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Culture of Lesotho


Most of the villages are located up in the mountains and very well structured around the river valleys. The houses of the villagers are called kraals and are divided into four separate structures.


The first structure is built to accommodate the family, the second is built for the cooking, the third is to accommodate the livestock and the fourth is basically a storage room. Each village has a headman or a chief who is put in charge of the whole village. He allocates land to the people of the village apart from being the local arbitrator and many other things besides. 

The Basotho tribe is primarily agriculturalists and crops cultivated include maize, wheat, sorghum, beans and vegetables. Passing a village, you will often see flags fluttering from tall poles. 

These are their indigenisation of the neons and indicate that something is being sold there – white for the locally brewed sorghum beer, yellow for maize beer and red for meat and green vegetables. The Basotho are also easily recognisable by their garb of long, beautifully designed woollen blankets. The blanket is essential because of the cold weather and is also very efficient as a raincoat.

Animals are a very important part of the everyday lives of the Basotho and Matabele people. The Basotho people use a mountain pony for transportation and the Matabele use donkeys. No village is complete without cows, ox and sheep.

 The wool from the Memo sheep and mohair from Angora goats is the major income generator for families and keeps the economy of the villages alive. Young shepherds tend the flock, some times at amazing heights of 3000m and more! They live in simple huts called "motebo", perched on ridges in the mountains that are well hidden from view.

The traditional skills of weaving, braiding and pottery have been channelised to make exquisite handmade crafts such as knitwear, jewellery, tapestries, wall hangings, mohair quilts, curtain material, sheepskin slippers, jackets, hats and leather garments and car seat covers. Most of the crafts are now being exported to foreign markets.