do you generally look at that life i.e. crops in the field - good or bad?
This life looks very comfortable to me because it is the type of life that I have grown up with and I have seen that we have always had good harvests for many years and that sometimes we sell them and have a lot of money which helps us to send the children to school.
Section 2
One may also want to know whether since you came to this village, issues like respect, particularly family respect, not necessarily your family, but in the whole village, how is it?
The few families that I have seen, though I have not had a long time in this village, I have met very nice and sociable people who know how to respect other people and live together peacefully.

If we go back to the issue of agriculture, the problem of rainfall, the sun, or drought, don’t you see around Thaba-bosis here some difference in terms of harvest?
On that question I can respond by saying that at the time when there is no rainfall, we only have sunshine. Our crops in the field automatically have problems due to lack of rainfall. But if we talk in terms of gardens at our homes, we usually draw water from our nearby river and use small irrigation methods.

But what about in the fields. Are there no traditional methods used in times of drought to bring rain? Are there any traditional methods being used today?
Nowadays I have not seen any old methods being used to bring the rainfall to the fields.

But do you know if any traditional methods were being used to bring rainfall during drought?
During the old days when there was drought, I know that people used to go to certain places to pray for rain.

In other words you know see a major difference in tradition that relates to drought.

Which is the other difference apart from that of tradition that you see being lived out nowadays, concerning life in general?
What I see is that old traditional methods have been abandoned. People are just living without adhering to our grandfathers’ norms and have opted to live like white people.

But what do you think is the main reason for this big change in life?
I think the main reason for this big change is that the Basotho as a whole are people who do not have confidence in themselves. They like sitting idle and waiting for other people to do things for them, especially white people.

In other words, you want to show that the coming of white people in Lesotho made the Basotho unable to find alternative ways of living.

But can you give me just one example to substantiate this view?
Yes. I can give you examples on this issue. The first one is that the Basotho’s way of dressing has changed a lot today. I can explain by saying that the good old days the Basotho were not wearing these clothes that we are using today. They used to wear animal skins. You would not have been able to see any woman walking in the street wearing trousers. They were very respectful and humble people. Boys used to wear litsuea (cloth worn by boys). There was no stealing and people used to work for themselves.
Section 3
The other issue is related to initiation schools - do people here at Ha Ntsi like it or not?
At Ha Ntsi I have seen that initiation for women is much preferred because across this village there is a place where this activity is taking place. But with regards to men, well, I have not seen anything - it looks like they do not prefer it for men.

At the beginning of our discussion, you mentioned that you have no children. Ultimately will you prefer to see your daughter attending this initiation school here at Ha Ntsi?
No, I do not want my daughter to be initiated, because these initiation activities were done a long time ago and today life is quite different from the time when initiations were important. Now it is necessary that my daughter attends school and does away with initiation activities so that she finds good ways of living in the future.

In other words you are saying that somebody who has gone to initiation school is wasting their time and see those that have gone to this school as not being able to see the importance of the modern school.
I see them as people who do not see the importance of modern school.

You also mentioned that at the Ha Ntsi it is only women who are being initiated. Do you think the reason is that women/girls at Ha Ntsi do not want to go to the modern school?
Yes. Today you can see that nowadays children do not care about modern school. They are looking for nice times which are always useless in their lives.

Meaning that it is nice at the initiation of school.
It is not nice but I think it might be nice. But I also do not know because I have no attendance at that school but also think it is one way of running away from parents because parents still want them to go to school and they run away from parents, insisting that they must go to school and hide themselves there.

Now, in conclusion, there are people who are going to be resettled from the Mohale Dam at Likalaneng who will be coming to this area. What are your views about this situation?
My view about these people to be resettled around this area particularly those who will be coming to Ha Ntsi are... In our village here we still have people who have certain weaknesses. We will like to have people who like peace, people who can help build the relationship between people and I hope among those people who are coming, there will be people who can help build this good relationship.

In other words, you think you will have more development in this village if such people can come to this area?
Yes. I think we will have more improvement if such people can come.
Section 4
But don’t you think the way of life at Ha Ntsi will change when such people do come here?
Life at Ha Ntsi especially because we are near Maseru, I am not happy with. And I think when these people do come because their way of life is different from urban life, I think when they come here life will be different here. We will be able to readopt some of the old ways of living which are good and do away with this foreign way of living.

In other words you will be happy to receive such people?
Yes. I will be very happy to receive such people.

Mrs Matefo, I am very pleased that you have given me your time to discuss the above issue and I promise to come back to you later.
Thanks I will be grateful if you can come again.