Monday, November 5, 2007
Keep Lesotho Wierd
Not that Lesotho (pronounced Le-soo-two) will ever not be weird, but it could very easily adopt Austin's city motto ("Keep Austin Weird") as its national creed.
Lesotho's real motto is "Lesotho: Real Africa." A little jab at its neighbor, South Africa, but meant to imply that it is rough and mountainous, which it is,
that there are far more people walking than there are riding in cars,
that the only recognizable shape is a circle,
that they can think outside the box when making a public phone system,
that it has absolutely gorgeous sunsets,
that whatever you do attracts a crowd,
and that the crowd that you attract will sing and dance for you for free...
Kate and Andy crossed the very-porous border between Lesotho and South Africa to spend a weekend at Malealea Lodge in the tiny village of Malealea. We stayed in our own little rondeval and spent hours sitting outside looking at the scenery.
We were assisted by this boy to saddle up horses for a four hour ride to a nearby waterfall.
Our guide, Thapelo, gave us fabulous African answers to all of our questions. "Has the weather been nice here, Thapelo?" "Yes, it is time now for ploughing..."
Traditional Basotho people wear blankets to honor Moshoeshoe (Mo-shwe-shwe), the first king of Lesotho and the one who escaped King Shaka's massive bullying of anyone not Zulu and who brokered a deal with both the British and the Boers, both of whom wanted control of Lesotho. The story is that Moshoeshoe rounded up the people that were running away from Shaka's violent takeover of Eastern South Africa, marched them up to Lesotho, and founded a kingdom. Lesotho is the coldest place in Africa, getting significant amounts of snow in the winter, so when the British donated wollen blankets to the Basotho people, they decided to wear them all of the time to both thank the British for their donation and to honor the diplomatic skills of their king.