photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary









Ha Tsapane


November 1997



Section 1
I am governed there at Thaba-Bosiu at a village called Ha Molengoane and I have come here at Tsapane to look for the feelings of people who live in these villages that are going to be made to emigrate. And I would be happy if we could start our discussion by you telling me your history and that of your family. You should start especially with your name, your children, your wife where is she, the children are where?
I am Thabo Bosielo, I have built here at Ha Tsapane I have two children, they live there at Ha Mpiti Khotso. I can start with their names, one is Neo Bosielo, [and the other is] Janki Bosielo. My wife is ’Maneo Bosielo; they live with my mother ’Me ’Matlhokoamo Bosielo right there at Ha Mpiti. They are emigrants; my mother came from right here at Ha Tsapane, they left me right here now because of the reason that my wife lives there. It is because of the age of my mother, because now she no longer is able to do anything for herself and that is why she is still living with her there, with these children to look after her as to what she does.

Ntate Bosielo, I am thankful truly and I would like you to explain this to me. As to at your home in your family, how many girls are there and how many boys, and also where are they?
My brothers and sisters we are six with five girls; I am the only boy. One lives there at Litsebe Ha Khojane, one is in Jorotane there, at Ha Rapokolane, one at Machache there at Ha Nkhema, one is here at Likalaneng here, one is right there at Ha Mpiti Khotso. That is all.

Being dispersed like this, it was because they are married there where they are?
They are all married ntate.

Your parents, is it the case that they are still alive?
The person who is still alive is my mother only; my father has since died.

Before your mother went there at Ha Mpiti Khotso, you have shown that she was from here at Ha Tsapane, where had you come from? She says she came from - your father and mother – or has she always been a person who lived here?
My father is the citizen of right here at Ha Tsapane; my mother comes from there at Ha Mpiti Khotso that is her home where she was born, she was married here.

Now, the reason that made her return to her home is what, when she was married at Ha Tsapane?
The reason that made her return there was that she was an elderly person and she was tormented by illness. When I for my part was still young she was very ill and now she went there to be near doctors and also because her daughter is [married] there. Her daughter is still helping her and that is why she looked for a site right there so that she should be close to doctors so that she will be able to go to doctors.
Section 2
That being because doctors are not here in this area of Likalaneng?
That being because doctors here - well, there are doctors but now the reason that makes her go where she has gone is the different illnesses. She was suffering with her knees and many others [illnesses] and for these reasons it was apparent that being that much of an elderly person in the mountains here and also because the roads like those which are near, those ones were not yet there across by the tunnel. People used to go to the doctors at Likalaneng there but she still went truly; now you know that a person when you have gone to the doctors you will drink the medicine and then go to another doctor just like they keep calling her like this. Doctors are there at this thing he is still curing people, he is curing people a disease like that one; when you see it not being cured you still go to another one and that is why she ended up building down there.

I am very thankful ntate. I would be happy to know if you have only lived in this place?
I would say I have always lived in this place only ntate; my leaving here is only when I go to the animal post, that is all.

In other words you have not gone to places like Maseru and come back like that? There have never been reasons that take you to places like Maseru or to other towns than Maseru?
There is a reason that made me go to Maseru.

Meaning that it is not often that you frequently go to Maseru?
It is not often that I frequently go.

But the life of the towns or that of the lowlands, how is it according to you?
That is, according to my feelings, according to me, when I look I find that the life of the lowlands is good. It is a little difficult for the reason that because we Basotho, are people who live on agriculture and when I go to Lesotho (the lowlands) I will no longer find a field. I will live on planting in halves but when the owner of the field does not want me there is nothing that I can do. Now there is a little problem [about] Lesotho (the lowlands), it is that they buy fertiliser which sows, to buy medicines to spray for worms (pesticides for pests), but you will gain, you will see that you will gain. Now the betterness of here [is that] we do not [have to] buy manure, we do not buy anything, we just sow. What is there is that we should hoe and then that food will be there.

This soil of the lowlands that you say needs fertilisers, do you think that it is different from this one of here?
Indeed ntate I think that it is different from this one of this side.

But you see like the people of the lowlands are very happy with that life that one of agriculture?
Yes; some I see that they are very happy with agriculture.
Section 3
Earlier you said that one of the reasons that made your mother go down to the lowlands was because here there was no [doctor], or the places where doctors can be found are far. I wanted to know are there other things that you need or those that you think you need here near Ha Tsapane or at Likalaneng which there are in the lowlands?
Yes ntate.

Can you make an example?
We need [mechanical] grinders, we need shops, even them, the doctors are difficult to get, it is there at Likalaneng but there is only one doctor.

