Lesotho – A Road Trip to the Katse Dam - The Highest Dam in Africa

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Lesotho - The small power-blue dot in the middle of South Africa
Lesotho - The small power-blue dot in the middle of South Africa | Source
Source

The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho

Our road-trip to the Katse Dam – the highest dam in Africa situated in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho - was another enlightening glimpse of -

  • Exquisite nature,
  • Poor people’s ability to live in harmony with nature,
  • Poor people’s inability to practice their creative skills, expose their sense of the aesthetic and maintain it as a pride for themselves.


Warning: According to travel.state.gov Lesotho has a high crime rate. Foreigners are frequently targeted, robbed, car-jacked and even killed. (Sadly, this is also the case in South Africa.)


Fortunately we can enjoy virtual tours via the Internet.

(Somehow there is always something to be grateful for.)


Lesotho, Southern Africa

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Miss Lesotho 2013 - Mamahlape Caroline Matsoso

Lesotho music and images

Exquisite landscape between the Caledon border post (South Africa) and the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho

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Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser

Maluti Mountains, Lesotho

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Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie CoetserMaluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Maluti Mountains, Lesotho © Martie Coetser

The peak of the Mafika Lisiu Pass in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho -

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Peak of the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie CoetserSnow on the highest peak of the Maluti Mountains (in October middle of spring!) Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Peak of the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Peak of the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
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Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Source
Snow on the highest peak of the Maluti Mountains (in October middle of spring!)
Snow on the highest peak of the Maluti Mountains (in October middle of spring!) | Source
Source
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Snow on the Maluti Mountains © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser

Lesotho Highlands Water Project

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is Africa's largest water transfer scheme, comprising a system of dams and tunnels to store and transfer water in the Highlands of Lesotho to many areas in South Africa. Read more about it here.


This video below will give the reader only half an idea of this massive water project in the Maluti mountains, involving several rivers. Due to the fact that the project is not yet completed according to the plans of the engineers, the unbalanced pressure of water is now causing earthquakes and rock-falls.

Orion Katse Lodge - view from restuarant

Katse Dam - the highest dam in Africa

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This is about only a part of the entire water mass in the Maluti Mountains Reservior and intake tower behind the Katse Dam, LesothoThe wall of the highest dam in Africa, the Katse Dam in Lesotho
This is about only a part of the entire water mass in the Maluti Mountains
This is about only a part of the entire water mass in the Maluti Mountains | Source
Source
Reservior and intake tower behind the Katse Dam, Lesotho
Reservior and intake tower behind the Katse Dam, Lesotho | Source
The wall of the highest dam in Africa, the Katse Dam in Lesotho
The wall of the highest dam in Africa, the Katse Dam in Lesotho | Source
Source

Maseru

Maseru (place of the red sandstone) is the capital city of Lesotho
Maseru (place of the red sandstone) is the capital city of Lesotho | Source

People’s ability to live in harmony with nature -

Not all the citizens of Lesotho are poor. I have seen pictures - evidence - of exceptional wealth in the capital city, Maseru. However, we have travelled through a rural area that has given me the idea that most people are poor, but happy, living in harmony with nature. I haven't noticed the Western tendency of "keeping up with the Joneses".

Perhaps the following statistics dated 1 January 2012 and some more pictures can give us an idea what the standard/style of living is in the rural areas of Lesotho -


(NB: Maseru means 'place of the red sandstone'.)

Poverty levels: South Africa, neighbouring countries and others

Country
% of Population living below poverty level
Swaziland:
69%
Zimbabwe:
68%
Namibia:
55,8%
Mozambique:
54%
South Africa:
50,6%
Lesotho:
49%
Botswana:
30,3%
OTHER COUNTRIES:
 
USA:
15,1%
United Kingdom:
14%
China:
13,4%
Canada:
9,4%
Ireland:
5,5%
Mexico:
51,3%
http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=sf&v=69 )

Houses on small holdings close to a town gave me the impression that many citizens of Lesotho are NOT poor...

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Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser

LAND OWNERSHIP IN LESOTHO


The basic principle of Lesotho's traditional land tenure system is that it vests all land in the Basotho nation with the king holding it in trust as head of state. This principle is considered to be a sound one, since it is a forceful recognition that land is the most important natural resource for the welfare of the nation, present and future. As in all customary systems, there is no individual ownership of land in Lesotho.

Authorities (chiefs) allocate an arable land to one to cater for their family's subsistence but has exclusive rights only to crops and the land reverts to communal use after harvesting. There are no individual rights to grazing as all members of the community are entitled to communal grazing.

Read more about the problems of the LAND TENURE SYSTEM IN LESOTHO here.

Houses in the country, each with their own crops and cattle...

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Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserWikimedia Commons Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser

'Rondawel' is our word for a Basotho hut

A Basotho hut is also called a 'rondawel' @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rondavel
A Basotho hut is also called a 'rondawel' @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rondavel | Source

Towns and villages are repelling!

