Lesotho History and Politics

Lesotho History

Sotho oust the San

As in South Africa, Bushmen settled in what is now Lesotho thousands of years ago. These are known as San or Khoi-San. We know this because they left drawings on the rocks of the mountains. Around 2000 years ago, shepherd tribes of the Bantu came to these areas from East Africa. They settled in what is now Lesotho. They were shepherds and farmers. They displaced the San more and more over time.

From the 16th century onwards the Sotho migrated further, displacing the indigenous people. So there were always arguments between the Khoi-San and the Bantu tribes, but also times when people lived together peacefully. Typical of the Khoi-San were clicking sounds, which also entered the Sotho language.

The Sotho peoples were made up of different groups. The southern Sotho were also referred to as Basotho and they mainly settled in the mountains and so also in the region of today’s Lesotho. This country was first called Basutoland and later the name Lesotho was derived from it.

Who was Moshoeshoe I?

In the 19th century a tribal chief named was Moshoeshoe I. important to the country. He defended it against all intruders and also laid the foundation for a future nation.

From British sanctuary to colony

As the British advanced further and further into South Africa and expelled the Boers who settled there, the inhabitants had to increasingly defend themselves against the Boers, who moved further north-east and from there also reached the Lesotho area. Here, too, the intervention of Moshoeshoe I was decisive.

He concluded protection treaties with the British against the Boers. The area first became a British reserve, but lost its independence in 1871. It went back and forth for a while. In 1884, Lesotho became a British crown colony as Basutoland.

Lesotho as an independent state

But the pursuit of independence remained. In the end, elections were held and in 1960 Moshoeshoe II was made king. Lesotho became a constitutional monarchy.

As a country located in Africa according to hyperrestaurant, Lesotho finally became an independent state on October 4, 1966. In the following years there were repeated violent clashes between the various parties active in Lesotho. Above all, the pressure from South Africa also grew, as Lesotho supported the supporters of the ANC, the party of the black freedom movement in South Africa, and offered their supporters escape opportunities. So the king was driven out and his son his successor. In 1993 there was a new constitution.

In 2012 there was a major famine in the country. Elections were held again in 2015.

Current government in Lesotho

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was accused in early 2020 of having been involved in the murder of his wife in 2017. But he didn’t want to resign. On May 19, 2020 he resigned and was succeeded by Moeketsi Majorao, Lesotho’s former finance minister. He tries to fight against the great poverty in the country and especially the high unemployment.


Work in the textile factories

Many people in Lesotho work in the textile factories. More than 40,000 people are employed here. The export of textiles is very important for Lesotho’s economy. But unlike often in Southeast Asia, people here try to create better working conditions. The workers in Lesotho’s factories still make very little money compared to us, but there are working time restrictions and unions. Child labor in factories is officially prohibited.

Despite these efforts, many factories are not safe for the people because the structures were built very cheaply. So there is always a risk of fire and there is a great risk that people can be injured in such an accident. The pay of the workers could of course also be better.

Migrant workers

But not all of them find work in the factories. Above all, many men go to South Africa and earn money there, often in the mines and mines, and then send the money home to their families.

But when the economy deteriorates, men earn less and can send less money to their families. This affects the lives of families who have to do without a lot. Many families plant something in their gardens in order to survive.

Lesotho History