One interesting fact about some tribes of Lesotho is the use of clan names which always point out the ancestral origin of each clan. These clans are namely the Bataung, Basia, Bafokeng, Makgolokwe and Bakuena et al. The Sotho people has always lived a simple life that needed a closer inspection that the complexities of their social and political structure can be seen or identified. The culture of the country is rich in social organization, dressing, and food.
The traditional dressing of people in Lesotho is largely dependent on the age of an individual or the occasion. Here are the different Sotho attire.
1. Sefaha sa letsopa
They are neckpiece made out of clay bead worn by girls.
2. Thethana ea banana
They are dresses made out of clay beads worn by girls.
3. Mose oa lekoko
Skirts made of woven fibre or cow skin.
An undergarment made out of sheepskin, but cut in a triangular shape and tied around the body in such a way as to cover the private parts worn by young boys. But the length was increased by age.
A headgear that was conically-shaped made out of a grass named moseha. Other forms of headgear include moliha-nyeoe and ts’ets’e. Hats that were made from animal skin include kuoane, kharetsana and sekola, with sekola traditionally being worn by warriors.
6. Basotho blanket
The Basotho people had a special blanket that was made by men for the chiefs. This blanket was known as lehlosi, which was made up of skins of wild cats or a leopard. There was also some other blanket which was worn by men. They were known as setipe and mokhahla.
The traditional attire of the people of Lesotho cannot be overlooked as it forms the major tier of the cultural heritage of the country.
However, marriage amongst the BaSotho, as with many other cultures, is viewed as the joining together of a number of families through a variety of rituals. Similar to other cultures, mahlabiso in Sotho culture is where partners celebrate the marriage in the presence of the families and loved ones, and officially welcome the bride.
An important aspect of the marriage ceremony is the naming of the bride (this is usually a teknonymous name) and the exchange of the much-loved, now iconic Lesotho blankets. It’s well known that blankets are pivotal in their lives: kobo ke bophelo (the blanket is life). And when a bride gets married, she’s wrapped in blankets and given to the groom.
These are adorable traditions in African culture to hoist the prestige of each country. Traditional wedding celebration in Lesotho just like other African countries can last between two and three days.
Shweshwe is the commonly worn outfit for traditional weddings in Lesotho. This is always styled to suit the taste of the groom and pride to make a good sense of fashion statement on their big day. Shweshwe is a printed dyed-cotton fabric widely used for traditional Southern African clothing. Originally dyed indigo, the fabric is being produced in a range of color brightness and the printing designs are characterized by intricate geometric patterns. Due to its popularity, shweshwe has been described as the denim or tartan of Southern part of Africa.
Basically, shweshwe is a fabric used for making traditional dresses, skirts, aprons and wraparound clothing. This has its primary peculiarity to newly wedded Sotho women, who always don in the shweshwe clothing as a typical traditional wedding attire.
Meanwhile, outside being used for traditional outfit, shweshwe is used in contemporary South African fashion design for women and men from all ethnic groups.