According to my blind judgment the cause of unattractive towns and cities is to blame on -

  • An ineffective city council lacking a system and sufficient regulations;
  • The absence of qualified and artistic designers and planners,
  • A shortage of enthusiastic and inspired personnel,
  • Poor and/or apathetic citizens.

I can add many more reasons why too many cities and towns in the entire Africa, including South Africa, look like the breeding grounds of snakes, pests and criminals. I can proof all of them with pictures - pictures of neglected areas opposed to pictures of the luxurious residences and vehicles of councillors and managers (or chiefs and kings) who could give a tinker's damn as long as they get their exorbitant remuneration at the end of each month. But this will be wasting my precious time and energy.

Fact is, people who are mentally, spiritually and financially poor are unable to practice their creative skills, expose their sense of the aesthetic and maintain it as a pride for themselves and for all to respect and admire.

A town with only here and there a glimpse of pride -

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Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserShops of corrigated-iron @ Lesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie CoetserLesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Shops of corrigated-iron @ Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Shops of corrigated-iron @ Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
Lesotho © Martie Coetser
His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho (Follow this link to read more about Basotho and their unique cultural heritage.)
His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho (Follow this link to read more about Basotho and their unique cultural heritage.) | Source

Relevant background: Lesotho

Lesotho is an independent kingdom surrounded by South Africa. (The prefix ‘le’ means ‘land’ or ‘place’)

The people of Lesotho are called Basotho. (The prefix ‘ba’ means ‘people’)

The language of the Basotho is Sesotho, rooted in the Niger–Congo language family.

According to the History_of_Lesotho, Lesotho finally became an independent country on October 4, 1966, hence called the Kingdom of Lesotho, governed by a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament.

History reveals endless tribal wars before the arrival of white settlers between 1836-1838), of which the worse could have been the Lifaqane (Mfecane) - ±1830 - when Chaka Zulu’s warriors wrought havoc among many native clans in South Africa.


A Basotho hat (Mokorotlo) - a national symbol imitating the shape of the Mountain Quiloane in Lesotho

Source
Me wearing a typical Basotho hat © Martie Coetser
Me wearing a typical Basotho hat © Martie Coetser

What do I personally know about Lesotho and its people?

Since I can remember I knew that Lesotho was the land of the Basotho. I also knew that most of the blacks who were living in the Orange Free State were Basotho.

Most of this region 'belonged' to the Basotho until the white ‘Boere’ (farmers) invaded it during the Great Trek (1836-1838). However, the British Empire managed to annexed the Orange Free State as well as Lesotho (then known as Basotholand), consequently inciting the Basotho Gun_War .

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

On 23 February 1854

the British allowed the white Boers in the Orange Free State their own independent government, which consequently led to wars between the Boers and the Basotho -

  • Senekal's War (1858-1858),
  • Seqiti War (1865-1866),

Due to a treaty that was signed to define the boundaries of Lesotho - for the Basotho - and the Orange Free State - for the white Boers - the Basotho were left with a kingdom half of its previous size.

The first substantial State President of the independent Orange Free State, Josias Philip Hoffman, was fired on 10 February 1854 after being in office for only one year, because he had given – as a gesture of good faith – a keg of gunpowder to the king of the Basotho, Morena e Moholo Moshoeshoe I (Morena is the Basotho's word for 'king'.)

Source

While I was a child during the Apartheid-regime,

we lived on a small holding near Bloemfontein (the capital city of the Orange Free State). In my ignorance of the pervasive consequences of an apartheid-regime I have experienced the Basotho as friendly and trustworthy people. I did not know about their discontentment and the efforts of their leaders to free them from white domination.

I were fond of those who were employed by my parents to work in our vegetable gardens. They called me 'nonnatjie' (little girl) - as they were, in their unfortunate state of forced, submissive humbleness, not allowed to address white people with their names. Since 1994, when apartheid was finally demolished, this incongruity belongs to the past.

'Stroois': A small one-room building built with bricks, sometimes plastered with brown clay but not lime-casted or painted. The flat roof was of corrugated iron

Source

Example of a classical, average house (occupied by whites) on a small holding in the '60's

Source

Protected and privileged (in my white skin), I remember only one incident of violence: A women called Liesbet, who was living with her husband and children like all the other workers in a 'stroois' - , came to our house one night after dark. She reeked of smoke due to the coal stove in her one-room house and of the Basotho's unique home-made beer called Kafferbier (which is today a most offensive word!) Blood was running down her face from open wounds in her head and she was screaming like a lean pig (as we describe people who are crying loud and unrestrained.)


Only 5 years old, disillusioned and shocked, I understood that Liesbet had been hit with a brick by her drunk husband. But before I could understand anything more I was sent to my room where I was not able to observe anything that could scare me.

Liesbet was allowed to spend the night in our house – on the floor in the kitchen! At that time allowing her – a black woman - to sleep in our guest room would have been totally wrong according to the indoctrinated, RELIGIOUS beliefs of white Afrikaners. Sadly, even today in South Africa many whites will find it difficult if not impossible to overcome their prejudice that whites are intrinsically superior to all other races.

