"Living in Rich Man's Garbage" - Social Change in Lesotho Owing to HIV and AIDS - The Tin/Can-Village Approach to Orphan Care and Social Change


Diploma Thesis, 2004
241 Pages, Grade: 1,9

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION

2. METHODOLOGY

3. DEFINITIONS
3.1 SOCIAL CHANGE
3.2 AIDS AND HIV
3.3 ORPHANS

4. LESOTHO, THE SMALL KINGDOM IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
4.1 HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
4.2 MOSHOESHOE THE GREAT
4.3 LIVING IN THE APARTHEID ERA
4.4 LESOTHO’S DISTRICTS AND CHIEFTAINSHIP
4.5 LESOTHO’S DEMOGRAPHIC FACTS
4.6 LESOTHO’S ENVIRONMENT
4.6.1 LESOTHO’S WASTE MANAGEMENT
4.6.2 THE BASOTHO’S MENTALITY REGARDING THEIR ENVIRONMENT
4.7 LESOTHO’S LEGISLATION
4.8 SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUND OF LESOTHO’S POPULATION

5. LESOTHO’S CULTURAL AND SOCIAL SITUATION
5.1 HOW BASOTHO LIVE
5.1.1 HEALTH-SITUATION BESIDES HIV AND AIDS AMONG BASOTHO’S POOR
5.1.2 FAMILY FORMS AND ORPHAN CARE IN LESOTHO
5.1.3 LESOTHO’S HOUSEHOLDS
5.1.4 BASOTHO INCAPABILITY IN MAKING OWN DECISIONS
5.2 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SEX IN AFRICAN SOCIETIES
5.3 MARRIAGE AND THE MINORITY STATUS OF WOMEN IN LESOTHO
5.3.1 MARRIAGE LAW AND IMPLEMENTATION
5.3.2 THE SPECIAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN LESOTHO’S SOCIETY
5.3.4 AGE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
5.4 MEN’S ROLE IN LESOTHO’S SOCIETY
5.5 CHILDREN’S STATUS IN LESOTHO’S SOCIETY
5.6 THE SITUATION OF ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN LESOTHO
5.6.1 THE GOVERNMENT’S POSITION REGARDING ORPHANS AND ADOPTION IN LESOTHO
5.6.2 OTHER ORPHAN CARE SYSTEMS IN LESOTHO
5.6.2.1 YOUTH BEWARE
5.6.2.2 MANTSASE CHILD VILLAGE
5.6.2.3 MOYENI DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT GROUP

6. HIV AND AIDS A MODERN EPIDEMIC
6.1 THE MEANING OF HIV AND AIDS TO LESOTHO’S POPULATION
6.1.1 HIV AND AIDS IN LESOTHO
6.1.2 PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV AND AIDS
6.1.3 WOMEN AND HIV AND AIDS
6.1.4 MEN AND HIV AND AIDS
6.1.5 HIV AND AIDS-RELATED STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
6.1.6 LESOTHO’S GOVERNMENT POLICIES REGARDING HIV AND AIDS
6.1.7 THE KING’S POINT OF VIEW
6.2 CHILDREN AFFECTED AND ORPHANED BY HIV AND AIDS
6.2.1 CHILDREN AS VICTIMS OF EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE
6.2.2 RIGHTS OF CHILDREN AND THE ROLE OF EDUCATION
6.2.3 CHILDREN AS WINDOWS OF HOPE
6.3 THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN THE SPREAD OF HIV AND AIDS
6.3.1 CULTURE, SEXUALITY AND NEGOTIATING SAFE-SEX
6.3.2 THE CULTURE OF SILENCE AND SUPERSTITION

7. KEY APPROACHES TO FIGHTING HIV AND AIDS IN LESOTHO
7.1 LESOTHO CHILD COUNSELING UNIT
7.2 TRADITIONAL LEADERS, TRADITIONAL HEALERS, AND INITIAL SCHOOL LEADERS

8. SOCIAL CHANGE IN LESOTHO’S SOCIETY
8.1 SOCIAL CHANGE IN LESOTHO TO CURB THE HIV AND AIDS EPIDEMIC
8.1.1 CHANGING BASOTHO SELF-CONFIDENCE
8.1.2 CHANGING BASOTHO BEHAVIOR
8.2 SOCIAL CHANGE FOR AN EFFECTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE TO HIV AND AIDS IN LESOTHO
8.2.1 PREVENTION
8.2.2 TREATMENT AND CARE
8.2.3 LESSENING THE IMPACT
8.2.4 SYSTEMIC DEVELOPMENT

9. TLHOKOMELO SOCIETY, THE TIN/CAN-VILLAGE
9.1 HISTORY OF THE TIN/CAN-PRODUCTS AND THE TIN/CAN-VILLAGE
9.2 TIN/CAN-HOUSE TECHNOLOGY: A CONTRIBUTION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
9.3 TCV - A MEANS OF SOCIAL CHANGE

10. CONCLUSION

LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF MAPS

LIST OF PICTURES

LIST OF TABLES

REFERENCES

WEBSITES

INTERVIEWS

APPENDIX

INTERVIEWS

MINDMINUTES

1. Introduction

This paper discusses social change within Lesotho’s society and its response in regard to the increasing number of children orphaned by HIV and AIDS. Social change in Lesotho is analyzed and compared with conventional social-science theories, including recommendations for further actions. A recently registered local non-governmental organization (NGO), the Thlokomelo Society, is taken as an example to demonstrate the complex situation of HIV and AIDS and orphan-care in Lesotho.

