Basutoland: ‘A Very Prickly Hedgehog’

Murray Colin and Sanders Peter

in Medicine Murder in Colonial Lesotho

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748622849
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652952 | DOI:
Basutoland: ‘A Very Prickly Hedgehog’

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Throughout the period considered in this book, the arguments about medicine murder reflected political tensions between the British colonial administration and the Basotho chieftainship on the one hand, and the chiefs and their subjects on the other. This chapter analyses these political tensions as they developed through the first half of the twentieth century, in order to explain the context of the socio-economic and political change in which the arguments of the 1940s and the 1950s took place. It outlines the administrative and judicial reforms introduced in the late 1930s and the 1940s. It then introduces the disputes over succession to the paramountcy which vitally influenced the internal conflicts of the 1940s and, at least in part, to some of the most notorious cases of medicine murder.

Keywords: British colonial administration; Basotho chieftainship; political tensions; judicial reforms; medicine murder

Chapter.  18836 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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