photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary












February 1998



Section 1
You were born when? Just tell as to you were born when.
Just look for yourself the passport, here it is.

Oo, it shows that you were born in 1951. In other words your years are four tens and seven units.

Yes, you were born where?
Right here. At Molika-liko here.

Your family came from where when they came and built here?
My family comes from Mohale’s Hoek.

You are in which generation? That is, the people who came here were your grandmother or?
My father, his home is in Mohale’s Hoek, he then came and built here.

If I were to say to you, explain to another person who has not been to Lesotho here, explain to him how the people of Molika-liko here live, what would you say? A person who has not been here at all, and I say please explain to this person as to the people of Molika-liko.
The people of here live in a better way, truly. They live in a better way. Truly, where food is concerned in the fields here- aa, they (food in the fields) are much better.

Yes; and what else?
Even the animals of our place here, they are better than other animals. In winter especially, there is no snow. It is warm here.

Yes; when it has fallen it melts quickly?

You have how many fields?
I have one field.

It is how big? It is how many acres? [after a pause] Do you not know how many acres it is?
Section 2
You plough it with what?
I plough it with cattle.

You just plough it each and every year?

The animals; you have how many of them?
Animals I have animals, ntate. It is 13 cattle.

Is that all? You do not have sheep?
I have them.

How many are they?

24 goats?

Goats are 18. The children are how many?
Hee! I have how many children? [To one of the children] How many are you?

They are how many ntate, Laurent in number?
I have six children.

They are six. The eldest is how many years [old]?
The eldest was born in ’73.

’73, this last one?
This last one is two years and they are catching the third.

When a year has been good, and the rains have fallen, from this field of yours you harvest how much?
When a year has been good I harvest a lot because I easily make a ten and two units of bags.

Of what, of maize?
Of maize.

The time when you have harvested little then it would be when you have harvested how much?
Truly when I have harvested a little I still go as far as seven like that.

You plant maize only.
I normally plant maize; sometimes I would also plant peas. Peas actually do not go well themselves.

How much do you normally harvest it?
Yes, I normally harvest two bags only.
Section 3
That is when you have harvested well?
Actually they refuse, peas refuse.

Now, maize when you have made a good harvest, you are able to feed the children and even take them to school (i.e pay their school fees) and even buy them clothes?
Yes, actually I take them to school. My children actually attend school.

From this same agriculture?
Vegetables; I plant vegetables.

Where, in the garden here?

And then you would sell?

Vegetables of what type?
Cabbage. It is only this year [and] it is because it has been said that we should not plant.

Right now you said you are working. Before you worked here is it the case that it used to be necessary when you had harvested well that you still had to supplement by working so that you should be able to send the children to school and also buy them clothes?
Yes ntate.

It was still necessary.
Yes ntate.

That you should supplement like that?
Yes ntate.

Now, this maize and these peas how do you alternate them? You skip a year when you have sown maize, and then it be peas, or it just happens when you have made a decision that you shall sow peas?
That is, when I have said that I am sowing maize only that year, I plant maize I do not plant peas.

Yes. Now this alternating, why is it? You sometimes think of sowing peas, why?
That is, I would be wanting them, so that I have them.

It is usually only the reason that you need peas?
Yes ntate.

Now, you think that these peas, what is it that you need to do so that they can succeed?
Ache, they are just eaten by that pest, this thing - plant lice.
Section 4
Plant lice?
Yes ntate; now them I find that they refuse one another with the soil. Peas here in home area actually they refuse altogether. Indeed, many fields are now refused by peas. They just want maize only.

But before were they still planted and they succeeded?

Before now?

It happened when that changed.
Ache, it is actually many years.

Yes. Now, you see like it is only if a thing that kills plant lice were to be looked for that they can succeed?
Yes. But now there is no chance because now we are emigrating.

Yes. The thing that troubles the agriculture of here very much here is which one? The difficulty that you might say is there in the agriculture of here, which one is it?
Ache, the difficulty of here in fact it is not there; because we do not use [artificial] fertiliser.

Yes, you do not use fertiliser altogether?
No ntate.