Lesotho is a small mountainous kingdom entirely surrounded by The Republic of South Africa (RSA). Since independence in 1966, the country has experimented with various forms of government, which have all been characterized by political instability. However, Lesotho has recently moved significantly towards democracy, and international observers declared the general elections in 2002 as both free and fair. Lesotho has scarcely any natural resources, and those available are inefficiently used. The economy is highly dependent on RSA. Development in the country is hampered by the lack of any feasible agricultural or industrial base and the brain and labor drain into RSA.

Like other developing countries in southern Africa, Lesotho is currently experiencing a food crisis made worse by the impact of the prevailing HIV and AIDS pandemic. Lesotho is facing an HIV and AIDS crisis of tremendous proportions. The pandemic is regarded as a principal obstacle in combating poverty and promoting sustainable human development. With almost one third of the adult population infected with HIV, Lesotho has the fourth highest prevalence rate in the world. Among the 49 least-developed countries (LDC)

- classified by the United Nations (UN) as particularly poor and vulnerable - Lesotho ranks first. In other words, no other country in the world is as underdeveloped and, at the same time, faced with an HIV and AIDS crisis of comparable magnitude.1

According to the UNAIDS Report on the Global HIV and AIDS Epidemic, an estimated five million people around the world became infected in 2001, 800,000 of whom were children. Over the next decade, without effective treatment and care they will join the ranks of the more than 20 million people who have died of AIDS since the first clinical evidence of HIV and AIDS was reported in 1981. Almost half a generation is going to die in the future because of AIDS. As stated by the UNAIDS Report the climax will take place around 2010.2

These deaths are going to leave behind a huge number of orphans. The surviving family members and society will not be able to handle this new challenge of caring for orphans without significant societal change, since the government has no institutions in place, mainly relying on the traditional extended family structure and private initiatives and faith-based organizations (FBO). Social change is already taking place within the traditional system of orphan care by extended family members, which is exemplified by the increasing number of households headed by children. This development makes a guided intervention by society very urgent. In addition, Lesotho’s laws often discriminate against women, children, and people with disabilities.

This thesis illustrates various issues concerning the development of social change within Lesotho’s society brought about by HIV and AIDS. It also outlines the importance of further social changes to gain control of the pandemic. Chapter one, the introduction, is followed in chapter two by a description of the methodology used for this paper. Chapter three defines the terms HIV and AIDS, social change and orphans as they are used in this paper. Chapter four presents a historical overview of Lesotho, its political structure, demographic characteristics, and socio-economic background. Chapter five illustrates various aspects of Lesotho’s cultural and social situation. Chapter six discusses HIV and AIDS in general, as well as the particular situation in Lesotho. Diverse methods of combating HIV and AIDS in Lesotho are presented in chapter seven. Chapter eight deals with social changes in Lesotho’s society brought about by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Chapter nine introduces the Tin/Can-Village3, Thlokomelo Society, the connection between tin cans and the fight against HIV and AIDS will be shown and why tin cans may support social change within Lesotho’s society will be explained. This thesis ends with a brief conclusion that summarizes the main findings and points to future work and research.

2. Methodology

“The methodological thrust of the grounded theory approach to qualitative data is towards the development of theory, without any particular commitment to specific kinds of data, lines of research, or theoretical interest. So, it is not really a specific method or technique. Rather, it is a style of doing qualitative analysis that includes a number of distinct features (...).”4

My investigation centers on social change in Lesotho’s society occurring due to the pandemic of HIV and AIDS with a focus on the integration of orphans. I decided to proceed according to Barney G. Glaser’s and Anselm L. Strauss’ Grounded Theory because this theory allows me to systematically and selectively develop a complex theory. The theory is based on qualitative data that was gathered through social research and offers guidelines to facilitate such research. Even when the process of developing a theory should take place in a systematic and selective way, the Grounded Theory prescribes a standard procedure, but at the same time suggests an open, inquisitive approach. The approaches recommended by the Grounded Theory should not be understood as strict rules instructing the researcher how to develop a theory out of collected data. The approaches are more in the nature of guidelines.5

The researcher, in this case, does not approach the object of investigation with pre-formed opinions, but develops assumptions as the research proceeds. Previous assumptions may be cast aside and new ones may evolve. Grounded Theory’s rules can be modified in accordance with the requirements of the particular research project. One phase of research does not displace another. Data collection and analysis take place simultaneously.6 Sampling of incidents, events, activities, populations, etc is directed by the evolving theory. “Theoretical sampling” proceeds thus according to one of the Grounded Theory’s major principles.7 Collected data is continuously compared, and systematic codes are developed, rejected, and improved during the ongoing analysis. The continuous process of comparison should help develop a theory appropriate for the data.8 This

assures that an arbitrary summary of alleged relationships in data are avoided, as differences and similarities are exactingly and systematically sought. During the coding, the general term for categorizing data, questions are raised and provisional answers (hypotheses) about categories and their relations are found. A code is the term for any result of this analysis (whether a category or a relation between two or more categories).9 Thus, the method represents a reciprocal oscillation between different - according to the positivistic research tradition, proceeding ideally in a linear manner - phases or moments of a research project.10 Theories are recorded and continuously linked and expanded in memos or “mindminutes”. These minutes are examined and sorted, which results in new ideas and new minutes.11

Why did I select the Grounded Theory method? The Grounded Theory not only permits, but actually supports a direct and open, non-standardized procedure and an initially unstructured exploration of the field. During the course of the analysis, when concrete questions evolve, the subject increasingly acquires a precise shape. I was initially inexperienced in terms of social change in Lesotho’s society, making such an approach essential. The Grounded Theory allowed me to gradually develop certain questions. I knew I wanted to do research on social change resulting from the HIV and AIDS crisis, but the exact focus of my research concern was initially nebulous.

