Tag Archive for Moshoeshoe

King Moshoshoe 1

Moshoeshoe is widely credited  at the architect of the mighty Basotho nation – a nation with its own culture, language, customs and territory.

King Moshoeshoe (1854)

King Moshoeshoe 1st - Photo Ivy's Collection

Early life:

Moshoeshoe was the son of Mokhachane, a minor chief of the Bamokoteli sub-clan. Born at Menkhoaneng in Leribe, Lesotho. He was given the name of Lepoqo (meaning “disasters”) by his parents.

During his youth, he was very brave and once organised a cattle raid against Ramonaheng and captured several herds of cattle. As was the tradition, he composed a poem praising himself where, amongst the words he used to refer to himself, said he was “like a razor which has shaved all Ramonaheng’s beards”, referring to his successful raid. In Sesotho language, a razor makes a “shoe…shoe…” sound, and after that he was affectionately called Moshoeshoe “the shaver“. Read more

Moshoeshoe’s day

On this day The 11 of March, the Basotho’s long lived heritage comes back life as we honour the former life of king Moshoeshoe I, the great leader and founder of our beautiful Basotho nation.  “Moshoeshoe’s Day” brings the whole nation together in all ten districts of Lesotho for a commemoration of our king on the day of his death (11-03-1870).

Moshoeshoe Day celebrations

Moshoeshoe Day Celebrations - Photo by John Aerni

During my primary school days, we would dress in our school uniforms and march as a group to the statue of Moshoeshoe I, which is mounted on a hill in down town, Maseru.  There we would listen to a number of speeches by the current King Letsie III, the Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili and other government officials. We would learn about our history and how the Basotho nation came to be through the wisdom of our late founder. Read more

The History of the Basotho traditional blanket

Nowadays the Basotho tribal blanket (Seanamarena) is such a common sight in Lesotho, that tourists tend to assume that it was a local invention. However, its origins can be traced back to the European traders and missionaries as far back as the 1800s. The popularity and assimilation of the blankets by the Basotho people can be traced back to one single incident.

Sketch of King Moshoeshoe I by Eugène Casalis

Sketch of King Moshoeshoe I by Eugène Casalis (1833)

A blanket was presented to the then King, King Moshoeshoe I in 1860 by a man by the name of Mr. Howel. The King was by all accounts quite taken with the blanket (“a handsome railway wrapper made of light blue pilot cloth, heavy and hairy”) and wore the blanket in preference to his then neglected traditional leopard skin karosses.

The blanket has become part of not only their everyday life but as a status symbol. To outsiders it became a mark of ethnicity and therefore a token of cultural identification. In fact Lesotho is the only nation south of the Sahara that illustrates the culture of an entire nation through such an individualistic item such as the tribal blanket. Read more

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