IndexAfrica→ Lesotho


In Lesotho (Gay, 1979, 1985)[1], a system of “mummies” and “babies” prevails in which young girls in the modern schools develop close relationships, with slightly older girls. Sexual intimacy is an important aspect of these relationships. This was previously described by Mueller and Hopkins (1979)[2]. According to these authors, girls of about 9-12 would play the baby of adolescent girls, and according to a limited number of informants, their interaction included hugging, kissing, or genital play. Premarital sex with boys is strictly tabooed (cf. Omari on ®Ghana).



Additional refs.:










Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Dec 2004


[1] Gay, J. (1979) Mummies and Babies’ and Friends and Lovers in Lesotho, Cambridge Anthropol 5,3:32-61; Gay, J. (1985) Mummies and Babies’ and Friends and Lovers in Lesotho, J Homosex 11,3/4:97-116/ in Blackwood, E. (Ed., 1986) The Many Faces of Homosexuality: Anthropological Approaches to Homosexual Behavior. HarringtonPark Press, New York. Reprinted in, Suggs, D. N. & Miracle, A. W. (Eds., 1993) Culture and Human Sexuality. Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., p341-55. Murray and  Roscoe (1998:p183), op.cit. See also Kendall (1998) “When a woman loves a woman” in Lesotho: love, sex, and the (Western) construction of homophobia, in Murray, S. O. & Roscoe, W. (Eds.) Boy-Wives and Female Husbands. Studies on African Homosexualities. New York: St. Martin’s Press, p223-41, at p231; Blackwood, E. (2001) Women’s intimate friendships and other affairs: an ethnographic overview, in Brettel, C. & Sargent, C. (Eds.) Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, p237-47

[2] Mueller, M. & Hopkins, L. (1979) Momma-baby relationships: female bonding in Lesotho, Women’s Studies Int Quart 2:439-47