How did I proceed? First of all, I decided to perform an internship in Africa and to use the resulting research in this field for my thesis. I wanted to live with a local family and work for a local NGO engaged in the fight against HIV and AIDS. By chance I heard about Lesotho and the NGO in which I performed my internship. At a meeting for people interested in doing internships in Africa I first heard about the Kingdom of Lesotho and its desolate situation due to poverty and the HIV and AIDS crisis. I contacted the deputy ambassador at the Lesotho Consulate in Berlin. During a meeting I heard about a German founded a NGO in Lesotho called the Thlokomelo Society. This Society, which was in the first stage of its establishment, consists of a village built out of tin cans to shelter orphans and employ local foster mothers. The NGO appears to be an ideal societal response to the increasing number of (mostly) parents that died of AIDS. The ambassador forwarded my request I contact the founder of the NGO, Mr. Hönes. He facilitated accommodation with a local family, where I stayed for three months. During the first months I was introduced to the NGO, attended its meetings, and started to explore my research field. I tried to attain all sorts of information - at first quite unsystematically. I got basic information from current literature. Among other things, I researched in the library of the United Nations Building, went to the Sechaba Consultants (a research institute in Lesotho) and the Bureau of Statistics, visited diverse ministries, like the Ministry of Health, and studied the archives in Morija, the only one in the country.

I also attended meetings of diverse international organizations located in Lesotho, like the German Development Service (Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst [DED]) and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit [GTZ]). I was a member of a NGO working group where volunteers from different professions come together monthly to discuss how they can help and support NGOs in several districts.

During the final month, I traveled throughout the country, visiting diverse local NGOs that deal with orphans, like the orphanage Mantase Child Village or Lesotho Child Counseling Unit (LCCU). I also interviewed people whom I thought could contribute to my research.

During the entire research I closely observed my environment, making notes, which I later finalized into “mindminutes”. During Interviews and while attending meetings, I always revealed my identity, trying not to flaunt my status.

An appointment was always made before any interviews were held. I met a few of my interviewees at their places of employment or in their homes, but the interviews mostly took place in community houses in the community. After the field trip I compared the information I had gathered in Lesotho with the current international literature and information obtained from the internet.

Thus I have not chosen a unique approach, but have, acquired my information through different means, depending on the opportunities which arose. Such an “opportunistic” research strategy is, to all intents and purposes, common and reasonable in fieldwork and is in line with the tenets of Grounded Theory.

3. Definitions

The following are key terms in this thesis that warrant definition.

3.1 Social Change

Social change is one of the principle issues in socio-scientific theories and empiricism. At all times one wanted to know how and why social structures change and to what extend one can predict direction and speed of changes.

Since the 1970s exponents of modernization theory, neo-Marxists and others are currently debating who owns the “best” model and explanation of social change.

On the one hand, there is a large diversity of possible definitions that all have their own merits. On the other hand there are common characteristics that permit a generic definition as:

“Social Change in sociology is understood as a process of changing society that takes place on diverse levels: the macro-level (social structure and culture), the miso-level (e.g. institutions) and the micro-level (based on the individual)”12.

An example of Social Change is the collapse of the German Democratic Republic, the entry into the Federal Republic of Germany and the ongoing transformations of the newly-formed German states. Here we see the disappearance of a whole social order with drastic consequences for the change of many institutions, social communities and for millions of individuals.

Social Change is closely connected with the term Social Structure. Both are fundamental terms of sociology. Social Structure is, for example, characterized in terms of social inequality, related to: private income, housing conditions, social ranks and environment, education, profession and employment, health and family, etc., but also to economic institutions, social security, politics and communication. Research into Social Change aims at a time-dependent but also at a historically approach and explanation of the changes in Social Structure.13

In this thesis Social Change stands on the one hand for changes in social structure that occurred in Lesotho’s society due to the pandemic of HIV and AIDS. A change in its basic institutions, cultural patterns and in its associated social actions and people’s consciousness. One obvious and dramatic change that took place and that is already observable, is the continuously growing number of orphaned children. On the other hand Social Change stands for a change that must take place in Lesotho’s society in the nearest future, to get the pandemic under control. Such change affects political institutions, socio-cultural behavior and a new and reasonable interaction with orphans.

3.2 AIDS and HIV

HIV stands for the “Human Immuno-deficiency Virus” and AIDS denotes “Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome”. HIV is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system and destroys or impairs their function. Infection with HIV results in the progressive depletion of certain essential cells in the immune system, leading to immune deficiency, which means that the immune system can no longer fulfill its role of fighting off infection and cancer. This leaves the body open to attack from infections referred to as “opportunistic” because they take advantage of a weakened immune system.

The first cases of unusual immune-system failure were identified among homosexual men in the United States in 1981, and in the following year, the Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first defined for the first time. In the course of 1982, three modes of transmission (blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, and mother-to-child transmission) were distinguished. In 1983/84, HIV was isolated and identified as the causative agent of what was then a newly-recognized disease.

Like other viruses, HIV has diversified. It is now known that there are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Both are transmitted by sexual contact, through blood transfusion, and from mother to child, and they appear to cause clinically indistinguishable AIDS (although HIV-2 seems to be less transmittable and less pathogenic, as the period between initial infection and illness is longer).14

3.3 Orphans

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) an orphan is defined as a child that has lost both parents.15 UNAIDS, UNICEF and USAID gives a more precise definition:

“Maternal orphans are children under age 15 whose mothers, and perhaps fathers, have died (includes double orphans).

Paternal orphans are children under age 15 whose fathers and perhaps mothers, have died (includes double orphans).

