In the gloom of a cave, Mamotonosi Ntefane, 67, shakes the skin of an animal. he’s one of The last caves in LesothoAnd the A country in South Africa tells its history They took refuge in caves to escape from cannibals Two centuries ago.
to more Its altitude is 1800 meters In the mountains of this small southern African kingdom, only a few shepherds covered in long woolen blankets can be seen in the morning mist.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, Hundreds live in the caves of com, Including some families, descendants of the tribes that established the boundaries of this former reserve which became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966.
Soft white smoke emerges from a rocky outcrop at breakfast time: the bunker, about 50 kilometers from the capital, Maseru, is closely guarded.
Over the wood, a black kettle boils the traditional ‘baba’, cream of corn. “I’m fine here. We grow our vegetables and I can pray as much as I want” France Press agency Mamutonusi Ntifani, around his neck is a rosary. From her open cave door, the woman watches the plains from afar.
Most of this rural country’s 2.2 million people still make their living from farming. They grow corn, sorghum and green beans. But there is also poultry and livestock.
Some residents, the elderly, receive assistance from the state. Others earn a little money by showing their caves to a few tourists.
The cave is divided into several round dwellings connected to the basalt rock. The walls and floors are made of a mixture of clay and animal droppings. How often should you restore it?
Furniture is basic: cowhide on the floor used as a bed and water – from the neighboring town – in plastic pots and buckets.
Mamutonusi Ntifani washes herself with a small bar of soap that she keeps in a small metal box. “Here, no electricity, no refrigerator, but it’s our home, it’s our history,” Capello Komi, 44, explains to AFP. He is a descendant of the first inhabitant who gave the place its name.
At that time, South Africa was experiencing a severe drought, which exterminated herds and depleted grain reserves. in their texts, The missionaries who made the country into Christianity depict the ravages of cannibalism.
The Sotos, the country’s main ethnic group, eventually united after the arrival of European settlers bent on farming in the fertile lands and the attacks of Zulu warriors from South Africa for livestock and food. And so Lesotho was born.
Mamatsaseng Khutsoane, 66, has taught her entire life at the nearest school, an hour’s walk away. The work allowed him to build a house in a mountain village above the caves. But he says he still comes to eat with his grandchildren.
From afar, the bells of cows grazing on the large stones reverberate.