Celebration of the Basotho New Year

Photo: Free State Tourism

On the 4 August 2018, the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation will be celebrating the Basotho New Year (Selemo sa Basotho), with the aim of giving way to the new life after the dry season, normally known as the winter season according to the Gregorian Calendar, relying on the position of the moon, the natural indicator of the season rotation.

The Basotho calendar commences after the last days of the winter season in August/Phato, known for blowing winds, clearing Mother Earth and refreshing grounds with showers of spring.

The Basotho people celebrate the beginning of the year with different rituals, e.g. Mokete wa lewa, where they celebrate after harvesting, to thank God and the ancestors for the food harvested.

Outreach programme aiming at awareness of the Basotho New Year celebration and services of the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation will be led by the Basotho Cultural Village together with Provincial Museums, the Department of Agriculture, the House of Traditional Leaders and the Department of Education. It is scheduled as follows:

30 July 2018:  Fouriesburg & Clarens

31 July 2018:  Bethlehem & Kestell

01 August 2018: Harrismith

02 August 2018: Qwaqwa

On the day of the event, 04 August 2018, horses will be awaiting MEC Mathabo Leeto and her dignitaries and a grand march by the cultural groups to the venue, where the event will be hosted.

Approaching the museum, there will be unique craft exhibitions by local SMMEs, various museum services exhibitions by Provincial Museums, SANPARKS, the Department of Labour, the Department of Agriculture and other Institutions depicting their services to benefit the attendants of the event.

The opening of the official formal programme will be led by traditional healers performing their rituals to mark the African New Year, fields are ploughed, and the very first harvest is brought as an offering to “Tlatlamatjholo” – God.  Included in the programme will be presentations on traditional harvesting methods and performances by our cultural artists.

African cuisine and traditional food will be served to complete the celebration as a sign of good harvest and praying for the best in the coming year.