Double orphans are children under 15 whose mothers and fathers have both died.”16

In Lesotho, communities often define orphans as vulnerable children, including children who are disabled or destitute children who may not necessarily be biological orphans, but may be termed social orphans. In some parts of the country, children who have lost just one parent are known as orphans and must go through a cleansing ceremony, known as the ho tosa khitsana.17

I intentionally avoid the use of the term “AIDS orphans” because it may contribute to inappropriate categorization and stigmatization of vulnerable children. Instead I use “children affected by HIV and AIDS”, “orphans due to AIDS”, or “children orphaned by AIDS”, which refer to children who have lost at least one parent due to AIDS.

4. Lesotho, the Small Kingdom in Southern

Africa

Map 1: Lesotho and Surrounding South Africa

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Van Wyk, 1996, p. 14.

Lesotho, the land known as the “Mountain Kingdom in the Sky”, is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Lesotho has cultivated a strong cultural heritage to overcome challenges with a sense of pride and a will to survive. This heritage of will is enshrined in the historical founding of the nation to come together in search of peace and prosperity, to preserve independence and avoid war, to overcome the apartheid era and political turmoil, and to support the strong role of the extended family, religion, and chieftainship. Lesotho is the only constitutional monarchy in sub Sahara Africa today.

The Lesotho of today has not changed greatly since being founded. Still facing many development challenges, the country is striving to survive as an independent and sovereign nation in the increasingly globalized world.18

Lesotho, with an estimated population of 2.2 million19, is a constitutional monarchy which, in internationally-recognized national elections in 2002, elected its first representative parliament since independence in 1966. It has now attained a certain political stability.20

External relations are dominated by economic an geographic dependence on its neighbor. Income earned by migrant mine workers accounts for a large share of the Gross National Product.

Lesotho lies entirely outside the tropics and this, together with its great height above sea-level, results in its being free from the tropical diseases which present a problem in almost all other African countries.21

The total area of Lesotho is approximately 30,300 km². All of the land is at a height above 1500 meters above sea-level, the only country in the world with this distinction. The highest area is located in the east, rising to a summit plateau of over 3000 meters: The highest point (3482 meters) is Thabana-Ntlenyana. The summit plateau includes the watershed between the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans on its eastern edge. The international boundary follows this watershed, to the east of which is the Drakensberg escarpment, in which the land drops in cliffs of up to 1000 meters down to the South African province of Natal. Access to Lesotho from the east is, thus, extremely difficult. Western Lesotho, however, is comparatively lower in altitude. Here are high plains, the so-called ‘Lowlands’ of Lesotho, some 1500 to 1600 meters above sea level, which, together with the foothills, occupy about one quarter of the total area of Lesotho. The Lowlands contain seven of the ten district town headquarters, most of the population, and the best agricultural land.22

Lesotho’s ten districts are: Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Berea, Maseru (the capita), Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, Qacha’s Nek, Thaba-Tseka and Mokhotlong.

The people of Lesotho are a nation of travelers and horsemen, as for many years this was the best means of transportation to reach the most remote corners of its mountainous landscape.23

Map 2: Lesotho and Districts

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bartelmus, 2003.24

4.1 Historical Perspective

The earliest known inhabitants of Lesotho, who date back to at least the 10th century AD, were the Late-Stone-Age San hunters and gatherers, who traveled the rugged mountainous terrain, leaving a rich legacy of rock art and paintings in caves throughout the country. By the 16th century, other Bantu-speaking peoples and ethnic groups had occupied the land as cattle owners, adapting themselves to the extreme and harsh conditions of the mountains.25

The people of Lesotho, called the Basotho (singular = Mosotho), were united under Moshoeshoe I during the first half of the 19th century. Basotho generally speak the language Sesotho26. Sesotho is also used by large numbers of Southern Sotho speakers in the Orange Free State and the southern Transvaal. In other words, Sesotho stands for Southern Sotho. Sesotho may also be used to distinguish the ways and customs of the Basotho from that of other peoples.27

4.2 Moshoeshoe the Great

The people of Lesotho, the Basotho, identify their origins and strength from the vision of one man - Moshoeshoe I, who built the nation on the principles of leadership, family, loyalty, diplomacy, and, when necessary, war.28

The nation endured wars with the Afrikaner settlers and the British, forging partnerships to introduce Christianity and education, and making Moshoeshoe one of the greatest strategists for his people.

Moshoeshoe the Great, a commoner described as “merely the senior son of a village headman”29, gathered various ethic and autonomous Sesotho-speaking tribes scattered by the rise of the Zulu in 1816-1830. He established a stronghold as king and leader in 1823, first in what is now known as Butha Buthe, and then further inland to Thaba Bosiu or “Mountain of the Night”. This is an historical landmark housing the Royal Cemetery and the remains of Moshoeshoe’s homestead.

