employment and income
OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
justice and crime
introducing the area
quotes about livelihood strategies
key testimonies featuring livelihood strategies
"Well, there is no means by which I live, it is just tricks. I would not actually call it a livelihood. It is just the arithmetic of a man only..." (Lesotho 16). As this quote makes clear villagers have to employ a variety of strategies to survive. Members of this largely subsistence farming community interact with the cash economy when necessary, and also find ways to look after its more vulnerable members. Mining work in South Africa was once the main source of income; now cannabis cultivation is the means of generating cash. Sharecropping (lihalefote) is quite widely practised and people hope they will be able to continue this custom when they move. The person who owns the field simply has to supply the land and the other person brings seed, as well as cattle to plough with. The owner is present at the time of harvest, when the yield is split equally between owner and sharecropper. People often sharecrop with elderly or infirm landowners and thus the arrangement is mutually beneficial.
Indeed, the elderly and the handicapped, who depend on other members of the community to cultivate their land and share the harvest, face a particularly uncertain future in their new locations. Widows and others who benefit from community strategies to support the more vulnerable, are also at serious risk of impoverishment. One elderly woman fears she is "going to be a molopitsi in other people's villages." (Lesotho 12). Highlanders also benefit from the surrounding environment and its supplies of fuelwood, wild fruits, herbs and vegetables. But in urban areas people are obliged to find waged work and pay for essentials such as fuel and food: "In town there if you are to eat you must eat with money. You must find money. It is said that there is something called a piece job. You take it that day and you go and work at a person's place, in the evening when you knock off you come back with sokanyana (small change), you come and you buy food. Tomorrow when the night ceases, you are once again gone. You are going to hunt [for work] again" (Lesotho 16). Those narrators who have spent time in more urban areas all comment that life is harder there than in the highlands. They fear that their current strategies for survival will no longer apply.
quotes about livelihood strategies
"I have one field of my own, but then, truly I usually plough in partnerships. Right here with the old people here, or here, with people who do not have cattle. Or those who are needy in the hands like the handicapped, like that. That is where we plough there."
Sebili, M/46, Lesotho 17
"This is the way in which we live. Besides this, there is wool and mohair. Further, there is the selling of animals which one may have to do when there are either some difficulties or even in their absence. When one wants to raise some money for the family. The selling of some of the animals becomes useful."
Khethisa, M/40, Lesotho 24
"We do not normally grow crops specifically for sale, but we do sell whatever we grow should need arise. There are people who eat and sell rye but others use it as fodder. Vegetables are grown for consumption but are still sold. Because in this area winters are harsh, vegetables are normally dried for future use. This is also done with wild vegetables. All dried vegetables are sold and cannabis is the only crop grown for cash."
Lipholo, M/67, Lesotho 1
"There are certain things that I shall miss [when we are relocated]. I will miss wild vegetables which I get free. I will miss potatoes which I had free. I will miss beans, maize, cow milk which is also free. All these I will miss at Nazaretha. I will also miss free firewood. I have made coal with cow dung."
Tekenyane, M/74, Lesotho 4