Happy Birthday Lesotho! The country is 53 today and here is wishing every Mosotho out there a happy and fulfilling Lesotho Independence Day celebration.
The Lesotho Independence Day is celebrated every year on October 4. It’s an important event in the history of Lesotho as it marks the independence of the Kingdom of Lesotho from Great Britain in 1966. The people of Lesotho celebrate their national day with utmost enthusiasm, honoring the date that Britain-ruled Lesotho became the Kingdom of Lesotho!
On Independence Day of Lesotho, there are many cultural celebrations with traditional songs and dances, performed throughout the day. Many citizens head out to the streets, colorfully dressed representing their local districts. There’s also a major patriotic event that the king, royal family, and senior government officials attend.
*Lesotho’s Independence Day comes two-day after Iraq’s National Day!
Lesotho Independence Day: History
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Independence Day of Lesotho is celebrated every year on October 4. But do you know who colonized Lesotho? How Lesotho became an independent country? Have a look at a brief overview of Lesotho’s history here:
The history of modern Lesotho (earlier known as Basutoland) begins in the early 1800’s when Sotho tribesman escaped the armies of the Zulus and took shelter in the highlands of modern Lesotho. In the 1820s, Moshoeshoe 1, unified various Sotho groups who had fled the armies of the Zulus, as a single nation. By 1822, Lesotho became a single entity, under King Moshoeshoe I.
Things started to go wrong when in the 1830’s, white settlers called Afrikaners, or Boers, began encroaching on the Sotho domain, leading to protracted border wars. The fight between Boers and Moshoeshoe continued for 30 years.
In the 1860’s, Moshoeshoe fought a series of wars with Boer settlers, who tried to collapse his empire and colonize his lands. Having lost a great portion of his territory, King Moshoeshoe asked Queen Victoria for British help. She agreed, and Britain made Basutoland a protectorate in 1868.
The colonial era in Lesotho began in 1870, following King Moshoeshoe I’s death. In 1871, Lesotho was placed under the control of Cape Colony. Britain resumed direct control in 1884 after a war erupted between the government of Cape Colony and the Basotho.
In 1910, the Cape Colony and other British colonies united to form the Union of South Africa which later became the Republic of South Africa. The Britains were of the view that Basutoland would eventually be incorporated into South Africa but-the Basotho consistently refused to be merged even with the South African government’s repeated requests.
The Basutoland National Council was created and in 1955 it asked the British government for internal self-government. Between 1959 and 1960, Basutoland was granted its first elected legislature. As a result of the general elections in 1965, the leader of the Basutoland National Party – Chief Joseph Leabua, became the first Prime Minister of the country, with Moshoeshoe II as King.
On October 4, 1966: Basutoland was granted complete freedom, and the country’s name was changed to Lesotho.
Lesotho Independence Day: How People Celebrate It?
Independence Day of Lesotho is a national holiday widely celebrated throughout the country. The people of Lesotho, celebrate this special day with utmost zeal and fervor. The day is marked with flag-raising ceremonies at dawn, while special prayers are said for peace and progress in the region.
Lesotho’s national flag is hoisted at all important public and private buildings. The Independence Day festivities include special ceremonies, speeches, colorful parades, and processions.
The city streets and villages come alive with revelers. To spice up the festivities, there are cultural celebrations with colorfully dressed dancers and singers representing their local districts.
The members of the Royal Family of Lesotho, along with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Senior Government Officials, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, and foreign diplomats all come to participate in Lesotho’s Independence Day Celebrations.
Lesotho Independence Day: Public Life
The National Day of Lesotho is celebrated every year on 4th October. A public holiday is observed on Lesotho Independence Day. All government and private institutes including banks, schools, and offices remain closed on this special day.
The inhabitants celebrate this public holiday to the fullest, by participating in special Independence Day celebration shows, parades, dances, and processions. Some also pay a visit to recreation spots along with their families, where they enjoy delicious feasts along with some great entertainment.
Independence Day of Lesotho 2019: Some Interesting Facts
- Lesotho will turn 53, on 4th October 2019
- A person from Lesotho is called a Mosotho. Citizens of Lesotho are collectively Basotho
- Lesotho’s native language is Sesotho
- Lesotho is among the landlocked nations of the world
- Lesotho has one of the world’s smallest road networks – the only paved highway is the Kingsway
- Lesotho sits in the clouds. The country is very mountainous, and has the “highest lowest point” of any country!
- It has wonderful waterfalls and magnificent landscapes
Lesotho National Flag: Symbols
The National Flag of Lesotho features horizontal stripes of blue, white, and green tricolor with a black mokorotlo (a Basotho hat) in the center.
- Blue color represents – sky or rain
- Green color represents – prosperity
- White color represents – peace
Fact: The Mokorotlo in the center of the flag is a type of straw hat widely used for traditional Sotho clothing and is the national symbol of Lesotho.