Happy Moshoeshoe’s Day!

Given that Moshoeshoe’s day commemorates death, it may sound a little strange when I say: happy Moshoeshoes’ day! The truth however is that for Moshoeshoe I, death was like a gift. As I have suggested before (in this post), Moshoeshoe I understood that it is in death that he will be able to finally meet and thank his Creator and his ancestors (Molimo le balimo ba hae, as Basotho would put it ;-)) for guiding him in his journey. A journey in which he became the great leader that he yearned to be as a young man! For this reason, death was truly a gift to him, for his dreams did come true and all he needed was to express his gratitude.

I suppose when one fails to view life as a gift, it may be a bit difficult to see why death itself is a gift. Today as we celebrate Moshoeshoe’s day, it is therefore my wish that all will be inspired to live a life in which in death one will find joy and celebrate the transition to the next life. So, happy Moshoeshoe’s day! And lets remember that one day we too shall die — memento mori, memento mori!


3 thoughts on “Happy Moshoeshoe’s Day!

  1. Born and raised in Lesotho and being privileged to have had grandparents born in the 1800s, I’m surprised today to learn of the reason why the date of the Moshoeshoe’s Day was changed from 12th March to 11 March – to commemorate his death on March 11; and that prior to this change, the 12th day March was honoured (wrongly)because it was believed to be his birthday. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
    According to the history I did at school in Mapoteng, Lesotho in the 60s & 70s and the word of my grandparents & other elderly & credible people who raised & taught us, the day on which Lepoqo (Moshoeshoe I) was born was not known – only the year of his birth (1786) and place of his birth (Menkhoaneng)were known. His birthday never appeared in our history books; so there is no way the Basotho could have celebrated his birth on March 12 (even if they did it by mistake) – the date was not known.
    According to the history we did at school, the 12th day of March (Moshoeshoe’s Day as we knew it then) had nothing to do with his birth or death; but it had everything to do with Moshoeshoe finding protection for Basotho from England in 1868. England proclaimed the territory where the Basotho lived (under Moshoeshoe I)a British Protectorate and that territory came to be known as Basutoland until in 1966 when it was re-named Lesotho. This is what we grew up understanding the Moshoeshoe’s Day to be all about – protection from Britain & never Moshoeshoe’s birthday or death day; and this is the truth about the 12th day of March in the history of Basotho. As the founder & king of Basotho, I have respect for the days on which Moshoeshoe was born & died respectively; but if the Basotho want to honour his birth or death or both, let it not be at the price of distorting history. If they want to repeal the day (March 12) and remove it from the list of public holidays, let the truth about it be told – let the real reason be given; let us not tell LIES to the nation and the whole world, making reference to his birth/death when talking about March 12. It has nothing to do with his birth/death; and it has everything to do with becoming the British Protectorate in 1868 on March 12. This is the truth that we and those who were before us know/knew.

    • History remains a very contested territory. What is clear in my mind is that some of the books themselves are filled with inaccuracies that need to be corrected. This is a task that you and I together with other Basotho should aim to address. Otherwise the next generations will never get to know the truth.

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