Happy Moshoeshoe’s day!

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1943

Lerato Lelia

Lesotho will come alive today with the celebration of “Moshoeshoe’s Day”. All ten districts of the nation will commemorate their king on the day of his death (11-03-1870).

"Moshoeshoe was not born a leader; he was the son of Mokhachane, a petty chief of the Bamokoteli sub-clan," said the Head of department of African Languages at the University of the Free State (UFS), Professor Mohlomi Moleleki.

Moshoeshoe was born at Menkhoaneng in Leribe, Lesotho and worked his way up from cattle raiding to becoming a leader to his people.

“The so-called Basotho nation was founded out of remnants of other communities who ran away from the spear of Shaka during the wars of calamity. Moshoeshoe gathered them together into a powerful community that later became known as the Basotho. So he is the founder of the Basotho nation that’s what he is credited with,” said Professor Moleleki.

Moshoeshoe’s reign coincided with the growth in power of the well-known Zulu chief, Shaka.

To celebrate “Moshoeshoe’s day", Lesotho has an annual event, the ‘Moshoeshoe Walk‘ (from Menkhoaneng to Thaba-Bosiu), which has been successfully organized since 2007. “He is also celebrated through a range of cultural activities,” said Professor Moleleki.

Along the walk’s route on top of Thaba-Bosiu are the substantial remains of Moshoeshoe’s residence and huts for his people. The royal cemetery of Lesotho lies on further south, where graves of great leaders of Basotho can be seen, the latest being those of King Moshoeshoe II.