This absence of doctors in this place of yours, what kind of difficulties does it cause for you?
It causes us a lot of problems because the women - they struggle a lot on the side of the mothers. At a time when the mothers are pregnant, there come other mothers from far off places like Litsebe there, places like Senqunyane there, they walk for a very long time going there to Likalaneng on foot, they walk on foot and they walk for a very long time. Truly we struggle for that thing.

On the matter of these diseases that can be found these days do you see like they are now widespread in this place of Likalaneng these ones that are things like koatsi-ea-bosolla-tlhapi (AIDS)?
In fact here I have not heard of them.

Other than these modern doctors, is it the case that there are these doctors of ours of Basotho in this area?
They are there ntate.

They help you how, then?
The Sesotho one, Sesotho doctors that circumcise. They help us by incising boys, they help us by fortifying homes, they also have other medicines, when you are ill you still go to the doctors and also to examine, especially these ones of the bones. They throw bones on the ground and he divines. Maybe you remain awake at night and now you have a doubt that thokolosi (evil spirit possession) was there, now you go to the doctor and it gets there and throws the bones. Sometimes you will find a little light, that matter is caused by what? Sometimes it is your ancestors and it is apparent that your ancestors are hungry and now you experience some certain problems. They (i.e. diviners) will explain to you that it seems you have spent a certain amount of time without cooking for the ancestors now it is that you should cook [because] your ancestors are complaining.

But when you compare on this matter of the importance of traditional doctors and these modern ones what are your feelings?
That is, it does not become clear, these modern doctors ntate as to the modern ones. You mean what? Please clarify right there for me ntate.

Section 4
My question was saying as to the importance of these traditional Sesotho doctors and these modern ones, as to you see it as being which one according to your knowledge.
That is, the importance of Sesotho doctors [and] these modern ones, it is the same, their [Sesotho doctors] importance is what I have already mentioned of divining and of giving some light just like the Lord God has done. Us not knowing how they see that the ancestors are complaining or that there is a person who is bewitching you, or how thokolosi was there. They are the ones we do not know and even now during these nowadays it is still the same there is nowhere where there has [been] a change ntate.

You, when did you last go to a Sesotho doctor?
It has been a longish time ntate since I last went, it could be a year.

The European one, when did you last go to it?
The European one, it I am not able to measure well as to when I last went, but now it is a long time, there might have passed years, that might be six or seven even more.

Ntate Thabo, I request that you tell me as to you are how many years [old]?
Thirty seven.

Is it the case that in your days when you were still young, maybe when you were still 20 or 25 and the children of today who are 20 or 25, you see what difference on behaviour, respect and so on?
Ntate I see a lot of difference; these ones of today are no longer similar to the earlier ones when we were still growing up with our agemates.

Can you make an example?
I can make an example ntate, it is the matter that these children of today their respect. They just respect their parents, but if you are not their parents even if you reprimand them...maybe he is herding near a person’s field badly there, or when he sees that the owner of the field does not see him, he lets animals feed on the crops a little, you cannot reprimand him or say ‘Child what are you doing?’ or beat him up. It is a big mistake which you are doing (i.e. if you reprimand, ask, etc). Now, that is why I see the children of today no longer have respect to the people.

Were you once beaten yourself when you were young?
When I was young I was beaten ntate.

Can you remember one day when you were beaten as to what you had done?
I can remember, I was beaten a lot when I had let animals feed on crops [in the field] being beaten by any person, not my father, even just a boy older than me being ’mampoli (a boy who is a leader of others because of age, bravery, strength, charisma etc), there were bo-’mampoli they beat us even at the animal posts’ there they beat us.

Is the case that you can remember one ’mampoli only in your life who once beat you and what his name was?
I can remember them ntate. I lived with a person called Khojane there, right there at Ha Khojane, and another one called Tota he had built at Mohlakaqala and we lived right there at Litsebe with them. Now these people were my elder brothers, they were older, and now when I did not understand when they [ordered] me, they used to beat me up.
Section 5
Is it the case that you can remember the customary way that is followed when a person wants to marry?
The Sesotho one?

Which one is it?
That is, the customs of marrying are many according to different people. There is a person who when he wants to get married he would tell his parents that, “ntate I want to marry now and I am attracted to a girl at some place”. His father would ask him as to whose child she is, the man will tell him she is the child of ntate so-and-so. He will go the parent and ask for mohope oa metsi (the girl’s hand in marriage) and they will go ahead with the wedding according to the negotiations the way they are. The other matter of the second matter, of these children of today, that these things have changed, it is not many who can tell a parent when he now wants to get married at all. You will just see him arriving with a person’s child here or you would hear it being said that he has spoilt a person’s child somewhere and then there would be a lot of [court] cases that do not finish.

