OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
employment and income
justice and crime
introducing the area
quotes about family life
key testimonies featuring family life
Almost all the testimonies contain some information about marriage, generally as part of narrators' general family history. Both monogamous and polygamous unions occur. Elopements are not unusual. Variations on lobola (bride price) are described: lobola and "damages" are paid to the bride's family when elopement has occurred; lobola only in the case of an approved marriage.
Several narrators feel that by being resettled they are betraying both past and future generations. Their children have lost their inheritance in terms of fields, while their ancestors are being left behind. There is great concern about what will happen to the graves, especially when the reservoir waters rise. One narrator laments that he won't be able to go and talk to his ancestors or take his children to the area where the graves lie.
Many narrators complain that the younger generation is much less respectful to their elders these days. One says that young lovers used to be "ashamed" in front of older people and behaved discreetly, whereas now it is often elders who are made to feel embarrassed when they walk past young couples. There are complaints that children are much more indulged today and that parents have lost authority: "I find that the fathers have failed to rule" (Lesotho 11). One narrator says young people go to immoral parties instead of feasts for their ancestors. Another says children now do what they want, but girls still get reprimanded for bad behaviour - whereas if you reprimand a boy, his mother will do the same to you. Such comments are common among the elderly of every culture, but one point made specifically here is that in the past, the disciplining of children was the responsibility of the entire community; now parents resent interference by anyone outside the immediate family.
quotes about family life
"The children of my children will be born when [the compensation] is already finished. Even these ones of mine, when they will grow up it will already be finished."
Laurent, M/42, Lesotho 8
"You will see [the young person] as somebody who does not care about whatever you are saying, which means it is something which indicates that he is not interested in listening to an elder person when they reprimand him, be it his parent or somebody else, he does not listen."
Nathnael, M/elderly, Lesotho 19b
"...today's education gives many unknown advices to the children. It also tells us to have two children, claiming that we cannot afford to raise more than two children. Though we are told this, the government does not assure us that these two children will live longer. It is well known that God will always take his and with whom will you be left with if he takes the only two children you have. Our parents brought us up as many as we were, but God took others and eight were left, four boys and girls."
Mampaleng, F/78, Lesotho 26
"We are going in different directions and each one hopes that wherever he would go, he would get relatives to help him in times of need. For instance, he would be able to sharecrop because he would not own any fields. It is a sad state to leave behind fields, our fathers' fields, because we also had hoped that our children would also use them. We are very concerned about how our children will live without access to the fields."
Lipholo, M/67, Lesotho 1