Saturday

Lipere (Horses)

What's with the horses? It's a long story
Ponies were introduced to Lesotho from the Cape in the nineteenth century, with one of the first given as a present to King Moshoeshoe I by chief Moorosi in 1829. Moshoeshoe learnt to ride that year, and rapidly acquired further steeds, which he distributed to his family and followers. By the time of Moshoeshoe's death in 1870, ponies were widespread throughout the kingdom and the Sotho had become expert riders.
We still are. We ride like crazy. In the Occident they hop in car to go to the convenience store--guess what we do to go anywhere, really. Like, as if we had a choice, right? Cars? Cars are quite limited in Lesotho. The vast majority of motor-cars in Lesotho is in the lowlands, which comprise a mere 15% of the territory. Horses and mules and donkeys are a more common means of transport and rule the remaining 85% of Lesotho. And they don't pollute. They provide us instead with dung which we dry and stock to burn in winter, or moisten, beat into a pulp, and use to make litema or just to "repaint" a wall. And when they die we eat them. Usually we make "lihoapa", a.k.a. "Biltong". Those same horses, introduced to ntate Moshoeshoe I in the nineteenth century, are known today as "The Basotho Pony". Lesotho is a land of stark contrasts. Ponies are ubiquitous and carry people and goods everywhere. Those same people also take a Cessna plane regularly when the distance is too much for the pony.