Lesotho landscape

The Culture and Social Structure of Lesotho, “Kingdom of the Sky”

The area now known as the Kingdom of Lesotho (pronounced Sootoo) was originally the Bushland. Sesotho is a language commonly used by the various factions that merged to create a nation around the 1800s. The origin of both the names can be traced back to Sesotho. Lesotho is often referred to as the “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of Sky” because of the picturesque mountainous regions that can be seen here. Due to the unfortunate situation of being surrounded and completely dependent on South Africa, it is also called a”hostage nation. “

A basic introduction to Lesotho

Lesotho landscape
by the state department


Covering an area of 30,355 square kilometers, the Kingdom of Lesotho was roughly the size of Maryland. The area is a rugged mountainous region, a landlocked country, surrounded by South Africa. It is located between 28 and 31 degrees south latitude and between 27 and 30 degrees east longitude. The western and southern plains rise about 1,500 meters to the highlands of the Martian and Drakensberg mountains, the tallest of which is Tabanan Nutrignana, which is approximately 10, 00 feet (3,500 meters) high.

Lesotho is the only country in the world where all of its land is greater than 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level. The topography includes high belts, plateaus, and mountains. The climate is mild, hot in the summer, and cool and cold in the winter. The long rainy season in summer (December to February) and the freezing conditions in winter (June to August) create unfavorable travel conditions that isolate much of the highlands. With its abundant rivers and waterfalls, Lesotho is valuable to the arid industrial areas around South Africa. Due to overgrazing, overplanting and severe erosion, the soil is poor and only one-eighth of the land can be cultivated.

Lesotho population

The population of Lesotho is about 2,108,328. The population distribution of Lesotho is 25% urban and 75% rural. However, the annual growth rate of the urban population is estimated to be 3.5%. The highlands are less densely populated than the western lowlands.

Links of languages

Sesotho, or South Soto, is spoken in Lesotho and parts of South Africa. Sesotho was one of the first African languages ​​to develop a written form and has rich literature. English has been the second official language since 1868 when Lesotho was placed under British protection against the invasion of South Africa. The minorities speak Zulu and Xhosa.

History and identity of Lesotho

History of Lesotho
by SwaliAfrica magazine

The first people of Lesotho were the Bushmen, people who roamed from place to place across Southern Africa. This is evident in the paintings and paintings painted by the Bushmen in the canyon. Between 1700 and 1800, many tribes were annihilated by tribal wars in southern Africa. Survivors of the war fled to the highlands of present-day Lesotho, forming the present-day Basotho ethnic group under the leadership of an African chieftain named Moshoeshoe.

The Moshoeshoe built a mountain fortress and incorporated the Soto-speaking population into the country in the early 1800s. In the mid-1800s, the Basotho tribe lost most of their territory to the Boer in a series of wars. Moshoeshoe sought protection from Britain and the rest of the area became a British protectorate. In 1966, the country gained independence and the constitutional monarchy of Lesotho was established. Lesotho has seen struggles and political changes over the past three decades, but Basotho is united by a deep respect for the royal family and determination to maintain an independent state.

The national identity of Lesotho

Lesotho is a very homogeneous country in terms of both ethnic composition and the religion and culture of its population. The strength of the cultural identity of Lesotho does not translate to having a strong national identity as well. The central region of South Africa is known to have been unfavorable to smaller countries, forcing them to rely on the help of larger neighbors.
The Sotho make up almost 100% of the population of Lesotho. It has a relatively much more homogenous background than other smaller South African countries.

Culture and social structure in Lesotho

African tribes
by inspiration with lois

Traditional musical instruments include the flute used by shepherd children, the flute played by the mouth of men, and the time played by women playing stringed instruments. The national anthem of Lesotho is “Lesotho Fatche la Bontata Rona”, which literally means “Lesotho, the land of our ancestors”.

The traditional accommodation in Lesotho is called Mokoro. Many old houses, especially small towns and villages, have this type of house, often with large stone walls. Today, refractory bricks, especially concrete blocks, are also used, with thatched roofs being common, but often replaced by galvanized iron.

The traditional costume revolves around the Basotho blanket, a thick blanket made mostly of wool. Blankets are ubiquitous across the country regardless of the season, and men and women wear them differently. Morija Arts and Culture Festival is a famous art and music festival in Sesotho. It takes place every year in the historic town of Morilla, where the first missionaries arrived in 1833.

Food culture in Lesotho

The three-stone fireplace in the courtyard is the center of everyday life for Basotho women. Here, we will prepare a pot of corn porridge (papapu), which is the staple food of Basotho. Peas, chopped vegetables, or other vegetable sauces are usually served in thick porridge, and in special cases chicken is placed in a pan. During the summer, local peaches and hard berries add variety to the diet. In winter, the family sits around the fireplace and roasts the corn.

Craft beer (Joere) is brewed in a large barrel placed on a fireplace in Mitsuishi. This beer is the subject of an intimate neighborhood gathering and provides a small income for the family. Milk is often used as an acidic beverage.
Maseru has many modern restaurants, mainly for tourists and business people. Eating habits during the ceremony. In the village, cultural rituals mainly focus on animal sacrifice. Funerals often deplete the wealth of poor families because they have to buy cows at high prices. Family glory depends on the quality and quantity of meals at weddings and funerals. Roast beef and chicken are a must.

Relative gender roles

Most agricultural and residential work is done by women. They hoe, plant, weed, and harvest. They go long distances to collect firewood, carry bags and take them home. Water must be taken from village pumps for cooking, drinking, bathing. Crumple your clothes and hang them on the bushes to dry.

