Saturday, 11 June 2011

School’s Out!

 Because Lesotho is in the southern Hemisphere (below the equator) they have winter from June to September, and summer from December to March – the opposite of the UK.
So Hoohlo Primary has broken up for the winter holidays. Like every school in Lesotho, they finished this week and will start back at school on 1st August. The children were very busy on the last couple of days cleaning and tidying the school. Even the gardening equipment was put away clean and shiny.

This week was also my last week teaching in Lesotho. The children and staff at the school have made me feel very welcome since I arrived in January, and gave me a wonderful farewell party. There were dances, songs and drama, as well as short speeches from different people in the school community.

As I’m not in school anymore, this will be my last blog post. I will still put up photos in the albums of the children, school and places in Lesotho. If teachers need any specific photos, I’m in Lesotho for another week, so please just post a comment asking for them and I can take them.

Thanks for reading and sala hantle – hwyl - bye!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Basotho Homes

 This week some class 5 children took me to their houses in Ha Hoohlo. Ha Hoohlo is a village right next to the border post with South Africa. It has a few very big houses along the main road, but most people live behind these in smaller, and very different houses.

What type of home do you live in? A flat? A terraced house? A semi-detached house? Detached? It’s very unlikely you live in a round house, but some people in Lesotho do. Mafaesa showed us his rondavel where he lives with his grandmother. He likes to play football outside with his friends.
Refiloe also lives Ha Hoohlo with her grandmother and sister. She lives in a detached brick house and likes to watch television.

Bokang lives with his mother in this house. There are several houses in this terrace. They surround a garden where he plants vegetables to eat.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Africa Day and Heroes’ Day

On Wednesday we had the day off school for Africa and Heroes’ Day. These are 2 different celebrations that used to be held on different days, but were combined a few years ago.

Africa Day is a day to celebrate the Organisation of African Unity, which is now called the African Union. It is a special day all over Africa.

In the 1800s, most African countries were colonies – ruled by other countries. These other countries were Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Holland and Germany. In the 1950s and 1960s, most of these colonies gained their independence and could rule themselves. The Organisation of African Unity was created in 1963 to help the free African countries work together.

Heroes’ Day is special to Lesotho and very much like our Remembrance Day. The Basotho remember the heroes of their nation, like Moshoeshoe I, who created the country.

People remember the soldiers and civilians who have fought in wars, like the 1500 Basotho who fought in World War I and the 20,000 who fought in World War II. There is a memorial to these soldiers in Maseru, and the king of Lesotho goes there to pay his respects on Heroes’ Day, just like the queen of England does at the cenotaph on Remembrance Day.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The History of Lesotho

Here’s a short history of Lesotho and how it came to be a country.

Over 190 million years ago there were dinosaurs living in Lesotho. They may have died out long ago, but you can still see their footprints in a few parts of the country.

Many years later, but still 100,000 years ago, early man first lived in Lesotho (although it wasn’t called Lesotho then). The people were hunter gatherers and used stone tools. They didn’t farm the land at that time.

By 10,000 years ago, people had started using bows and arrows to hunt with. The San bushmen arrived about 2,000 years ago. They left a lot of paintings on rocks around the country that show us how they lived.

By 1820, nearly 200 years ago, Lesotho was still not one country, but a place where different tribes moved around, grazing their cattle. In 1824, a tribal chief called Moshoeshoe (pronounced Moshwayshway) persuaded other tribes to join him, to defend the land against lots of different invaders from what is now South Africa. He became the first king of Lesotho. The tribes spoke many different languages, so it was decided to have one language to unite the new country. Sesotho was this language.   

Moshoeshoe (in the picture to the left) and his tribes climbed to the top of a mountain called Thaba Bosiu to have a better place to see their enemies. (Thaba Bosiu means ‘mountain of the night’ – so called because it was believed that the mountain grew at night time.) Against all odds, the tribes managed to fight off the invaders and as the mountain became the safest place to be, more tribes came to join the new nation.

However, in the 1860s the threat from the Boer armies became too strong for the small nation to hold off, so Moshoeshoe asked for protection from the British. In 1868 Lesotho became a British protectorate (under British rule by request); then in the 1880s it became a British colony. This meant that the British government ran the country; they didn’t have their own government. Lesotho was then known as Basutoland, until the country gained independence from Britain in 1966.