As the cost of living continues to escalate, many Basotho women have to devise innovative means to source alternative ways to supplement their income. The women group together to go shopping in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town; a risky and often life-threatening trade.
The harsh rural living conditions, deep in the Lesotho mountains; the struggles are real. For those who dare to escape it, they are met with even more unforgiving city life struggles. Any idea that has the potential to generate income is exploited.
Many women find an innovative way to travel long distances to look for affordable commodities for resale back in their home country. Vendor Maitumeleng Raete says that they sometimes get arrested while traveling.
“Our traveling is complicated; sometimes we get arrested, sometimes they let us go…and at times the business is not that great.”
Raete is still reeling with shock as some of her colleagues were involved in a horrific crash that claimed 13 of the 14 occupants who were burnt beyond recognition upon impact.
“Some of them we know them, it is something that touched us deeply, regarding that horrific accident.”
Malephallo Abele, a sole survivor of that ordeal had to be taken back to the village, where she can get better care from close family and relatives. She narrates her narrow escape.
“We were approximately between Fouriesburg and Bethlehem, I then saw a red BMW car approaching at an incredibly high speed, but it was in our lane. It hit super-customs in front of us. I just heard a loud bang, to my shock; I then heard the second bang.”
It is at this point she realized an unusual silence, she just thought they had merely been pushed off the road. She attempted calling the driver.
“…And somehow no one responded, all I heard was heavy breathing.”
She could hear people moaning with pain, her feet were now also catching fire. She noticed a faint image and she then started screaming louder for help.
“A windscreen had fallen, totally covering me, he tried kicking and kicking it open, and somehow God performed a miracle, he pulled me through that cracked opening and threw me away.”
She says that upon realizing that she could still move, she immediately remembered her purse, and immediately stumbled back to the car to grab it. The fire was now spreading furiously; trapped people were begging for help and asking for water.
“And then this car exploded. I heard a loud ‘poof’ it now started burning seriously, the fire engulfed the entire car. The screams became even louder…they burnt right there.”
Abele miraculously escaped with a slight burn on one foot and a minor concussion. She is due to bury her father this coming weekend and she is the only one her family can rely on for financial support.
Abele says she has been receiving condolences from friends, but none of the officials has paid her a visit. She says, despite the horrific ordeal she has gone through, she cannot have the luxury to rest. Three kids look up to her for survival and she will be forced to go back and face the reality of hopping into the same taxis that almost claimed her life.