Men are mainly responsible for the livestock. Boys start grazing training when they are 5 or 6 years old. In the highlands, where pastures are scarce, shepherds often spend months alone with their herds in the mountain valleys not far from their homes. Similarly, girls begin to practice for their future roles early on in their lives.  Like many other African nations, the society is prominently male dominant. However, women played an important role in religious and social groups and gained the right to vote.

Community and society

Lesotho is a mixture of past and present, traditions, and modern beliefs and practices. Religious rituals were a marriage practice, but the practice of extracting brides’ wealth from the groom’s family continued, putting the bride’s family in a selfish situation. The bride then becomes the property of the man, leaving the family and living with her husband’s family.

A household is made up of any number of extended families. The second or third cousin is often a “brother” or a “sister”. Grandmother becomes a formal mother. According to tribal customs, a widow is the wife of a sibling or another male member of the deceased husband’s family. The Sotho people are often named after animals such as crocodiles and bears. Women occur through men, and members of the same clan can marry intimately.

By Western standards, infant care in Lesotho is infrequent. Infants spend most of the first two years leaning on their mother’s back doing housework, hoeing, shopping and walking. Newborns are usually breastfed until the age of two or until a new baby is born. Right now, your sister is playing the babysitter role.

Education and upbringing of children

“Parenting village” is a famous and accurate word about the customs of African people. All citizens have the right to repair lost children, save suffering children and encourage everyone. When a child can start school (between 5 and 10 years old), the necessary uniforms or shirts are handed over from family to family. Many children drop out of school for years because they grow up at the age of five or six and begin to take care of themselves. The Agricultural University of Lesotho and the National University of Lesotho are known to be two of the major educational institutions of Lesotho. A very small percentage of the population attains this level of education. Very wealthy families send their children to higher education in the UK.

Social issues in Lesotho

Social issues in Southern Africa
by N3 gateway

Traditional authority is the foundation of village government. The chief system follows the advancement of the highest chief (king), senior chief, minor chief, chief, and minor chief. Their main role is the right to distribute land from the country to the people. Many political parties cross the chain and entire villages vote for a deal in elections. Small village crimes are often tried by village courts in grassy areas under trees. Local groups apply the applicable penalties. Serious crimes of theft or murder are sent from the village to local and national courts and prisons.

Social welfare

Lesotho receives financial and social support from many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Germany. As the AIDS crisis deepens, support is mobilized from various sources, including UNAIDS / WHO. The United States Peace Corps has been active in Lesotho since 1966. Volunteers work in agriculture, education, rural development, women’s affairs, and the environment. In 2000, specially trained volunteers were recruited to combat HIV / AIDS in this and other African countries.

Religious views

Lesotho’s religion is a mixture of traditional ancestral worship and Christianity (about 80%) and contains a small part of Islam. The main church groups are Catholic, Anglican, and Dutch reformers. The rule of the Catholic religion reflects the Church’s involvement in education and is owned and operated by over 75% of all elementary and junior high schools.

Healthcare in Lesotho

Lesotho is a relatively healthy country. The right climate solves the malaria problem that is widespread in Africa. The main illnesses are chronic rheumatism, respiratory infections, malnutrition, sexually transmitted infections, and an increasing number of cases of HIV / AIDS. Medical centers, mountain clinics, and traditional pharmacies are all available and are mainly used by villagers.
Secular Celebration The two days celebrated by all of Lesotho are Moshoeshoe Day (March 12) and Independence Day (October ). Moshoeshoe Day is intended for students nationwide preparing for sports choirs and competitions all year round. Independence Day is the time for official state ceremonies, speeches, and performances by traditional dance groups.


Lesotho ceremonial dance
by trip down memory lane

Soto literature is dominated by folk tales and hymns. In the early 1900s, Masato, named Thomas Moforo, wrote the famous novel “Chaka”. Traditional music, dance, and literature are combined with Soto’s cultural performances. Storytellers, dancers, and musicians come together to tell ancient folk tales with the audience singing, applauding, and singing. His involvement in the mining industry created a unique tradition of men singing and dancing in high-tempo collective dances. Many handcrafted instruments, including flutes, drums, rattles, and stringed instruments.


Culture of Bosotho people
by Wikipedia

The inhabitants of Lesotho are called Basotho (plural) and Mosoto (singular). Culturally consistent, Basotho makes up over 99% of the country’s population, while the rest is made up of Asians from Europe. Most Asians are merchants, while Europeans are businessmen, engineers, government officials, missionaries, and teachers. In the highlands, most of the administrative headquarters and towns in the plains live sparsely.

Both men and women always wear a Basotho wool blanket as a cape, regardless of the season. By carefully choosing colors and patterns, you can express your individuality. All over Lesotho, there are small, hardy Sotos ponies that are good at traversing mountains and steep canyons and are essential in bringing grain to the mill for crushing. The national flag adopted in 1
has diagonal stripes of white, blue, and green. White stands for peace (khotso), blue stands for rain (pula), and green stands for abundance (Nala). The upper left space shows the shield, which is part of the national coat of arms. The national anthem is “Lesotho, the land of my ancestors“.

The breathtaking views of Lesotho’s craggy mountains, gigantic gorges (known as Donggas), and sparkling waterfalls are every traveler‘s dream destination. A picturesque village, a herd of cattle, a man on horseback, a woman in Moshoeshoe folk costumes on the famous Basotho and Angora wool rugs. The Basotho Hat, a conical braided hat with a unique tuft, is a symbol of Lesotho’s unity. It depicts the fortress of Moshoeshoe I (pronounced moSHWAYshway) near Masaru and the gnarled conical peak seen from the mausoleum.

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