Building alliances and farming the land as successful grain farmers, the Basotho, under the leadership of Moshoeshoe, were able to enjoy good years of peace and prosperity, trading with neighboring peoples to consolidate their wealth. Their population reached over 80,000 in the 1850s. In the ensuring years, through war with the Afrikaners and the British, much land was lost, and Moshoeshoe placed the nation under the protection of the British in 1865. Moshoeshoe died in 1871, leaving a legacy of pride to his people.30

4.3 Living in the Apartheid Era

Being landlocked and completely surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho’s history and socio-economic development have been intricately linked to that of its neighbor. The apartheid years of South Africa have had a profound impact on the country. Lesotho was first governed by the Cape Colony and was, fortunately, returned to British control in 1871, as it otherwise would have formed part of the Union of South Africa. Lesotho has provided a labor reservoir for the mining industry, creating an opportunity for young men to earn money and support their families. The country also supported the education and well-being of many of South Africa’s leading freedom fighters and refugees. The closing of the borders in 1983, when Lesotho denounced South African apartheid, is a telling tale of its vulnerability to its neighbor.31

4.4 Lesotho’s Districts and Chieftainship

The government itself combines aspects of two systems. The modern chieftainship in Lesotho is a system largely created by King Moshoeshoe I early in the nineteenth century, when the administration of his expanding kingdom was achieved by installing relatives and loyal subjects as local chiefs. During colonial rule, a dual administration evolved with government at village level essentially controlled through a hierarchy of chiefs under the so- called “Paramount Chief”, who was a descendant of King Moshoeshoe I. Parallel to this, there were the colonial administrators, a series of district

administrators, and officials controlling specialized areas, such as agriculture, education, and law and order, these in turn falling under the Resident Commissioner. In the six years before independence, the outgoing colonial government attempted to create a system of parliamentary democracy in which the chiefs might still have a role as part of an upper house in a bicameral parliament. The 22 principal chiefs were members of the senate until parliamentary democracy was abandoned in 1970. Since its restoration in 1993, they have played the same role.32

At village level, the system of chieftainship remains largely intact, but after the coup of January 1986, an increasingly democratic element was introduced by the revival and revision of locally-elected village, ward and district councils, on which chiefs sit with an ex officio status. Because the remuneration for chiefs is low, a number of women act as chiefs, while the male heir to the chieftainship finds more lucrative employment elsewhere.33

4.5 Lesotho’s Demographic Facts

Lesotho’s demographic facts was compiled by the Bureau of Statistics and published in 2001 entitled: Lesotho Demographic Survey, Vol. I: Analytical Report. As the next census in Lesotho will not be held until 2006 the Table shows obsolete data but still gives a general conspectus over Lesotho’s demographic facts.

Table 1: Lesotho Demographic Data Profile

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bureau of Statistics, 2001, pp. 1-5.

4.6 Lesotho’s Environment

Probably the most pressing environmental problem Lesotho faces is soil erosion. This is caused mainly by human activities – in particular poor crop production techniques and overgrazing – and intensified by natural causes, such as rain and wind. The effects can easily be seen; the country is intersected by gullies and so called dongas and vast areas are denuded of vegetation. The ecological effect of the sustained and unrelenting cultivation of the Lesotho mountains has been devastating. The soil fertility has plummeted and, more seriously, huge quantities of topsoil are simply washed away with each summer rains, often ending up as silt in the rivers of the Eastern Cape. In many places, so much topsoil has gone that great ravines, dongas have opened up. These, though they often look green enough, in fact tend to be so close to the surface rock that they are useless for serious cultivation.35

Picture 2: Dongas

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten36

Source: Bartelmus, 2003.

After independence, the new government took up the battle for soil conservation. Its efforts led Parliament to pass the ‘Land Husbandry Act 1996’. This Act states as its purpose, to:

“…control and improve, in respect of agricultural land, the use of land, soil conservation, water resources, irrigation and certain agricultural practices, and to provide incidental or connected matters”36.

Water is one of the most abundant resources in Lesotho. The country enjoys a relatively high annual rainfall as compared with the more arid parts of Southern Africa, raining from 500mm in the central Maluti valley to 700- 800mm in the lowlands (where most Basotho live) and up to 1300mm in the northern Maluti, bordering Natal. However, since rainfall occurs mainly during a seven-month period in summer and distribution is uneven, water shortage may occur. Moreover, the rapid population growth and demands by an expanding industry and commerce have increased pressure on the available water resources and water supply.37

4.6.1 Lesotho’s Waste Management

The management of waste has recently received increasing public attention, in particular in developed countries, where the amount of waste is estimated to double every ten years. Exact figures for Lesotho countrywide are not available. South Africa’s production of solid waste amounts to 300 million tons per year, with mining wastes accounting for 74%.38 A study on the solid-waste management of Maseru, undertaken in 1987 anticipates that by 1997 Maseru will generate about 491 tons of refuse per week, occupying over 60,000m³ of space per annum, equal to an area of one hectare filled to a height of six meters.39

Picture 3: Waste

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bartelmus, 2003.

Since Lesotho economy is tied to the economy of South Africa, it is bound to a large extent to follow similar consumption patterns, and these are, as in other developed countries or semi-developed countries, characterized by a luxurious overuse of resources and materials that is geared to fulfil alleged consumer needs and stimulated by clever advertising and marketing strategies. Manufactures are often more concerned with increased turnover and profit than with biodegradability or resource recycling of their goods. Lesotho has thus fallen prey to a

“throw-away society”40,

proof of which may be easily witnessed: millions of tin cans are liberally disposed of in Lesotho’s landscape. One can say the tin can has become Lesotho’s

“national flower”41.

It is not always easy to ascertain what constitutes waste. For example, suppose a person has emptied a beer bottle which he wants to refill with water or extracts from his car a run-down battery, which he intends to reuse in another car after recharging it. Both items may look like rubbish or waste but, in fact, they are goods of some economic value to the owner, and he does not wish to abandon them. Something, therefore, only becomes waste when the owner wants to get rid of it.

