Ims to care for the children. Ntate Kapo’s ability to

Ims to care for the children. Ntate Kapo’s ability to secure care for 3-year-old Kotsi and his brother also relied on a claim about bridewealth; but again, the lack of care by the paternal kin was this maternal grandfather’s primary concern. Kotsi’s mother returned home during her get Mangafodipir (trisodium) illness, and passed away in her father’s arms. Kotsi’s maternal grandfather, Ntate Kapo, was one of a small but growing group of male primary caregivers I encountered. He repeatedly commented on the motherly nature of his relationship with his grandsons, thus reinforcing the deeply embedded gendered nature of care. Ntate Kapo told me that Kotsi’s paternal relatives did not ‘follow the rules’ (latela litaelo) and did not ‘do Sesotho culture properly’ (ha a etsa meetlo ea Sesotho ka nepo), thus reinforcing the rules in order to legitimate his own actions. According to Ntate Kapo, Kotsi’s mother was not being cared for during her illness, so she returned home to her father. After a few order Mangafodipir (trisodium) months, the paternal grandparents came to take back the children.J R Anthropol Inst. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 April 08.Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author ManuscriptBlockPageNtate Kapo said, ‘”The children of whom? Because you did not even pay bridewealth”. Because they did not even come [to the funeral] when their mother died. And they went back without anything … They would not take me to the court because they did not pay bridewealth’. Although most Basotho negotiate care without involving the courts, legal redress remains a possibility. Kotsi’s paternal grandparents could not make a legitimate legal or social claim for him and his brother because they failed to adhere to customary laws regarding marriage as well as care. Ntate Kapo told me that children may only live with their paternal relatives if bridewealth has been paid, despite the ambiguous role bridewealth currently plays in determining caregiving arrangements. In this way, he positioned himself as a strong enforcer of the rules of patrilocality, and then legitimated his status as caregiver by demonstrating how the paternal family did not follow these rules. ‘M’e Malefu’s case was similar to Ntate Kapo’s in many ways. She cared for her daughter’s two school-aged girls. Her daughter had been married, with the expectation that the ‘cows would follow’ (Iikhomo li tla latela); however, the family was unable to pay, so ‘M’e Malefu claimed they were not married. She also said that the in-laws were not caring for her daughter, and like the previous example, they failed to attend her funeral. However, unlike Ntate Kapo, she and her husband went to court to legalize their claim for the children, even though the paternal relatives sent a letter from their chief saying that ‘M’e Malefu could have the orphaned girls. I asked her why she took this legal precaution despite the paternal family’s apparent lack of interest in the children. She said: ‘We went to the court because we wanted things to be certified (pakahatsa). Not to agree only’. It is interesting that she repeatedly mentioned that bridewealth had not been paid –this being her legal claim to the children. Yet she also emphasized a lack of care on the part of the paternal family as her primary motivation for her legal actions. Despite the formal separation of Sesotho and government laws in Lesotho, ‘M’e Malefu used both customary and formal legal structures to achieve particular social ends. In this case, the legal claims reinforc.Ims to care for the children. Ntate Kapo’s ability to secure care for 3-year-old Kotsi and his brother also relied on a claim about bridewealth; but again, the lack of care by the paternal kin was this maternal grandfather’s primary concern. Kotsi’s mother returned home during her illness, and passed away in her father’s arms. Kotsi’s maternal grandfather, Ntate Kapo, was one of a small but growing group of male primary caregivers I encountered. He repeatedly commented on the motherly nature of his relationship with his grandsons, thus reinforcing the deeply embedded gendered nature of care. Ntate Kapo told me that Kotsi’s paternal relatives did not ‘follow the rules’ (latela litaelo) and did not ‘do Sesotho culture properly’ (ha a etsa meetlo ea Sesotho ka nepo), thus reinforcing the rules in order to legitimate his own actions. According to Ntate Kapo, Kotsi’s mother was not being cared for during her illness, so she returned home to her father. After a few months, the paternal grandparents came to take back the children.J R Anthropol Inst. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 April 08.Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author Manuscript Author ManuscriptBlockPageNtate Kapo said, ‘”The children of whom? Because you did not even pay bridewealth”. Because they did not even come [to the funeral] when their mother died. And they went back without anything … They would not take me to the court because they did not pay bridewealth’. Although most Basotho negotiate care without involving the courts, legal redress remains a possibility. Kotsi’s paternal grandparents could not make a legitimate legal or social claim for him and his brother because they failed to adhere to customary laws regarding marriage as well as care. Ntate Kapo told me that children may only live with their paternal relatives if bridewealth has been paid, despite the ambiguous role bridewealth currently plays in determining caregiving arrangements. In this way, he positioned himself as a strong enforcer of the rules of patrilocality, and then legitimated his status as caregiver by demonstrating how the paternal family did not follow these rules. ‘M’e Malefu’s case was similar to Ntate Kapo’s in many ways. She cared for her daughter’s two school-aged girls. Her daughter had been married, with the expectation that the ‘cows would follow’ (Iikhomo li tla latela); however, the family was unable to pay, so ‘M’e Malefu claimed they were not married. She also said that the in-laws were not caring for her daughter, and like the previous example, they failed to attend her funeral. However, unlike Ntate Kapo, she and her husband went to court to legalize their claim for the children, even though the paternal relatives sent a letter from their chief saying that ‘M’e Malefu could have the orphaned girls. I asked her why she took this legal precaution despite the paternal family’s apparent lack of interest in the children. She said: ‘We went to the court because we wanted things to be certified (pakahatsa). Not to agree only’. It is interesting that she repeatedly mentioned that bridewealth had not been paid –this being her legal claim to the children. Yet she also emphasized a lack of care on the part of the paternal family as her primary motivation for her legal actions. Despite the formal separation of Sesotho and government laws in Lesotho, ‘M’e Malefu used both customary and formal legal structures to achieve particular social ends. In this case, the legal claims reinforc.

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