Lesotho, a high-altitude, landlocked kingdom encircled by South Africa, is crisscrossed by a network of rivers and mountain ranges including the 3,482m-high peak of Thabana Ntlenyana. On the Thaba Bosiu plateau, near Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, are ruins dating from the 19th-century reign of King Moshoeshoe I. Thaba Bosiu overlooks iconic Mount Qiloane, an enduring symbol of the nation’s Basotho people.
Lesotho is a mountainous, landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It is an enclave, surrounded by South Africa. The total length of the country’s borders is 909 kilometers (565 mi). Lesotho covers an area of around 30,355 square kilometers (11,720 sq mi), of which a negligible percentage is covered with water.
Key cities in Lesotho include Maseru, Teyateyaneng, Mafeteng, Hlotse, Mohale’s Hoek, Maputsoe, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing, Peka, Butha-Buthe, and Roma.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
The history of people living in the area now known as Lesotho (/ləˈsuːtuː, -ˈsoʊtoʊ/) goes back as many as 40,000 years. The extent to which the British exerted direct control over Basutoland waxed and waned until Basutoland’s independence in 1966, when it became the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The Basotho people have developed a unique culture. As one of the few African tribes living in a mountainous environment, they have made many adaptations to their conditions. The Basotho blanket is one example. All around the country you will see people dressed in woolen blankets, often with beautiful patterns.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Lesotho, and is practiced by approximately 90% of the country’s population. The remaining 10% of the population includes adherents from other religions like Islam, Hinduism, and traditional African religions.
Brief Country History
Various Sotho societies arrived in Basutoland and Free State areas in the seventeenth century. King Moshoeshoe I united the Sotho tribes against the Zulu invaders.
During the 19th century, the territory of Basutoland played an important role in the colonial history of southern Africa. The first formal contact between European immigrants and its indigenous residents was probably made in 1833 when three French missionaries, Thomas Abousset, Eugene Casalis and Constant Gosselin, visited Moshoeshoe, king of the newly formed Basotho nation, and obtained permission to establish a mission station at Morija. They were followed in October 1834 by a research party led by Dr. Andrew Smith.
After the first visits by missionaries, groups of migrant Dutch farmers, some of whom were granted land for settlement under Basotho customary law, infiltrated the country. In 1836 the territory was invaded by groups of Voortrekkers who, despite having signed a “treaty of friendship” with the Basotho in 1837, declared a separate republic on their lands in 1843.
A series of inconclusive territorial wars between the Basotho and Dutch slowly eroded Basotho landholdings in what was to become the Orange Free State despite the intervention of the British at the Cape. Despite having managed to retain his independence against the Voortrekkers, Moshoeshoe realized that the future of Basotho sovereignty lay in a close association with the British. As a result, in 1862, he wrote to the newly-appointed Governor of the Cape, Sir Philip Wodehouse, suggesting that an alliance be formed between the two territories. On 12 March 1868, acting in the face of continued Voortrekker aggression; Wodehouse issued a proclamation declaring Bautoland a British Protectorate. This was formalized by the Basotho on 15 April 1868. In 1871 Basutoland was annexed into the Cape Colony.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Sotho and English are the official languages of Lesotho, and the former is the national and most widely spoken language in the country. Education in Lesotho is imparted in English and Sesotho.
Important Types of Commerce in Lesotho
The contribution of Manufacturing to GDP declined from 20.1% in 2004 to 11.4% in 2010 due in part to the global economic crisis and the rapid growth of other sectors in the country (World Bank 2010). Major manufacturing industries include textiles, clothing, footwear, food and beverages. Manufacturing is based largely in and around the capital, Maseru.
The Government of Lesotho previously encouraged foreign direct investment in the manufacture of textiles, clothing and footwear to take advantage of preferential trade arrangements with the USA, however, following the economic crisis, textile producers have struggled to compete with low-cost producers in Asia.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Lesotho
With a majority of local residents speak Sesotho, at least the language should be a big problem for many ex-pats. An individual or business would in various fields including medicine, law, constructions, tourism, marketing, engineering and so on require professional language services. Nowadays, science and technology are ever-present. This is why technical documents, and consequently their translations, have become indispensable. Technical translation in Sesotho is now a critical issue for any company wishing to expand internationally.
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