Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi of Maseru in Lesotho says the effects of the Apartheid-era migrant labour system continues to impact on families even now.
The Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, is a small mountainous country that has a population of slightly over two million people. The country is completely surrounded by South Africa. In the Apartheid days, many young men, because of necessity, migrated to South Africa to seek work in the mines and factories as migrant labourers.
The men often spent long periods on contract labour in the South African mines, leaving their wives and families back in Lesotho. This has had a negative impact on family life in Lesotho. Archbishop Lerotholi who is also president of the Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference says the effects of divided families are still being felt to this day even when the migrant labour system is no longer in place.
The results are that some men abandoned their families, families became separated and estranged and today’s generation has to deal with all the pain.
In some cases, as the women stayed back home, they became more independent and even relatively prosperous thus altering the traditional fabric of this conventional society. The men now back home, find themselves having to navigate new family roles. Sometimes the changes can be difficult and alienating.
(Fr. Paul Samasumo)
Listen to an extract of Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi of Maser, Lesotho
Source: Vatican Radio