In Lesotho there is no general anti-litter law in comparison to Germany, where the German Waste Management Act stringently applies the following definition:

“Waste are movable things which the possessor wishes to discharge himself or whose proper disposal is required for the well-being of the community, in particular for the protection of the environment.”42

Modern strategies envisage the development of a four-step approach: avoidance, recycling/recovery, treatment and safe deposition. Any government policy should be geared to prevent the creation of as waste as possible in a consumer-oriented society. For example, the crating and packing of products, in particular food, in recent years has resulted in an overuse of resources far beyond what is necessary for safe transport and hygienic storage. Products are often packed in such a way as to make them look larger than they are to lure the consumer into buying them rather than other products with the same consumption value. Another example is the increasing use in fast-food restaurants of plastic eating utensils, which are clean, cheap and easily discarded after single use, but create problems of their ultimate disposal.43

4.6.2 The Basotho’s Mentality Regarding their Environment

People in Lesotho tend to view the environment as God’s very own creation with unlimited powers of self-renewal, and no one need lose sleep over environment and environmental issues.44

Picture 4: Car Wracks in Dongas

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bartelmus, 2003.

Living next to Maseru and later travelling throughout the country gave me a view of the ease of handling waste in Lesotho. Both the capital and the surrounding areas are literally covered with waste: plastic bags, tin cans, food leftovers, like bones, glass and plastic bottles, car frames, batteries, textiles, etc. Everything is dumped in nature thrown away when no longer needed. Waste is thrown away as if everywhere people go, the environment is there to absorb everything. While travelling by public transportation, I noticed that waste was always thrown out of the bus window. Things that have no use are thrown into the surroundings, and nobody seems to be bothered or cares about the untidiness and the effects it might have or has on the environment.

This thesis is confirmed by a personal experience when visiting Morija, a small village approximately a half an hour’s bus drive from Maseru, with my host family’s son. I carried my empty plastic water-bottle until I found a bin to throw it away. My “host brother” was very amused seeing me walking around so long with an empty bottle in my hand. When I explained why I did so, he just shrugged his shoulders, laughed and pointed out all then other bottles and tin cans lying around.

Public areas, like streets and parks, are full of waste, even when bins are provided. In contrast, private areas, like gardens, are very well kept. Yards are swept daily, and the fruits and vegetables placed on stands at the sides of the streets, for example, are always presented in a very orderly way.

When visiting the mountain villages, I observed that the interiors of most of the huts were very tidy. Every item seemed to be in place; nothing was just lying around. I saw few personal belongings, some were very old and odd, but it was not untidy.

I have the feeling that disposable items that are no longer needed have no value at all, whereas personal belongings are very well looked after. Not only the gardens, but also the way the Basotho dress is proper. As access to water in Lesotho is no problem, textiles are washed and dried in the sun every day. Even when the clothes are worn out, they are rarely dirty. Most of the Basotho wear the traditional Sesotho blankets, which are wrapped around the body in a special traditional way. Also here one can observe a certain order, as the blankets may be wrapped in two different ways, one for women and one for men.

Most households, even those in the very poor areas, are very tidy. The eating utensils and steel pots the Basotho use for cooking are clean and polished. It appears to me as if there is an ongoing competition for who has the shiniest pots, the most proper garden etc. in the community. My personal impression is that this expresses: “My neighborhood might be a mess, but my life is proper.” In my opinion the people overvalue certain aspects of their lives, like their neat and clean appearance and what the neighbors might see and think about them, rather than looking after the environment and their health. A shiny pot seems to be more important than the use of a condom. Perhaps this is a kind of defense mechanism denying their desolate situation.45

4.7 Lesotho’s Legislation

The Basotho, through Moshoeshoe I, invited the Christian missionaries and later sought British protection to enhance their national security, but they did not want European laws and customs. Moshoeshoe I realized that British rule would sometimes involve introduction of some British laws and requested that such laws only be introduced with the consent of the people. The British were requested to first send Moshoeshoe I the proposed changes, and he would then put them to the people. If the Basotho agreed, he would send the British a message that their proposals had become law. When the British took over the Government of Lesotho in 1868, they did not adhere to these requests. They made laws for Lesotho by way of proclamations, sometimes taking the wishes of the Basotho into account. They never waited for Moshoeshoe I or Letsie I (Moshoeshoe’s son) or their descendants to tell them that their proposals had become law. In other words, the Basotho had lost the power to make their own laws.46

In 1972 Charles Griffith, the Governor’s Agent, commenting on the marriage customs of the Basotho, said:

“…these customs, sethepu and bohali are too deeply founded to be easily abolished. That will be a question of time; and as by the influence of Government and the missionaries the people are raised in the scale of civilization, so will the custom disappear.”47

To marry and to start a family, a man has to give the bride's family bohali, a number of cattle, in recognition of their efforts in raising her, and S ethepu stands for polygamy.48

The introduction of Christian marriage into Lesotho’s culture and the banning of the requirement of bohali scandalized the Basotho. Many men regarded Christian marriage as “something like a joke”49, a way of acquiring a wife without having to pay bohali until a more valued wife could be afforded. Despite promises not to marry any additional wives by Lesotho Law, many men did.50

Although the compulsory registration of all marriages might have been encouraged by the missionaries in hope that it would give Christian marriages priority over Basotho customary marriages, it did not have that effect. The Basotho were deterred by expense and the inconvenience of having to go to magistrates, of whom there were only five in the whole country. They continued to marry according to Basotho custom and to seek judicial opinions in respect of their marriage from the chiefs’ courts, as they had always done.51

Today the Basotho are able to choose whether to marry under civil law or traditional law. If the marriage is conducted in church or in the district commissioner's office, the law governing the marriage is the civil law. If, however, it is regulated by the families of the newlyweds, according to tradition, then the law governing the marriage is Sotho law. It is also possible for a couple to be married both according to tradition and then in church or in the district commissioner's office. In such cases, the law that governs the marriage is the civil law. As long as a couple is married under civil law, neither of the partners may marry a third person under Sotho Law.52

