The Basotho culture can be traced as far back as the pre-historic age, they are said to have originated from the north of Southern Africa and made their way down with different tribes settling in different parts of the country.
The most notable Sotho clothing items are the iconic Basotho hat (mokorotlo), which has become the national symbol and can be found on the Mountain Kingdom’s flag.
The conical woven hat with a top knot is made of local mosa grass and can be seen and purchased all across the nation.
The origin of the Basotho blanket goes back over a century. In 1860, King Moshoeshoe I, the founder of of Lesotho, recieved a wool blanket as a gift. It is said that The King loved the blanket so much, and abandoned his traditional leopard-skin kaross in favour of the blanket.
This influenced the Basotho cultural clothing because the Basotho people soon followed suit the Kings way of dressing and to this day the blanket is an inherent part of their cultural clothing attire. You will see blankets of varying colours and patterns at all important life events, from marriage to childbirth to the coronation of kings.
The Sotho blanket ‘Seanamarena’ in Sesotho, is also worn in every day life by herd boys, older women and children to keep warm. Lesotho is the only nation south of the Sahara that identifies the culture of an entire country through a nationalistic article of clothing like the Basotho blanket.
Sotho women usually wear long dresses and skirts in vibrant colors and patterns with blankets around their waists, and for special events (like church or weddings) they wear a traditional Basotho dress called the seshoeshoe. Seshoeshoe are worn in endless varieties of designs, patterns and colours. Wearers purchase shweshwe fabric and then work with a seamstress to create their preferred design.