Original Research

Turning the herding lifestyle into a learning opportunity: Experiences from Lesotho

Selloane Pitikoe
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 14, No 1 | a521 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v14i1.521 | © 2018 Selloane Pitkoe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 November 2017 | Published: 15 November 2018

About the author(s)

Selloane Pitikoe, Research Office, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


This article addresses the complex ways through which Basotho herders acquired indigenous knowledge (IK) through their herding practice. For centuries, Basotho males have practiced livestock herding as an alternative form of employment while also perceiving it as a quicker way of accruing personal livestock wealth. This socio-economic discourse has further rendered male Basotho at a disadvantage in terms of education access because of the semi-nomadic nature of herding and the inaccessibility of the herding topography. The article draws on data collected using semi-structured interviews, as well as the photovoice and the transect walk techniques, conducted with a group of 30 male Basotho herders aged between 18 and 45 years, representative of the highlands, foothills and the lowlands of Lesotho. This article aims to address two research objectives. Firstly, it interrogates how Basotho herders learn through herding. Secondly, it explores how the empirical findings harvested from this article can inform Lesotho’s non-formal education policy and practice reform. It was discovered that herding comprises a wealth of undocumented IK, which comes in two forms: local science and local practice knowledge. Finally, the article suggests ways that Lesotho’s mainstream education may consider reforming the current education policy and practice. It is anticipated that this article will significantly contribute to the IK scholarship elsewhere in the world on issues pertaining to livestock herding and herders’ access to education.


indigenous knowledge; local science; local memory; local practice; non-formal education; herders


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