A Basotho woman, grinding maize by Greg and Leonie Marinovich

Old Basotho woman grinding maize

Old Basotho woman grinding maize – Photo by Greg Marinovich

In the high mountains of Lesotho, a traditional lifestyle has been preserved alongside the inevitable modernisation in a fascinating mix of contemporary and customary life.

Here, in a small village far off the road, the rhythm of the drums and sinuous movements of the young dancers compel you to sway along with it… and the entire village gathers to enjoy the celebration.

Many of the traditional musical instruments like the Khora (a single stringed harp) and a variety of drums each with it’s own distinctive sound, are still in regular use in these remote mountains.

The BaSotho live in round huts, developed over centuries to accommodate the extreme and fast-changing mountain weather that Lesotho is exposed to. Warm in winter and pleasantly cool in summer, these cosy homes are the centre of family life. The thatched roof has a deep, satisfying smell, punctuated by the pungent aroma of years of wood smoke.  The floor is of mud and cow dung, with an ancient grinding stone still being used to turn the bounty of the earth into food.

The walls boast the famous, and now rare, “rakke” or sculpted mud shelves, and here the paraphernalia of a homestead bear witness to a very old way of life.

Text and Photo by Greg and Leonie Marinovich

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