„We have not yet found our identity. Our laws do not know us. They do not represent our aspirations. Yet we say we are self-governing and have selfdetermination. Who are we? What are we? It seems in legal terms we still suffer from old identity crisis we thought we had lived down .”53

The critical words of the former Senior Lecturer in Law and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law at the National University of Lesotho shows the confusing situation in Lesotho’s legislation. He further argues:

“Our laws are obsolete. We do not understand them simply because scholarship and research have not been developed.”54

The Laws of Lerotholi, named after Paramount Chief Lerotholi, who confirmed a number of laws approved by the Basotholand Council established in 1903, are a collection of rules which are in part customary law. Over the years, a number of rules have been added; the latest revised edition was published in 1959. The Laws of Lerotholi are commonly divided into three parts: Part I containing the “Declaration of Basotho Law and Customs”, Part II the “Rules Issued by the Paramount Chief with Approval of the High Commissioner, under the Provisions of Section 15 (1) of the Native Administration Proclamation No.61 of 1938”, and Part III containing “Orders Issued by the Paramount Chief under the Provisions of Section 8 (4) of the Native Administration Proclamation No. 61 of 1938”.55

4.8 Socio-Economic Background of Lesotho’s Population

The historical context of the Basotho economy is intrinsically woven into the pre- and post-apartheid era of South Africa. Part of the industrialization and investment development in Lesotho was achieved by firms wanting to circumvent the economic sanctions and the political complexities associated with pre-apartheid South Africa. Post-apartheid South Africa has experienced economic restructuring and direct investment in South Africa, which have had a negative impact on Lesotho’s economy. Furthermore the dependence of Lesotho’s economy on the South-African economy, through migrant labor, also has negative effects on social structures and health.56

Human resources constitute one of the most valuable assets available to any country. A substantial number of Basotho work outside Lesotho in South Africa as miners. The labor migration mainly to the Republic of South Africa affects the population of Lesotho and has a notable impact on Lesotho’s demography. It has been estimated that between 40% and 50% of Lesotho’s male labor force is employed in South Africa.57

Historically, the need for money to buy, for example, cattle and agricultural equipment was a main driving force for male emigration. Furthermore, the demand for labor in the mining and agricultural sectors of the South African economy is also a crucial factor encouraging labor immigration, particularly from Lesotho due to its proximity. Currently the main reason why the South-African mining industry is the main employer of Lesotho’s male labor force is the lack of a developed economic base combined with a lack of natural resources in Lesotho, notably sufficient agricultural land. Higher wages offered to miners in South Africa compared with the returns from agriculture in Lesotho has been a major inducement for males to work in the Republic of South Africa.58

The number of migrant workers has been declining due to South Africa’s policy of internationalization of labor and due to their attempt to create jobs for their own workers.59

Lesotho has a limited natural resources, as water is the only major natural resource in the country and is currently being developed by Lesotho’s Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The LHWP was designed in early 1980s to store water in a series of dams and transfer it through tunnels from Lesotho to the Republic of South Africa. This project is expected to benefit the Kingdom of Lesotho by providing hydroelectricity, water, development in the highland zones and revenue from the sales of water to the RSA. The project employs up to 4000 Basotho in direct project activities and provides further benefits, like: 1) compensation: for example, replacement of houses for the families that have lost their homes; 2) resettlement: for example, enabling families directly affected to recover their ability to earn their own incomes; 3) providing facilities and infrastructure for most of the villages in the project area; 4) road construction; and 5) environmental-protection measures.60

The country’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, exporting labor and external funds. Although agriculture is considered the backbone of the country, erratic rainfall and poor irrigation systems make agricultural production fluctuate dramatically. As stated above, this can also be a reason for migration. In addition, poor returns from agriculture is one of the main reasons for people migrating from rural to urban areas in search for jobs.

In 1992, the per-capita gross national product (GNP) was estimated to be 590 US Dollars. Basotho mine workers’ wages contribute significantly to the GNP. However, the combined effects of migrant retrenchments, economic recession and the drought has made the Lesotho economy stagnate from the 1990s until today.61

Most of the Basotho who eventually come back to Lesotho are unemployed and will probably not find any work in Lesotho. This situation and the fact that the women have started to manage their lives without their husbands, gaining self-confidence on the one hand and knowledge about issues formerly handled by the men on the other hand causes the men frustration and anger. Lots of men, having the impression they are no longer useful and not having any kind of occupation any more, start to drink. Alcoholism in Lesotho is a very wide-spread problem, and aggression against women often results out of men’s desperate situations and their alcohol problems.

The 1996 population census of Lesotho indicated that the total number of people aged 10 years or above and economically active was 573,064, of whom 66.5% were males and 33.5% were females. However the proportion of the population above the age of 10 who are economically active has been decreasing by about 3% since 1976. It was 47.6% in 1976, which decreased to 44.0% by 1986. The comparable figure from the 1996 census data is 40.6%.62

Table 2: Economically-Active Population (10+years) by Sex, Residing Inside or Outside Lesotho, and Rural or Urban Residence: 1986 and 1996

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 47.

Table 2 gives a summary of the location of the economically-active population. While 440,455 (76.9%) of the active population reside inside Lesotho, 132,609 (23.1% ) reside outside Lesotho. The proportion of the active population residing in rural areas is 3.5 times that of urban areas.

Table 3: Percentage Distribution of the Economically-Active Population by Sex and District of Residence: 1996

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source: Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 48.

Table 3 gives the distribution of the economically-active population by district of residence. As expected, Maseru plays a leading role in terms of the number of economically-active people, followed by Leribe. Qacha’s Nek and Mokhotlong districts have fewer people who are economically active.

