20 April 2005

Those Cows!

Likhomo tseo! That's the literal translation of the above title: those cows. In Sesotho, however, the phrase is a greeting uttered to an adult, usually a male adult. Cows hold a special place in a Mosotho's heart. They are riches and food, and fuel, and clothing, and beasts of burden. Cows are everything to us.

Riches because they are collateral-lobola-milk-beef rolled into one; fuel because we dry dung and burn it; clothing because traditionally we wear their hide, and beasts of burden because they carry our heavy loads and pull our ploughs to till the land.

So go ahead and try the greeting, preferably with a raised hand, Likhomo! Or Likhomo tseo! And if there are children around, or in the family, Likhomo tseo le manamane a tsona! The latter greeting means, Those cows and their calves. It is a greeting of respect.

The following link goes to the Lesotho Prime Minister's Speech on the 25th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Lesotho. The last words he utters, right at the end of his talk, are... link.