The other thing again that I may be happy to know is as to whether the matter of cooperation between a father and a mother in the family that maybe you knew in past times is it different from the one of right now.
It is different from the one of right now.

Can you explain?
I can explain ntate. The mother used to listen to the father and they arranged matters with him well of their family. But nowadays when I look at the things that happen in the world, these ones of today they are no longer reprimandable as women. The mother-in-law when she tries to reprimand her, she puts her luggage on her head she goes to work. In fact it is not many who endure marriages, the women of today.

To your knowledge what do you see as the reason for these differences now?
When I look I see it is the people of today who have changed even though we are saying the children have changed, but when I look it is our law that has changed, the parents of the children. The law starts at home; it may happen that a child might be too much by the way of her awareness, the way it gives him. But now they are too many who are too much [aware], which shows that it is the law now. When I now clarify to you ntate that a child of [another] person you cannot reprimand him even if you see him with a girl of another person there. Being a boy he will just step aside so that you can pass and in fact he will not even run away as a sign of respect that “that person is an older person who is coming from there, what will he think I am standing here with that girl [somebody’s daughter]”. Or the girl herself, that adult, will [not] say “I am standing with this boy here” - and you will even see that he is kissing her when he sees that you are an adult.
Section 6
Let us come to the matter of these girls of nowadays. Whether you see they now get married having how many years, whether the difference is there with the years by which they got married in past times?
The difference is there, a big one ntate.

Can you explain it?
I can explain that right now they get married when they have thirteen years; when she has thirteen years she gets married. You should see these boys when they have fifteen years he marries.

Do you know the reason that makes them like getting married when they are young like this?
Ntate here (i.e. on this point) I feel that I do not know, as to these children in the old days when we were growing up and this thing was not there not so long ago, these things change right now.

Is it the case that the kind of food that is eaten right now is different from the type of food that was eaten in the past time?
Yes..... I can say it is different, it is not different, so that I can say so. We still eat maize, sorghum, wheat from long ago even now, but there again others which appear anew like these beers which are brewed, several of them.

This food that is eaten nowadays do you see like it does not cause it that these children marry or get married while they still have few years?
Here I do not realise ntate oa ka, but the thing that I become aware of which we were warned against when we were still growing up; we did not eat eggs.

Yes.We abstained [from eating] eggs, girls and boys. But right now these ones they just eat eggs, they are given them deliberately so that they should not steal them.

I want us to move on whether there are schools in this area of Molika-liko?
There are schools ntate.

Where are they?
It is this school of Molika-liko the big one of the big mission.

It is the only one?
It is a school at Ha Seotsa which is related to Molika-liko. It is a school at Bokong, it is called Ha Monti. It is related to Molika-liko here. Just like in the long past our sisters when they were growing up they were attending school at Ha Monti, there where I have said it is Bokong still going from right here at Ha Tsapane before this school of Ha Seotsa was built.

Is it the case that you see like these children of here are people who are fond of school?
These children of here are people who are fond of school some of them. Some of them attend school by association (peer pressure) when you look. I say so because I always see there being these children, these other ones who will be forced to go to school by their parents and when a parent is not saying “Get up and wash and go to school!” they are not bothered whether they can go to school, whether they can pass they do not care at all.
Section 7
But you, do you see the school has any importance in this life of nowadays?
School I find it having usefulness ntate it’s useful to know how to read and write. As for higher education in the life of today, I see it having no use.

Because the problem that I see with people who are educated there are too many of them. The population has grown and even when you try and go and look for a job with that education of yours, you will find there are too many people who are queuing for a job like that one that you are looking for. Now it is in the manner that I see maybe it is to waste time that you should go for too high an education. But the main thing is that you should know how to read and write.

Is it the case that you found an opportunity to go to school yourself?
I did not get it ntate.

How do you survive right now?
I live on planting and animals.

At the beginning of our talk you showed that you are a person who stays being away from here at Ha Tsapane you go to the animals posts there that is the life that you live, you struggle with the animals or...?
Yes ntate that is the life that I live of going to look after the animals and also planting and hoeing.

You have what kind of animals?
I have animals like sheep, cattle and goats.

What is it that you like about mountains just like I see that here where we are we are surrounded by mountains; is there anything special?
What I like most in the mountains here is pasture, it is water for the benefit of the animals, and us people we do not struggle to get water especially we do not struggle to get grass for the animals especially. Even drought does not get to be too severe, the matter of when the sun can stand (there is drought) just like in here at the sources, water does not get finished that much. That is what I feel happy about [living here].

