I'm in Namibia! 100 Countries Around the World!
Next country: Lesotho – 4 March 2014

Next country: Lesotho – 4 March 2014

This morning I have started my journey from Durban, South Africa to Lesotho.

Before departure I gathered some information about Lesotho, that I want to share with you. I collected information about the geography, history, culture, people, form of government.  I also checked the chapter concerning HIV / AIDS in this country. If you know any Institution – school, university, NGO – that is committed to HIV / AIDS awareness rising, kindly ask them to get in contact with me. More information and contact details in this country I will give after I arrive at the destination. I am travelling now!

Namaste!

GEOGRAPHY

The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country surrounded by South Africa, just over 30,000 km2 (11,583 sq mi) in size and has a population slightly over two million. The capital of Lesotho is Maseru. Lesotho means the land of the people who speak Sesotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

Lesotho

HISTORY & FORM OF GOVERNMENT

Lesotho was called before Basutoland and emerged as a single polity under King Moshoeshoe I in 1822.  Basutoland gained its independence from Britain and became the Kingdom of Lesotho in 1966.  The Lesotho Government is a parliamentary or constitutional monarchy under the King of Lesotho, Letsie III, who mainly serves a ceremonial function.

DISTRICTS AND CITIES OF LESOTHO

 Lesotho is divided into ten districts, each headed by a district administrator. Each district has a capital known as a camptown: Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha’s Nek, Quting, Thaba-Tseka. 
The population of Lesotho is estimated to be around 90% Christian. Members of other religions (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Bahá’í, and members of traditional indigenous religions comprise the remaining 10% of the population.
HIV / AIDS 
Lesotho is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS. According to 2009 estimates, the prevalence is about 23.6%, one of the highest in the world. In urban areas, about 50% of women under 40 have HIV. The UNDP stated that in 2006 life expectancy in Lesotho was estimated at 42 years for men and women. The country regards HIV as one of its most important development issues, and the Government is addressing the pandemic through its HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan. Coverage of some key HIV/AIDS interventions has improved, including prevention of mother to child transmission and antiretroviral therapy. Prevention of mother to child transmission coverage increased from about 5 percent in 2005, to 31 percent in 2007. The “Know Your Status” campaign boosted the number of people being tested for HIV to 229,092 by the end of 2007, 12 percent of the population and three times the number tested in 2005. The program is funded by the Clinton Foundation and started in June 2006. Bill Clinton and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates visited Lesotho in July 2006 to assess its fight against AIDS.As a result, the annual rate at which adults in the population who are HIV-negative become HIV-positive declined from 2.9 percent in 2005 to 2.3 percent in 2007, lowering the estimated annual number of new infections from 26,000 to 21,560. These are the first signs of a decline in the HIV epidemic.The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment, including ARVs when these are necessary, for the 46,000 mainly women workers in the Lesotho apparel industry. It was launched in May 2006. The program is helping to combat two of the key drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: poverty and gender inequality. Surveys within the industry by ALAFA show that 43% of the employees have HIV.

(Sources: http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_EN_Complete.pdf, Rademeyer, Julian (16 July 2006). “Lesotho praised for fight against Aids”. Sunday Times of South Africa. Retrieved 27 January 2011, on wikipedia.org)

CULTURE

Traditional musical instruments include lekolulo, a kind of flute used by herding boys, setolo-tolo, played by men using their mouth, and the woman’s stringed thomo. The national anthem of Lesotho is “Lesotho Fatše La Bo-ntata Rona“, which literally translates into “Lesotho, Land of Our Fore-Fathers”.

Lesotho’s ethno-linguistic structure consists almost entirely of the Basotho, a Bantu-speaking people: an estimate of 99.7% of the people identify as Basotho. Basotho subgroups include the Bakuena (Kuena), Batloung (the Tlou), Baphuthi (the Phuti), Bafokeng, Bataung (the Tau), Batšoeneng (the Tšoene), Matebele, etc. The main language, Sesotho (or Sotho), is also the first official and administrative language, and it is what Basotho speak on an ordinary basis. English is the other official and administrative language.

The traditional style of housing in Lesotho is called a mokhoro. Many older houses, especially in smaller towns and villages, are of this type, with walls usually constructed from large stones cemented together.

Traditional attire revolves around the Basotho blanket, a thick covering made primarily of wool. The blankets are ubiquitous throughout the country during all seasons, and worn differently for men and women.

The Morija Arts & Cultural Festival is a prominent Sesotho arts and music festival. It is held annually in the historical town of Morija, where the first missionaries arrived in 1833.

(Source of information and images for this posting: Wikipedia.org)

I am looking forward to seeing this new country and meeting the people of Lesotho!

About Somen Debnath

Dear friends, my name is Somen Debnath. I am a resident of the village of Basanti, Sundarbans, West Bengal, which is a great mangrove forest and the largest tiger reserve in India. My "Around the World Bicycle Tour for HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme & Presentation of Indian Culture" started on 27th of May 2004, two days after I acquired Bachelor degree in Zoology from the University of Calcutta. I have also completed 'Visarad' in Fine Arts from the Sarbabhartiya University. My goal is to cover 191 countries till 2020. I will travel 200.000 km in the whole world and reach nearly 20 million people. 118.000 km I will travel for charity, that's why I'm selling my Km to people. The support I will get from people buying my kilometres will help me fulfill my other dream: to build a Global village in my native place, Basanti, Sundarbans.

One comment

  1. Helo Somen ji-Hope you are well-we wish you all the best.
    Memories of your visit to our home is so fresh in mind, hope you will remember us.We will ofcourse.
    HK Modi and family

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