photo of person from Lesotho the maluti mountains
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introducing the area

social institutions

 quotes about social institutions
 key testimonies featuring social institutions

Chiefs play an important role in village affairs. However, some say that their influence has weakened over time. The chief acts in consultation with the democratically elected village council. If there is something important to be discussed the chief or chieftainess calls a pitso (village meeting) to allow people to voice their opinion. One narrator (Lesotho 14) who is a village headman says that his role is to reside over and decide about cases of conflict and disagreement.

A key feature in the villagers' social landscape is the burial society or mpate-ke-u-pate - literally translated as "bury-me-I-bury-you". Many people are worried about it breaking up when everyone moves to different locations, and the difficulty of informing all those concerned when someone dies, or of contacting all the relatives when there is a family occasion. One narrator, however, is optimistic that the burial societies will continue to exist. Someone else says they will look for another association to join in the new place in order to "find shelter" - an expression which conveys the importance of coming together at times of burial and how it seems to be a particularly significant way in which family and community solidarity are reaffirmed, and people can feel part of a harmonious whole.

quotes about social institutions

As for us I feel that we are perplexed now that it seems that we are dispersing. And yet we had formed this society of bury-me-I-bury-you, as to now, what shall we do? Because now one is there! and the others are there!. People are saying 'Hela, people will write to one another, people will [listen to] their radios [to hear news of a death]'. Ao, is it a thing that will materialise?
'Maseipati, F/elderly, Lesotho 12

"...some of them (societies) are for the things like stokvels (a club where members pool resources), to help. Well, we brew liquor, we help each other. Some of them are societies [for] Christmas: these women pay out money, maybe monthly... When the day has come and they have finished their work, they take the money and share it amongst themselves."
Nathnael, M/61, Lesotho 19b

key testimonies featuring social institutions

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   11   Mokete   male/64   farmer   Ha Ralifate  
Summary Transcript   12   Maseipati   female/elderly   farmer   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   13   Tokiso   male/36   farmer/repairs radios   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   14   Mohlominyane   male/61   farmer/village headman   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   14B   Mohlominyane   male/61   farmer/village headman   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   15   Tsatsi   male/70s   farmer   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   16   Moleleki   male/41   farmer   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   17   Sebili   male/46   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   21   ’Mepa   male/50s   farmer/chief   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   22   Mamookho   female/30s   farmer/garment maker   Ha Koporale  
Summary Transcript   26   ’Mampaleng   female/78   L   Ha ’Mamokoluoa  
Summary Transcript   3   Makibinyane   male/40s   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   4   Tekenyane   male/74   farmer   Molika-liko  
Summary Transcript   5   Matefo   female/19   farmer   Ha Ntsi  
Summary Transcript   6   Lebeko, and   male and female/L   chief and chieftainess   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   7   Tlali   male/elderly   farmer   Ha Tsapane  
Summary Transcript   8   Laurent   male/47   farmer   Maetsisa  
Summary Transcript   9   ’Malibuseng   female/32   farmer   Ha Tsapane