What is it that when you have left from here at Ha Tsapane it would refuse to leave your imagination?
Here at Ha Tsapane the only thing that I am happy about, it is agriculture. That is the one that makes me complain a lot, that I feel that I will not manage well when I leave from here. I will live what kind of life, because when I have planted I shall be able to feed my children. I do not find a way of buying food in a difficult way; when I have planted well and say agriculture was nearly good or the year was good and rain fell well. Yes, even when I sell an animal I am able to clothe these children of mine and this wife and even my mother.
Section 8
Let us come to the matter of roads. Before the Highlands Water Project arrived in this part of Molika-liko there were no roads, you used what before?
That we used to use... before the roads came we used to go to Likalaneng, because me, I developed eyes (awareness) already seeing this road that goes to Likalaneng already passing to Marakabei the one that goes to Mantsonyane; we were using donkeys and horses.

People, them they used to come on what here?
The people who came here used to disembark at Likalaneng there and they would come on foot or by the same horses.

The people of here most of the men used to work where? Or they are people who work where?
The people of here to my knowledge, when I see they are people who worked in the mines but nowadays people no longer work at the place of gold; right now there are very few people who still work in this Project of Highlands Water.

Have you worked in the mines yourself?
I have never worked [in the mines].

But did you have an interest to work in the mines?
I think it is fifteen years when we were growing up with our agemates I felt that I had a love of going to the place of gold until we grew up and they kept going, leaving me some of them. When I looked I found that because I am alone (the only boy in the family) I would leave these animals alone, there is no way that I can go to the place of gold especially because even my father is an elderly person. Just like I am saying I am the only boy, being the last born, and these sisters of mine having been married.

I am thankful for that clarification which is clear and wide. This village of Ha Tsapane has its neighbours, how is cooperation with these villages that surround the village of Ha Tsapane?
In the surrounding of Ha Tsapane here the cooperation with villages outside of it I see cooperation being very good, with all things brought here to the chief’s place at Ha Tsapane. They are reported right here and it is her, the chieftainess ’Matsapane who sees to matters of arranging pastures and to intervene between people who are quarrelling.

Ntate. Another thing that a person might be happy to know is as to what relations you have with the chief or with these other chiefs?
The relations that we have with the chief, that is, me myself? But I would say we are related by cow (i.e. marriage).

Yes, cow.
Section 9
Another thing that a person might be happy to know is how you see cooperation here of the people, especially mutual respect between the families here at Ha Tsapane?
That is, by mutual respect between the families - please clarify right there for me because now mutual respect between families it is father and mother, it is [also] neighbouring families.

Mother and father or neighbouring families?
Respect is there ntate oa ka, especially with these earlier mothers, the ones like ’Me ’Matsapane. A lot of respect, which I see because you would never hear it being said that she did this, she has done this. Now, the little difference that there is of these young people is the one that comes and sits [uncomfortably] on a person; you will hear it already being said that they have fought by the road here, they have fought somewhere.

Ntate Thabo again we should come to the last matter when we are now completing our discussion. The Project of Highlands Water here, it is now going to make you emigrate, could it be your feelings are which ones on this matter of being made to emigrate?
Me ntate, my feelings about being made to emigrate, just like the government has made certain there is nothing that I can do, even if I do not like [the situation]. Especially I am crying for this agriculture that is here at Molika-liko, even though I do not like [the resettlement] there is nothing that I can do because the country is the government’s. The government has executed its liking with its country and I can go on with my feelings from now. My feelings when I leave from here, from Molika-liko just like the government has promised us that we shall get compensation for these fields of ours, for years that are five tens. It is that I should look to planting in halves with the people of where I am going and that be the reward that the Project will give us.

Could it be there are what good things which you see that being made to emigrate will bring?
Yes ntate this being made to emigrate, where the government is telling us about them, well, because we are to ask questions as to what we choose for ourselves, to individual persons as to whether he/she wants money or food-grain.

But do you see there are other bad things which are going to be brought by this being made to emigrate?
I do not see bad ones ntate.

You, you have chosen that you should be emigrated to where?
I have chosen to go there at Ha Mpiti Khotso.

What things are there that you would like the government to do for you when you are at Ha Mpiti?
I would like things like pumps (piped water) to be made for me in the village and to improve pastures or even electricity.
Section 10
Ntate Thabo I am very thankful truly for your giving time that we should talk. I am very thankful.
Yes ntate.