In August the Basotho normally celebrate the New Year. This is annually done in recognition of nature’s way of giving way to new life after a dry winter season.
Historically the Basotho did not follow the Gregorian calendar, but relied on the position of the moon, the natural indicator of the seasonal rotation.
Acording to a statement by the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (DSACR), the Basotho New Year commences after the last days of Mariha/winter to give way to new life after the dry season. The New Year Celebration starts in August/Phato, known for the blowing winds, clearing Mother Earth and refreshing the land with showers of spring.
The Basotho people celebrate the beginning of the year with different rituals such as Mokete wa lewa, during which celebrations commence after harvesting, to thank God and the ancestors for the food harvested.
The DSACR annually celebrates this special day through various festivities traditionally hosted at the Basotho Cultural Village in Qwaqwa. The celebration is hosted in partnership with the Free State House of Traditional Leaders.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has this time around denied the Basotho the opportunity to engage in the usual celebration. With it ravaging the world, different traditional forms cannot be engaged in the traditional way during this special day.
The Traditional Healers’ Ceremony; Traditional Sesotho Prayer; Traditional Sesotho Music (Famo, Mohobelo etc); Demonstration and Drama on Ancient Sesotho Cultural Practices and many more cannot be showcased during this special day this time around as used to in the previous years.
“While we are happy to celebrate this important day in the calendar of the Basotho nation, we are nonetheless saddened by the fact that we are not able to do so in the traditional way that we are accustomed to due to the ravaging effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We nevertheless take this opportunity to wish all Basotho a happy and prosperous new year. To Basotho in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, in the Free State and wherever they might find themselves we say: ha e lale makwala a none mme pele ya pele ban aba thesele, bana ba Morena Moshweshwe”, said Limakatso Mahasa, Member of the Executive Council for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.