BASOTHO based in Austria, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and other European countries recently gathered in Bonn, Germany to celebrate the country’s 53rd independence.
The event attracted 80 people, among them Basotho based in Europe, their friends, relatives and other visitors who included former diplomats, business people like Ntate Ingo Seifert from Ingo’s TV Centre and the academia.
The celebration was organised by a rapidly growing network of Basotho living in Europe to connect with each other, revive their cultural heritage and update each other on the current developments in Lesotho.
Mamlefi Teichmann, the founding member of the group said that they launched the network in 2017.
That year, they hosted the network’s first event in the Netherlands at the African Museum in Berg en Dal, Gelderland. The museum is home to the Basotho Cultural Village, where the group showcased Basotho culture and activities to visitors. These included a showcase of the Basotho huts, how to grind maize using the traditional millstone, the animal kraal and many other practices.
The second event was held in 2018 in Utrecht in the Netherlands and was hosted by Mamolepa Borgdoff from Maseru, paving the way for strengthening the Basotho community in Europe.
“I am very happy to host and organize this year’s event and to see so many Basotho come together to celebrate the Independence Day,” Anne Mannerea Maletjane, a member of the network said.
“The event in Germany was focused on expanding the network of Basotho living in Europe, educating the children, families, friends and other visitors about the history of Lesotho and the culture of its people.”
The event was kick started with a Basotho prayer, the national anthem and a message from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the Republic of Germany. Activities on the day included mokhibo, mohobelo, litolobonya, metjeko and live music from Nthabeleng Mokoena, a singer originally from Butha-Buthe living in Germany.
Motsomi Maletjane added that the event also concentrated on showcasing the latest trends in the economic, environmental and social strengths of Lesotho, which include the wool and mohair industry, the Lesotho aloe, trout farming, the emerging cannabis business, potato farming, diamonds, water and the textile industry. He said that the group’s aim is to market the country’s beauty and scenery as seen in the majestic mountains, the legendary Maletsunyane Falls, the historic Thaba-Bosiu mountain and other sites.
“The day was a memorable one to me. It made history for our children here and for those yet to be born. I personally found the event quite informative specifically the message from the ambassador. I was glad to hear about how Germany is participating in developing Basotho skills at higher learning institutes, and also creating new and renewed relations with European countries,” Stella Freidling from St Monicas, Leribe said.
“There is no mokete without food so we had setampo, papa, nama ea nku (mutton), home-made boerewors, braai, makoenya, moroho, motoho, likuku, mafatše a thothomela. We plan to grow the group, to strengthen the platform for all Basotho living in Europe to interact and to encourage them to invest back home. We are also working towards exposing Lesotho as a tourist destination,” said Anne Mannerea Maletjane one of the organisers of the event.