Even this dung of this thing?
As for dung, well, me I use dung only and there is nothing else [that I use]; I mix it with this seed.

Oo, when you are going to sow you mix seed with the dung?
Yes ntate.

Is it a thing that is done by each and every person here or they are few people who do it?
No, it is those and those (i.e a few) certain ones who [do it], many people are now sowing with European fertilisers like that.

Now, what do you do to it the dung when you put it into the planter with the seed?
This dung somewhat increases some fat (fertility, minerals) on the soil there.
Section 5
I am saying to you what do you to it? You put it in as it is or do you pulverise it?
No, I just put it in as it is. Just like I have collected it, like this. There it is, I have collected it together at the back there, it decomposes. And then we scoop it at the time when we are going to sow then. Because right now, is it not that we are just collecting it. There is nothing that is being sown. It will happen that at the time of planting it would have decomposed. We would scoop it and put it into the [planter] pot.

Now you are saying [snow?] gives you no problems at all?
No ntate.

It takes how much time to melt when it has fallen?
Here as soon as it stops falling. That time when it stops it also is no longer there.

Frostbite comes on the fifth month here.

Once only a year?
The fifth month that is frostbite when it comes here.

Even it does not bother you?
It does not bother ntate.

When you compare the amount of harvest at the time when you were still growing up and now, do you see like it has gone down or it has gone up? Harvest from the fields.
Right now I see like it has gone up.

You think it is why?
Indeed I usually see like it has gone up; I think it is going up a lot.

You think the reason that it should keep going up is which one?
I see like this soil is somewhat much better, that is the thing which is a reason.

It is improved by what?
Ache, I feel that I do not know.

But you see harvest being successful now more than earlier?
A lot ntate.

Have you worked at any other place other than in Molika-liko here?
That is

Have you worked at another place, other than in Molika-liko here?
In the mines?

For example, yes.
Yes, in the mines I have worked a lot.
Section 6
Yet I have heard it being said that, just like even you have just mentioned here, that you are able to harvest in a manner that you are able to make the children live. What was the thing that made you to go and work in the mines?
To the mines I actually went, in fact it was before. I had not yet married.

You had not married?

Now, what made you go? Is it the case that there was a problem that was already making you go there, seeing that you were not married and therefore it could be assumed that you did not have many pressing responsibilities?

Which one?
I wanted to work for myself also. I should wear trousers of my money.

But can you describe yourself as a person who was needy, so much so that you can go to the mines? Were you needy?
Well, I was not that needy.

Yes. Now the reason was which one?
I was not needy but I actually wanted that I should work.

What things are they which, normally when you need you have to leave from Molika-liko here? What are the things which you need in the house here, whenever, you find that you have to leave from here and go and look for them there?
Yes, hunger. When I find that there is a need for money and even the children shall be short of the money to go to school, I have to leave and go and look for work where I shall get it.

Please tell me about the planting of this thing that is called...

Yes. I want to know when you plant it, when you harvest it, how much you harvest and you sell it where?
Cannabis you can plant during the seventh month; if you can plant it during the eighth month or the ninth it does not have time. Now you know that you will harvest at Christmas that one. Just like now it is being harvested.

During Christmas?

These three months are adequate?
Yes, even right now it is being harvested.

These three months are enough?
Section 7
Ao banna!
Yes, cannabis if the rain say it just rains, it does not even have an argument. But it is not a thing which, likes a lot of rain; it just wants - its nature it needs just a little rain [word/phrase here inaudible] air only.

Now you harvest how many times, once?

That is, once you have sown, when you harvest you harvest?

It is not a thing that grows [from the stump etc] after that?

Oo. You sell it where?
Right here at in our area here.

Right here at home?

There are no people from outside who sometimes come here to buy it?
There people from outside who come and look for it. Who come from places like the Transkei...they do come here.

Now, what do you do about the price? That is, a person when he comes here and says I am giving you five rands and you should give me a bag, how do you normally know whether he is wrong or he is right?
No, a person when he comes here he gives me five hundred rands for a bag.

For a bag. Oo, you already know its price?

