photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
spiritual beliefs

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introducing the area


 quotes about health
 key testimonies featuring health

disabled man in LesothoThe two forms of health care used are referred to as Sesotho (the traditional system) and European. One narrator is a healer and treats people in the Sesotho way, using medicinal herbs and plants (Lesotho 24). Another says that both his son and daughter are training to be traditional doctors.

The majority of narrators prefer to go to "modern" doctors: the nearest clinic involves travelling some distance, but this has been made more feasible by the LHDA road. Some, however, distrust European medicine and prefer using Sesotho practitioners as they believe pills and vaccines to be dangerous. Other narrators believe that Sesotho doctors are good at treating certain illnesses, particularly those with more pronounced social, psychological or spiritual dimensions, while Western medicine, with its concentration on physical causes, is useful for other health problems.

On the whole there seems to be trust in those traditional healing practices that rely on a proven, practical knowledge of the natural world, in particular of medicinal plants. A 67-year-old man who has arthritis, probably as a result of working in South African mines, talks about the healing value of medicinal herbs. But he feels that the traditional doctors' explanation for his problems - evil spirit possession - is unacceptable and stems from ignorance. He has no doubt that the causes of his disability are poor working conditions, and that modern medicine could help him.

One narrator describes the medicinal properties of cannabis for both livestock and people.

quotes about health

"There is this issue of natural vegetation which we are to leave behind and which keeps us with medicine. When a child is sick, one quickly digs up the necessary herbs and these herbs are our medicines, especially when our bodies are now used to them."
Thabang, M/57, Lesotho 2

"[Traditional doctors'] services are different from the Western one because their charges are high and they do not actually cure the disease but talk of thokolosi (evil spirit possession)."
Lipholo, M/67, Lesotho 1

"They are many diseases which Basotho doctors were able to cure. Even now diseases like feberu (fever) and these ones which are said to be of leprosy they usually defeat Basotho [doctors]. But [those] like sejeso (food poisoning by a person wishing to do harm to the victim), the Europeans [doctors] are defeated also. The people [suffering from] sejeso, if you take them to Europeans, you are just going to finish them off. Before they finish them off, you should rather return them to Basotho [doctors]."
Tlali, M/elderly, Lesotho 7

key testimonies featuring health

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   1   Lipholo   male/67   farmer/basketmaker   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   12   Maseipati   female/elderly   farmer   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   14   Mohlominyane   male/61   farmer/village headman   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   15   Tsatsi   male/70s   farmer   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   17   Sebili   male/46   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   2   Thabang   male/57   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   22   Mamookho   female/30s   farmer/garment maker   Ha Koporale  
Summary Transcript   24   Khethisa   Male/40   lethuela (traditional doctor)   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   25   Thabo   male/   farmer   Ha Tsapane