Basotho embrace new year with celebration

2015-08-05 06:00
MATHABO LEETO, Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, during the celebration of the African New Year (Selemo sa Basotho) at the Basotho Cultural Village.
Tladi Moloi

MATHABO LEETO, Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, during the celebration of the African New Year (Selemo sa Basotho) at the Basotho Cultural Village. Photos: Tladi Moloi

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BASOTHO CULTURAL VILLAGE. – Scores of people from the Free State and a few from Lesotho came together at the Basotho Cultural Village about 20 km outside Qwaqwa on the road to Clarens on Saturday (01/08) for a celebration.

The 1st of August marks the African New Year (Selemo sa Basotho).

The celebration honours the giving way to new life after the dry season, known as winter according to the Gregorian Calendar, which relies on the position of the moon, the natural indicator of the season rotation.

The Basotho calendar commences after the last days of the winter season in August, known for its wind, clearing Mother Earth and refreshing the land with showers of spring.

The Basotho people celebrate the beginning of the year with different rituals, for instance Mokete wa lewa, in which celebrations commence after harvesting, to thank God and the ancestors for the food harvested.

Mathabo Leeto, Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, attended this year’s event. She said it was important to celebrate the day and added that her department would look at the possibility of hosting the celebration in different towns from next year on.

“We should be proud of our culture. We need to make sure that we go back to our cultures,” Leeto said.

“Our people were very good in making food with their hands. They planted many things in their gardens, unlike now. We now have to buy everything from the shop, and mind you, some are not working.”

The MEC said it was very important for the department to go to schools and teach young people about their cultures so that they would grow up knowing where they came from.

“Our people do not know when the beginning of their new year is, yet they call themselves ‘Basotho’. That is a challenge. Before we master other people’s history, we should know ours first.”

People who attended the celebration were entertained with the cultural music of different cultural groups from the Free State and Lesotho. Ledika Moloi, chairperson of the Free State House of Traditional Leaders, said it was a great feeling to witness that some of the young people knew their culture.

“I am happy to see that our government is still inviting our people together to celebrate this. I am happy that she (Leeto) announced that the celebration would be taken to other areas in the next year,” Moloi said.

African cuisine and traditional food were served to complete the celebration as a sign of a good harvest and in praying for a good year

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