Lesotho: I was a victim of political violence

Date: September 15, 2014
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February 28 1970

Four male policemen arrived at my house and asked me to hand over guns which I have allegedly kept for the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP). They gun-lashed and kicked me around. They asked me to open the house so that they could search it and the only thing they found was a locked box with medication and my husband’s First Aid certificates from Welkom. They broke the box and found nothing but the above-mentioned items. While doing this, they were hurling unprintable insults at me À“ insulting me by my mother’s private parts.

April 18 1970 À“ 4.00

Vigilantes came to my house and threatened to kill me. They burnt my house to the ground. Members of the BCP assisted in putting out the fire but to no avail. I then stayed with relatives.

April 24 1970 À“ midnight

The same vigilantes arrive and ordered me to open the door or they would burn the house. When I opened the door, one of them hit me on the head with a stick and said he wanted to rape me; but then the other one outside intervened and asked if they wanted to rape his aunt in his presence! He promised to fight to death if that happened.

May 05 1970

I was picked up from my neighbour’s house. They kicked and beat me and the house owner was concerned as to why I was so mistreated. They insulted me in the process. When we arrived at the place they took me to, they asked me what I was doing at my neighbour’s house. After that they released me and I went to my house although I could hardly walk as a result of the beatings. From there I fled to my home in Mekaling, Mohale’s Hoek where I spent two months until my husband came for me when he was on leave from the mines.

August 03 1970

I received a message that I should go to Mohale’s Hoek police station with my son. My son was arrested. They want him to tell them who owned the gun he picked up. My son said it was true that he had picked up the gun but he did not know who it belongs to. They released him after hurling terrible insults at him.

Ha Maphohloane.

*Not her real name

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.


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