5. Lesotho’s Cultural and Social Situation

Culture is of the utmost importance to the people of Lesotho, as it is to most African peoples. Lesotho’s culture has been under assault many times in its history, from the church and from apartheid, but it has survived. In fact, culture was at the very core of the creation of the Lesotho nation by King Moshoeshoe.

The people of Lesotho are very proud of being Basotho. Everyone talks about the Lesotho nation. This pride in Sesotho culture is the basis of their identity and resilience. It is that resilience which enabled them to resist the onslaught of apartheid, as well as the rugged climate. As a mountain country, the climate of extreme temperatures, high winds, and dust can be quite challenging. Surviving it requires fortitude, and that survival has further increased the resilience of the Basotho.

The Basotho remain proud of their culture, heritage, and independence. Despite the political humiliations and costly strife of recent years, there have been important national events, such as the coronation and wedding of King Letsie III and the initiation of the Morija Festival in 1999, which now takes place once a year in Morija. This is a festival to show the traditional culture of the Basotho, the nation’s cultural identity and social coherence.63

Overall, however, Lesotho society is fragmenting. Its culture, like most in the third world, is under siege. Traditional moral structures are decaying, and a host of social pathologies are taking their place. Violence is spreading both in rural and urban society. Stock theft within and across the nation’s borders has become a major social and economic disease, wiping out many rural livelihoods overnight and diminishing the cultural strengths traditionally associated with livestock keeping. It affects not only stock owners, but also the herd boys, who lose their jobs or their lives, with grave consequences for the households from which they come.64

[...]


1 UNDP PAGES, 2003, p. 9.

2 UNAIDS, 2002, pp. 20-23.

3 In this thesis Tin/Can written with a back slash symbolizes Tin/Can Products.

4 Strauss, 1987, p. 5.

5 ibid, p. 7.

6 Glaser, Strauss, 1967, p. 53.

7 Strauss, 1987, p. 21.

8 Glaser, Strauss, 1967, p. 120.

9 Strauss, 1987, p. 20.

10 ibid, p. 19.

11 ibid, p. 18.

12 From the internet: http://www.schader-stiftung.de/gesellschaft_wandel/375.php, 2004.

13 Weymann, 1998, p. 14.

14 From the internet: http://www.aids.org/factSheets/101-What-is-AIDS.html, 2004.

15 From the internet: http://www.undp.org/dpa/frontpagearchive/2002/november/15nov02/, 2004.

16 UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID, 2002, p. 8.

17 Kimaryo, Okpaku, Githuku-Shongwe, Feeney, 2004, p. 224.

18 Kimaryo, Okpaku, Githuku-Shongwe, Feeney, 2004, p. 13.

19 Bureau of Statistics, 2001, pp. 1-5.

20 Pule, 2002, p. 173.

21 Coats, 1966, p. 3.

22 Coats, 1966, p. 4.

23 Gill, 1994, p.18.

24 I took all pictures during my stay in Lesotho from May to September 2003.

25 Gill, 1993, p. 63.

26 although some speak Sephuthi, Xhosa or Zulu as a native language

27 Gill, 1993, p. xiii.

28 Gill, 1994, p. 32.

29 Thompson, 1975, p. 6.

30 Orpen, 1979, p. 24.

31 Kimaryo, Okpaku, Githuku-Shongwe, Feeney, 2004, p.: 16.

32 Duncan, 1960, p. 43.

33 Gill, 1994, p. 6

34 The Lesotho currency, 1 Euro is about 10 Maloti

35 Witzsch, 1992, p. 13.

36 Land Husbandry Act No. 22, 1996, p. 81.

37 Witzsch, 1992, p. 51

38 Huntley, Siegfried, Sunter, 1989, p. 110.

39 Ministry of Interior, 1983, p. 390.

40 Witzsch, 1992, p. 127.

41 ibid.

42 From the internet: http://www.umwelt-online.de/recht/abfall/abf_ges.htm, 3.10.2004.

43 Witzsch, 1992, p. 146.

44 Kumar, 1992, p. xviii.

45 Mind-minute waste and mind-minute Sea-Point, 2003.

46 Maqutu, 1992, p. 1.

47 Commission on Laws and Customs, 1873, p. 5.

48 Van Wyk, 1996, p. 14.

49 Burman, 1981, p. 96.

50 Ibid.

51 Maqutu, 1992, p. 2.

52 Duncan, 1960, p. 20.

53 Maqutu, 1992, p. 358.

54 Ibid.

55 Poulter, 1981, pp. 5-7

56 Government of Lesotho, 2002, p. 2.

57 Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 46.

58 Keegan, 1986, pp. 196-215.

59 Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 46.

60 Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 46.

61 Ministry of Planning, Economic and Manpower Development, p. 102.

62 Bureau of Statistics and UNFPA, 1996, p. 47.

63 Turner, 2001, p. 46.

64 ibid.

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Title
"Living in Rich Man's Garbage" - Social Change in Lesotho Owing to HIV and AIDS - The Tin/Can-Village Approach to Orphan Care and Social Change
College
Free University of Berlin  (Institut für Soziologie)
Grade
1,9
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Year
2004
Pages
241
Catalog Number
V36478
ISBN (eBook)
9783638360906
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English
Tags
Living, Rich, Garbage, Social, Change, Lesotho, Owing, AIDS, Tin/Can-Village, Approach, Orphan, Care
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Claude Bartelmus (Author), 2004, "Living in Rich Man's Garbage" - Social Change in Lesotho Owing to HIV and AIDS - The Tin/Can-Village Approach to Orphan Care and Social Change, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/36478

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