Our program featured Matsela Z. Matsela who is a Fulbright scholar at Lehigh University. He is using his two-year scholarship to study financial engineering. His presentation introduced us to his native country of Lesotho, also known as the Kingdom in the Sky.
Matsela started off with some music featuring a man playing a traditional flute-like instrument called a lekolulo. The shepherds play the instrument in the fields for entertainment. The country is known for their horses and the animals are featured prominently in their coat of arms. The motto of the country is Peace, Rain, Prosperity and is symbolized by the blue, white, and green stripes on the country’s flag.
Historically, the country was called Basutoland and was a British protectorate for nearly one hundred years. The name Lesotho was adopted upon gaining independence in 1966. The country’s boundaries are entirely within the country of South Africa. The government is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and has executive authority. The King serves largely as a ceremonial function.
Most the country is rural, and the mountainous topography features amazing vistas. The architecture of stone huts in the villages is designed to moderate temperatures to be cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. The country’s high altitude lends itself to tourism attractions including cycling, motocross racing, skiing, and astronomy.
The semi-skilled workforce produces many goods for export to the United States. Lesotho is a source of diamonds and medicinal cannabis. A large hydroelectric dam produces power and also is a major source of water for South Africa. The official language is Sesotho but English is used for teaching in the schools.