Chapter

Introduction

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622849.003.0022
Introduction

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Medicine murders continued after Basutoland became the independent state of Lesotho in 1966. With about 500 ordinary murders a year in a population of approximately two million people in the mid-1990s, Lesotho had one of the highest murder rates in the world. This chapter poses key questions about medicine murder in late colonial Lesotho. It seeks to understand the virulence of the phenomenon, and the intensity of the moral crisis induced by it, by exploring the many different and often conflicting perspectives that have been brought to bear upon it. The chapter examines records of all the available cases of medicine murder. The strongest evidence relates to those in the colonial period, from the first recorded murder in 1895 to the last in 1966, just a month before independence. The chapter also looks at ‘ritual murder’ and the potential for broader study.

Keywords: medicine murder; Basutoland; moral crisis; Lesotho; colonial period; ritual murder

Chapter.  4870 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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