(Kingdom of Lesotho, Muso oa Lesotho)
- Location: Southern Africa
- Capital: Maseru
- Language(s): Sesotho, English
- Population: 2,073,547
- Total Area: 30,355 sq km
- Currency: Lesotho Loti
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Although landlocked, there are various beer brands imported from South Africa while some other alcoholic drinks are made locally.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 5.53 liters
- Most Popular Drinks: Local beer
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a special nation in many ways. One, it is one of the few kingdoms in Southern Africa (the other is Swaziland) and in an interesting twist of geography, it is located totally inside another country and this has led to many to refer to it as an enclave or a country within a country. It lies inside the Republic of South Africa, and only three independent states in the globe have this peculiar status. Formerly called the Basutoland, Lesotho was colonized by Britain and became independent in 1966. The name of the country stems from its language (Sesotho) and can be translated to mean ‘the country of Sesotho-speakers’. A constitutional monarchy, the country’s king is Letsie III.
In learning about this country, I came across something very fascinating and interesting: Lesotho is a very homogenous nation with almost 100% of the people being Basotho. This is in sharp contrast to many of the other African nations I visited as some of them have hundreds of ethnic groups and countless tribes. This is not the case with Lesotho as almost all the citizens belong to the same ethnic group and speak the same language. All over the country, the most popular language is Sesotho (also called Sotho) and English is also spoken as well. In terms of religion, Lesotho is overwhelmingly Christian with almost 90% of the populace adhering to the faith. There is also a small population of Muslims and Hindus.
Being an agrarian country, it was quite understandable that there are various food crops and this reflected in the diversity of Lesotho dishes. In the capital city of Maseru, where the Royal Palace is situated, there are international hotels and classy restaurants where you can enjoy the best continental and intercontinental dishes. In many parts of the small country, there is a popular barbeque called brai and I made sure I had more than a bite of the delicacy. I was also surprised to come across plenty of freshwater fish in this landlocked nation but I later learnt that such commodities were imported from South Africa. Other meals are made from vegetables, tubers and meat. Fruits, especially apples and apricots are sold at cheap prices. Beers are also sold at the bars and hotels. In the villages, rural dwellers enjoy all sorts of local liquors.
This nation is so full of surprises and fantastic sights. In the city of Morija, I had the opportunity of witnessing a famed cultural festival and it was so thrilling and enjoyable. All over the country, activities such as dancing, singing and storytelling are quite common and I really enjoyed participating in many of the dances.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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