photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
Lesotho glossary












October 1997



Section 1
How long have you lived in this village?
I moved to this village in 1978.

Where is your original home village?
I was born at Sengunyane, Ha Makopoi, but I grew up at Bokong, Ha Mokhati, that is my mother’s home village. I was brought up by my grandparents. When they died I went back to my home village to live with my parents.

Why did you decide to move from your home village and come back to this particular village?
I was attracted by the beauty of this place, but most importantly, the soil here is very fertile and this is good for cultivation.

When you moved to this village, were you on your own?
No, I was with my wife.

Are you the only child in your family?
No, I have a younger brother. My parents had only two boys.

When you left your home village, where was your brother?
Eh, he was still living with my parents, both of them were still alive. But he is now living in the Benea District where he owns a small cafe.

Do you have any children?
Yes, I have two boys. The eldest was born in 1979 and the other one four years later.

What are your children doing?
They are both at school. One goes to school right here at Ha Tsapane, Molika-liko, and the other one at Ha Matela.

How do you earn your living?
I depend mainly on agriculture like most people in this village. We grow maize, sorghum and different vegetables. We also have wild vegetables to supplement our diet in case of severe drought. Basically, we are self sufficient in this village. The surrounding villages often come to our village for food and we sell them whatever surplus we have.

What does your wife do?
She is involved in handicrafts, but most of the time she helps me out in the fields.
Section 2
How else do you earn your living?
I am involved in livestock keeping but I only get money when they have bred and I sell some of the livestock. Livestock keeping is basically for symbolic reasons. There is not a lot of money there unless you have plenty of livestock. So for myself, it is not a lucrative business.

What happens when there is severe drought and your yield is adversely affected? How do you survive?
Well, there are other means of survival, Sir.

Could you please elaborate on that?
Well we sell this thing that we call cannabis. That is where the money is. It is a natural plant.

Have you ever thought of having irrigation schemes?
No, we manage to survive under any weather conditions because our cannabis business is thriving. That is what we depend on to make a living. Sometimes my wife and I make discos and we sell beer.

What do people do for leisure here?
There are quite a number of things we do here. For example, we have concerts, we watch football matches and horse racing. We have a beautiful racecourse here. Besides that we have cultural activities such as dancing and singing.

Is crime prevalent in this village?
Not really, there are isolated incidents but it is not much of a problem.

Lets talk about the social services in this area. Are the people in this area satisfied with them?
Well, in the past, things were very tough. For example, if you wanted to go to the hospital, you would have to travel on horseback for half a day to Maseru and later we started going to Martsonyane which is still far. Nowadays things are gradually improving. The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and the Government have built a road which has made our village accessible to many people. I can now go to hospital at Likalaneng which is only one and a half hours on horseback. We also buy beer there. There is a post office as well and Lesotho Bank is going to open a new branch in the district in the near future.

Can you please tell me about the village structures and how you are ruled?
We are ruled by Chieftainess ’Matsapane Tsapane but there is a democratically elected village council. The Chieftainess acts in consultation with the council about the affairs of the village.

How do ordinary people participate in the village politics?
This village is blessed with another thing besides the soil fertility and the natural beauty of the place. We have wonderful people who are friendly and understanding. For example, right now we are sitting outside somebody’s home but I am welcome here. We all know each other. Occasionally the Chieftainess calls a pitso (village meeting) to allow people to voice their opinions about many things they do not like in the village. The people are free. I simply love this place but it is a pity we are all going to be forcibly removed from this place by the government on order to make way for the LHDA, to build a huge dam which is going to ruin the environment. As for us, we are going to be dumped in different places.
Section 3
What is the general feeling about this resettlement business in the village?
Everybody is unhappy about it. I do not know what life is going to be like in the new areas. I do not know the level of crime there, whether we will be accepted by the people there. I wonder if I will be able to grow my cannabis. We all feel we are being robbed but there is nothing we can do.

Have you ever been to school?
No, I grew up looking after my grandfather’s herd then. I worked for sometime in the mines of South Africa until I came back here to be involved in agriculture. Schooling, no, I do not even know how old I am.

How long did you work in the mines?
I worked there from 1974 to 1985. I worked at Habesfontein and Reifs mines.

Why did you leave the mines?
In 1985, there was a huge strike and all the Basotho mines stood united and decided not to go to work, unlike the Xhosas and the Zulus who continued to work and undermined our solidarity with Batswana and Shangani’s. After this incident most of us came home but some remained in South Africa to work in the mines elsewhere.

Have there been any reported cases of AIDS in this village?
I have heard about AIDS but I have never seen any cases of it. This is a peaceful village.

Lets talk about every day life here, what is it like?
Well, usually when people get up in the morning they perform their different tasks. Girls, before going to school go and draw water from the wells and the boys milk the cows. The women prepare breakfast before going to the fields and the men usually meet to discuss politics and then go to the fields. Occasionally we talk about cannabis business while working in the fields just to know who is making more money. It is healthy competition.

What is the most important thing that you are going to miss here?
My fields, especially the cannabis fields. Nobody bothers me and I do not bother anybody. Selling cannabis is illegal and I know that, but I have no choice. I have to feed my family and pay for my children’s school fees. When I sell cannabis it is not like I am intruding or invading somebody’s property. It is not theft or murder, it is strictly business and I intend to continue it until I die. But I do not know whether I will be able to grow it as much as I am doing it here because even the police do not bother us here.

Have you been to this new place that you are going to move to?
Yes, it is called Nazareth and is about 37 km from Maseru.
Section 4
Did you choose it yourself?
Yes, but it is in the lowlands. I am used to the mountain life where it is peaceful.

How is the soil at Nazareth?
It is better than the other places we were told to choose for resettlement.

How many people from this village are moving to Nazareth?
Well, I am not sure about the exact number but there are not very many. The LHDA is going to separate us from our friends and turn us into refugees in our own country. I hope you get my meaning. Even our burial society is going to be dissolved, and other organised groups that we have. This is going to be a problem because I do not know how well my family will be received at Nazareth and also how we will fit in the structures that are there already. I do not know the way the society works at Nazareth.

When you moved here in 1978, how many people were already living here?
There were quite a considerable number of people already here. For example Mr Tlali, Mr Tsietsi, Mr Molemo, Mr Tobaho, Mr Malepae, Mr Tltlekenyane, Mr Mokau etc.

Was there a church then?
Yes. The Lesotho Evangelical Church which is still the only church we have in this village.

Can you please tell me about the types of relations the people of this village have with other villages in this area?
Unlike other places in Lesotho, we have always been on good terms with people from the surrounding villages because we know that if a certain village nearby experiences a serious problem, we help them with whatever means we have at our disposal. That is the way we do things around here. My main worry is whether I will be able to get along with the people of Nazareth.

Ntate Makibinyane, I would like to thank you for your time, you have certainly been patient and I hope to see you again. Thank you.
Likewise ntate, no problem at all.