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Friday 24th May
Lesotho Information - Page 2
The San people were early inhabitants of the region.

British administration of South Africa caused Dutch settlers (Boers or Afrikaners) to "trek" northwards to found their own republics. The Zulu people were also on the move. The Basotho, caught between the two, were led to present-day Lesotho by Chief Moshoeshoe.

Lesotho, known as Basutoland, eventually became a British Protectorate. The country was annexed by the British in South Africa in 1871 and became a British Colony in 1884.

Independence was achieved in 1966 with Moshoeshoe II the king of the Kingdom of Lesotho. King Moshoeshoe II was succeeded by his son, King Letsie III.

Lesotho retained links with the United Kingdom through membership of the Commonwealth.

Lesotho's most important natural resource is water. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project, opened in 2004, supplies water to South Africa. Known as "white gold", water generates much-needed revenue for Lesotho's economy.

A large percentage of the population is employed in subsistence agriculture. Products are barley, maize, pulses, sorghum and wheat. Livestock is reared.

Industries include construction, clothing, textiles, handicrafts, food processing and beverages.

The Lesotho Tourist Board is responsible for the promotion of the tourist industry and government policies are aimed at job creation.

Remittances from people working in the mines in South Africa are an important source of revenue for the economy of Lesotho. (2008)

Crafts in Lesotho include rugs (wool and mohair), tapestries, pottery, beadwork and basketry.

Traditional conical straw hats and decorated Basotho blankets (kobo) are worn by many of the population.

The Morija Arts and Cultural Festival held in October is a celebration of Lesotho's diverse culture.

During the year, actors and actresses from the Lesotho National Theatre take performances to the regions.

Sports in Lesotho include football, athletics, tennis, boxing and taekwondo.

A sports training and recreational centre, for local people and visitors, has been opened in the highlands near the Mohale Dam.

Skiing facilities are available in the Mashlasela Valley (3,222 m) in the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountain Range.

Easter, Christmas and New Year are holidays. Other days celebrated include Moshoeshoe's Day (11 March), Workers' Day (1 May), Heroes' Day (25 May), the King's Birthday (17 July) and Independence Day (4 October - 1966).

News from Lesotho is available from Newslink.

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