When you compare the expenses that you enter into when you plant maize and those that you enter into when you plant the same cannabis, you see more expenses as being which ones? That is, when you take the expenses of planting maize, and take the expenses for planting cannabis, you spend more when you plant which one?
It is the same. They are the same because they are weeded for in a similar manner.

They are weeded for?
Yes. Now I will look for people to weed for me there, it would be a piece job there. I will not finish that field weeding it alone. Now I will be with the mothers of the children (i.e. women) there. I am bound that I should look for people to do piece jobs there. And I pay them on a daily basis.

When you harvest? Even in harvesting it still requires effort similar to [harvesting] maize?
Even when you harvest you can also make letsema (communal labour). You can hire people there and they help you harvest.
Section 8
On money? The money of when you sell maize and the one of when you sell cannabis, which one is more?
The one of cannabis.

The one of cannabis is more. The villages whose people depend on buying food [grain] from here, which ones are they?
Here at Molika-liko here, even though they are few, they still buy food from other people right in the village here.

I wanted to know about those who come from other villages.
People who come from other villages like Bokong, there in Jorotane. These ones that end there. They buy food from here.

It is a big area Jorotane?
Yes, it is a big area. Starting from right in here to go as far as up there; they are not places that plant maize.

Why? They do not plant maize, why?
It is not planted, maize.

They plant what?
They live by planting wheat only and peas, and lentils, they are the things that they plant those ones; and this same cannabis. As for maize they take it from us here.

And you too when you need wheat you go to them?
When we need wheat we go to them.

Oo, actually we exchange?

Oo. The road is there here; this new one. Is it the case that it has the life of the mountains or it has caused problems?
As for this road it has improved people. As for us, we feel that we like it – if only we were not moving from here. We have suffered for a long time. Because [now] even when we have dead relatives, we now have a way of taking them, or even when a person is ill, here we are able to put him [in a vehicle] and take him to Lesotho (the lowlands) there.

But do you not now see like it will make it easy for the police to come here?
No, in fact, they no longer come; the police were many even in the old days they still used to come. They know in a straight way that that thing (i.e. cannabis) is planted [here].

Oo, it has never been a problem at all?
Section 9
Even now they are not a problem, the police?
No, truly. Well, it cannot be an undertaking that we undertake.

Yes. It is life.
No, it is life. Well, he will arrest me, I will not be killed.

No, you will not be killed. Let us talk about this matter of emigrating then. Please tell me as to these ones of the Highlands Water when they first came, when they first came to tell you that you must move away from here, what did they do? Do you still remember their very first meeting with you, as to you talked about what matters? When they first began at the beginning?
When they started these ones of the Highlands Water they spoke, me in fact they were actually talking to me, they said “When we make you emigrate [from] here, and we are going to improve you. Three years while we are improving you; we feed you even before you leave from here”. But now right now it is no longer like that. Completely it is no longer like that.

You answered them by saying what? When they talked about the matter that you will have to move from here. You answered them by saying what?
We said we did not like to move from here. And they said they were explaining to us that it is that we have to move. Truly, it turned out that it is the government which had stated like that. Now what shall we do?

Your reasons, actually, of refusing to leave from here are which ones? That is, you usually point to what reasons to them when you talk about your difficulty of moving away from here?
This place, we are now used to it, and now we are saying whether there where we are going, whether we shall still find a way of eating in this same manner? We are going to suffer/ be poor. We do not have fields where we are going; even our animals there is nowhere where they shall be satisfied like here. Animals, when they leave their area and go to another one, they deteriorate and shed their character, they are not able to cope with that new area.

Your difficulty is that you will not find fields?


If they were to tell you that ‘We shall find fields for you, there where you are going, we shall find pasture for you’, would you be happy to leave from here?
We would be happy. We actually wanted that side yonder in the Free State. Well, we failed. We saw the land being better that side and that we could find fields, well, we failed.

Meaning that you would not have any kind of difficulty/problem if you could find fields and pasture?
Section 10
So what did they used to say when they cast aside your reasons for refusing to move from here? They usually come up by saying what you show your problems that you have and where?
They usually say “Ache, we shall see those things, we shall pay. Those pastures, we shall still supply grass and those animals shall it eat”.

