The Basotho
South African Culture

© Dr Peter Magubane
During Basotho initiation, female initiates wear beaded masks.

The Basotho have been identified as part of a larger Sotho cohort, comprising three broad divisions: Basotho - Southern Sotho, Pedi - Northern Sotho, and Tswana - Western Sotho. The Basotho used to live throughout the Highveld area but, since the mid 1800s, have been most closely associated with Moshoeshoe's independent kingdom of Lesotho, previously Basutoland, whose territory today is an enclave within South Africa's borders.

Basotho Initiation Rituals

Basotho Girls between 15 and 20 were also initiated; the process was less gruelling than the boys', but its purpose was the same: to perform a ceremony that would bring adolescent girls into the adult world....more

Basotho People of South Africa

By 1831 he was undisputed ruler of the newly formed Basotho nation in an area that extended well to the west of present-day Lesotho's borders....more

Basotho Religion and Beliefs

Basotho beliefs and doctrine regarding death and the after-life have been influenced by Christian gospel spreading....more

Basotho Rural Life

In earlier times the Basotho daily life followed a routine, with a rigid division of labour based on age and gender....more

Contemporary Life of the Basotho

The strongest influence on Lesotho's Basotho is their involvement as labourers in South Africa's mining and productive industry....more

Cultural Practices of the Basotho

The Basotho delight in song and dance, which accompany many ceremonies and social activities....more

Marriage in Basotho Society

Arranged marriages used to be common among Basotho leaders and chief's children, ancestry and kinship connections were important to regulate social and legal relations....more

Social Organisation of Basotho

All Basotho belong to a clan, a social category whose members share a clan name that associates them with an animal totem or ancestor....more