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.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Assembly Time

If you’re in school in the UK you probably have an assembly most days. It might be in the school hall or your classroom. Sometimes it might be in church. At Hoohlo we have assembly outside every morning.
The children all stand up in rows in their classes, shortest at the front and tallest at the back. They sing a hymn; then fold their arms to say a prayer. After this there are the notices for the school. Most of the time a teacher leads the assembly, but sometimes the students take over.

When it is time to leave, the children do not go in silence. Instead, they say a chant or sing a song to march, dance or jump away to. In this video, the children are chanting ‘Once, I Saw a Little Bird’.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Easter Holidays

You’ve probably just come back to school after a two-week break for Easter. We had an Easter holiday here too, but we only had 4 days off school over the Easter weekend. The children were glad of the chance to relax after a long term. Two of them will tell you what they got up to during their holidays – did you do anything similar?

Lebohang is in class 4. This is his Easter diary: “Thursday and Friday I played soccer. On Saturday and Sunday I went to the TÅ¡enola church. After I came back from church I played with toy cars and in the night I read books.

“On Tuesday I washed my school uniform and went running to exercise. On Wednesday I came back to school.”

Mary’s holiday was a little bit different. She is in class 5. “I went to the mall with my aunt who bought me some Easter eggs. When I got home we ate them with my family. We had a lot of fun. My sister cooked and we had supper. I washed the dishes and put them in the cupboard. I watched TV, then my aunt helped me to do spelling. I got them all right. Then I went to play with my friends. 
“On Friday my younger brother came over (he doesn’t live with us). We played and went to Scooters for pizza. After we took him home, I polished my shoes, washed my socks, watched TV, then my friend came. We played with dolls, then were tired so we went to sleep. 

“I went to Polosoang Church in Maseru West on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After church on Sunday, I looked after my aunt because she was sick, then went to my room and read. I had a nice holiday.”