What kind? Wild one of lucerne?

How many years?
They had said they are 15 and we do not know.

They are going to give you lucerne for 15 years?

With these cattle of yours which are, by the way, how many did you say there were?
With these cattle which are 13.

They are going to give you lucerne for them for 15 years?
Yes, I think they will be more than that by then.

They will still be giving you lucerne?
They said they will still be giving me lucerne.

In other words, your reasons for refusing to move away from here are associated only with agriculture and your property? Or are there others which make it that you feel, you do not to move away from here?
Ache, me I do not have others; well, I do not know about others (i.e. other people). Me I see them being the only ones, the reasons.

Your feelings are which ones about the life of the lowlands?
Please clarify it ntate.

Your feelings are which ones about the life of the lowlands? I am trying to say whether the life of the lowlands you like it. If you like it you like it why? Or you do not like it; if you do not like it, you do not like it why?
Yes, the life of the lowlands I like it, as long as it is where there is- if it happens to be where there are fields and I would still be able to live. Planting in halves with the people of the [new] village here, just so that I can plant. But you know that the people of the lowlands is it not that they live by buying flour?

I will never buy flour as long as I plant and there is food in this house of mine here.
Yes, that is why I am saying when you think of the life of the lowlands we should agree that you are thinking about a life of people who buy and who do not plant.

That is, if you were to find yourself in the lowlands where people do not plant. That is, I am trying to ask right here. I must buy.
Section 11
You must buy.

Now would you be happy with the life where you have to buy?
No ntate.

You would not be happy with it?
I would not be happy with it. In fact where I do not plant I do not like; I want to be where I plant so that I should not buy flour. I want to grind [grain] and get flour from there.

Is it the case that you have any kind of problem with this compensation that you have been promised by these ones of the [Highlands Water] Project? The compensation that they have promised you, do you have any kind of problem with it?
All things that they have promised us with I see them as not being truths. We have problems. It has been said that we should not plant. Indeed we have not planted at all. They lied to us that we shall be given money. We did not get even during Christmas we did not get. It ought to be that I ate peas in Christmas here. We did not eat them.

This one (i.e. compensation) that is associated with these sites of yours and the fields, that compensation of there, do you see it as being enough? Are you satisfied with it?
I am not satisfied with it but well, there is not a way in which I can do because the chiefs - they have already made a decision.

The shortcoming of that compensation, you see it as being where? In what way is it weak?
I have not seen it I cannot say it has a shortcoming. I have not seen it. Because I have not see it truly, I am not even saying it has shortcomings where. Because, I have not seen it.

But is it not that they have told you that ‘For this site of yours we will give you this much money’. That is where I am asking as to, that one that they have promised you for..
In fact in most cases they find me not being here.

Oo, they come when you are not here?
Yes, in most cases they come when I am not here.

You have not met them well and talked to them. It is on which points that you usually see the life of here being better than that of the lowlands?
The life of here is very good, because animals find a long (extensive?) places and they graze. Things like short ones (sheep, goats) they do not roam a lot in the fields; we have places where the fields are not there where they are able to roam. Things like those ones. I see like a sheep is not a thing that wants it, that it is always confined in one place.
Section 12
It wants an open area?

The life of the lowlands, you have seen it being better than the one of here in what way? The one of the lowlands you have seen like it is better than the one of here in what ways? Or you never see like...
When the year is good, it is far better than the one of here, in the harvest of there from the fields. The crops of there are good. Even the fields of there are big.

In a good year?
They plant on them (fields) sorghum especially, they plant wheat especially.

What are things are they that are associated with this place which are going to be lost for good because of the removal of people here and the construction of a dam? What things are they that you see that as soon as you have been moved from here and a dam is made they are going to be lost for good, and they are never going to be seen [again]?
That is, of creatures/ nature?

Heik! He they are very many. That grass is lost it is no longer there.

Is it grass, that which does not grow in another area than there?

Which one?
In the lowlands letsiri is not there.

Letsiri, and what else?
A thing which there is a lot of which we use here is lethepu. It is not there in the lowlands.

