Joseph Macdonald (QMUL) - 2019-20 Students

Medicine Murder and the Emergence of Nationalism in Lesotho: 1945-66

This thesis aims to present a new interpretation of Basotho nationalism. It will demonstrate that the liretlo medicine murder crisis that emerged after the end of the Second World War was the critical flashpoint that pushed anti-colonial politics towards nationalist mobilisation. The act of ritual murder in this context can be interpreted as a wider expression of insecurity and powerlessness felt by many under colonialism, the perpetrators engaging in an established Basotho custom to accelerate one’s personal power. Instead of engaging with the underlying issues that were driving this crisis, Britain’s heavy handed response demonstrated to Basotho observers that equitable reforms to colonialism were no longer achievable and led to the rapid growth of nationalist mobilisation within the territory.

Primary supervisor: Dr Reuben Loffman, QMUL
Secondary supervisor: Prof. Kim Wagner, QMUL

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