What do you do with it?
Lethepu is a medicine.

For what?
Of killing germs.

When you are suffering from what?
Even when seso (abscess, tumour, venereal diseases) is there, you use lethepu.

Oo, and what else?
Things like sesepa-sa-linoha (a plant - literally, “soap of the snakes”). A lot of medicines here which we use; even our cattle when we find they have a lot of bile, it would be that we make them drink [some concoction] and we just go on. We have medicines that we dig here like khapumpu and they are things which there are not a lot of.
Section 13
What about implements/ tools/ utensils? That is I have an example in my head here, things like grinding stones?
Sesotho ones? it the case that you have it at home here?
Yes, I have it.

Yes, and litsilo (?), and grass mats.
But well, they are not going to be lost, is it not that them I am leaving with them.

Is it not that you are leaving with the grinding stone? You are leaving with the grinding stone?
Yes, I am going to sell it; I do not even want jokes; in fact I have forced them that they should write their names down.

Both of them?
Yes, even if they were take only one. Well as for it, it is better.

According to you, who is supposed to be shouldered with the fault that it is that you are going away from here? Is it the case that it is the government or it is Highlands Water or it is the king? According to you, you see like the mistake that you are being moved from here who must be made to shoulder it?
Highland Water and the government. It is one thing because they agreed, the two of them.

What do you do to make sure there is adequate pasture and adequate fields all the time? That is, [so that] you have fields that are able to feed you and have adequate pasture for the animals. What do you do to make sure that these things do not, it be found that one is more than the other and the other is now small?
Oo, pasture be scarce?

Yes, for example, what do you do so that all the time you should have adequate pasture for the animals, and on the other hand there should continue to be enough fields to feed you? That is, what do you do to make sure that you should find that fields are now many and pasture is little? Is there a thing that you do so that these two things should continue being able to be adequate all the time?
Yes, just like a person (being human), because the fields there they are. Ours there, the practice of here is that we reserve [areas for later grazing] here. If we were not emigrating, it would be that it has been reserved and there is nothing that grazes here. They would have gone on top at the plateau there. Even those that are here that are milked for the children we put them there. There are places that we still have here inside of this area, which are enough that they should remain grazing. It will happen that when those ones come down from the mountain, even in the fields here food would have been removed (harvested).
Section 14
Yes, but when you allocate land, is it the case that land is allocated in a way that you make certain that ‘While we are allocating fields to people, we should allocate in a way that we shall not eat pasture’?

Yes, what is done?
Indeed they look. There is no, but now because well, fields cannot be there [at that place]. We can already see that it is pasture; but where a person has found that here a field can be there, we give him. The chief gives him there.

But still making sure that pasture shall not be eaten?

This soil what do you do so that it is able to produce food like this at all times? What do you do to this soil of yours so that it is able to produce good food all the time?
In fact the practice of there dung is put in. Dung is put in. As long as we have put it in, and we turn, it will happen that at that time when ploughing takes place there. It would be ready.

The animals, what do you do to make sure that animals do not exceed the carrying capacity of the pasture? That they should not be too many and be more that the pasture can carry?
Oo, when it is found that animals are many, you still have a way that you can sell them so that they are enough.

It just depends on a person or is there actually a law that binds you to do that?
No, it just depends on a person. There are still people who are very wealthy. That is, who drive thousands.

Now, that is why I was saying what do you normally do to ensure that the animals should not be heavy on the pasture? There is nothing that you do?

There is nothing that you do to make sure animals do not become heavy on the pasture. Is it not that is what you were saying?

Yes. There is a person who was telling me that these aloes which are called likhare are there here.
Yes, they are there.

And it is said that there are people who sometimes sell them. They cut it here and they go and sell it in Maseru there.
Yes, I think they are there. I do not know.

Oo, it is not a thing that you know?
Section 15
Yes; because I was going to ask you as to they are so many that people do not fear that they will get finished.
No, as for it, there is a lot of it. There is a lot of it. It is not a thing that can get finished.

These people (Highlands Water people) have not said that they will cut it and go and plant it somewhere?
Ache, I do not know truly.

I am thankful.