During our trip to the Katse Dam, when we passed a couple of children walking along the road, a black girl of about 10 years old spat at us - a thick, large snow-white ball of sputum that is still haunting me. If racial hate is to be justified and allowed, black people will surely get all the right in the world to practice it. (See video below of the social implications of the Highland Water project.)

However, my parents were held in high esteem by all the Basotho in our vicinity. My father was the local missioner (in his spare time, as he was during the day a lecturer at a technical college). He was also a qualified paramedic and a reservist police officer. Sunday afternoons, when all the Basotho in our region came to our house to attend a religious sermon delivered by my father, I sang along in Sesotho, hanging on the lips of my father who could speak Sesotho as if it was his mother tongue.

When I finally found myself in adulthood, I managed to unravel a few mysteries:

  1. The gun my father bought when I was 4-5 years old was NOT to kill pigs in our small husbandry, but to use in self-defense when discontented black activists decided to attack us.
  2. We did not move to town when I was 8 years old in order to spare my sister and I the miles of walking per day between home and our school (for only whites), but because living on a small holding and travelling by train and car to Bloemfontein had become dangerous to life due to terrorist tactics that were adopted by the African National Congress (the current ANC-government), who had been trying since 1912 to free the blacks in South Africa from white oppressive government. (Ref.: Resistance_to_South_African_apartheids

BTW: Black children had their own schools, but conditions, resources, syllabI and discipline were far below the standards that were set and maintained in schools for whites.

But even in Lesotho, where Apartheid was never an issue, innocent people still get the worst of it In the name of development -

In conclusion


Traveling by car to the Katse Dam in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho was an unforgettable experience. Apart from accommodation for tourists, a couple of modern stores and TV-antennas attached to even the most humble houses, I haven’t seen any unspoiled nature in the name of Civilization, Art and Capitalism.

See more pictures of the Katse Village, Dam and Lesotho here – here.

© Martie Coetser

© Martie Coetser: 15 November 2013

National University of Lesotho

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Comments 43 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

What a great geography, cultural and history lesson, all rolled into one fine article. Well done Martie!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Martie. You do such an outstanding job with these small glimpses into your world. The natural surroundings are true wonders. The poverty numbers are so disheartening. California borders Mexico, and that poverty can be witnessed first hand. Lesotho and South Africa have similar unhealthy numbers.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is very interesting Martie. I love learning about different cultures. The history of Africa is sad, at one time i thought the whites stole the land from the blacks. Tony ( remember Tony? ) told me that the whites have always been there. I hate it when i learn of people living in poverty, it's happening here too. This should never happen. Your article is well written. I could feel the dislike for anyone who feels superior over another. Thank you, great pictures..


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

@ billybuc – Thank you, Billy! Always nice to see you in my corner. I feel privileged because you consider my hubs worthy of your time and attention :)

@ mckbirdbks – I don’t have a snowball’s hope that the poverty level in Southern Africa will ever fall below 40%, because human’s primordial greed is yet to be conquered. What is, was and will always be: Palaces for kings, shacks and card boxes for the poor and houses of different sizes and shapes for those in between. The more we get the more we want. Once in power, or in the position to uplift not only oneself but an entire nation, misspending of financial resources, mismanagement, misgovernment, maladministration, self-enrichment, etc-etc seem to happen spontaneously. Also keeping birthrates in mind and especially among the poor, I can’t even imagine what this world will be like in a hundred years. Thanks for your inspiring comment.

@ always exploring – Whites entered South Africa in 1652 – they were not always here. They never stole any land. Since the beginning they bought it according to the basic principles of demand and supply. Thereafter they protected, maintained and developed it. In the process they have ignored what was not theirs, but used and abused what were offered to them – cheap labor provided by the hungry people of the kings who have initially sold their land to enrich themselves (as all land originally ‘belonged’ to the kings of the various tribes – (bought with the blood of their warriors) - and whatever earthy wealth – such as cattle - they could get in exchange for land.) Eventually their people became dependent of wages and charity that were provided by whites – initially via British Imperialism and thereafter via Western Capitalization. All of this encouraged natural human behavior: Greed, Envy, Hate, Revolt, Revenge, etc. All of this is so normal in the history of humanity.

And so we will live till we die.

Feeling superior over others should surely not be based on the colour of one’s skin – this is false, based on prejudice. But the feeling of superiority will always be part of human behavior. The rich will feel superior over the poor, the intelligent and wise will feel superior over the unintelligent and foolish, the beautiful over the ugly, the healthy over the sick. This will NEVER change, it is natural, instinctive human behavior. But when we add to this true love and respect for our fellowman, a true willingness to practice goodwill as far as we go, surely this world will be a better place to be in.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, my dear Ruby. I hope you are fine. Don’t you think it’s time for a chat via e-mail?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Wow Martie, I have just spent the last 20 or so minutes reading every single word and watching the videos. I was absolutely fascinated! I had also never heard of Lesotho, and the fact that you sang in their language, grew up trusting them while all the politics went on around you, and the one thing I did think of when you mentioned the fact that they really don't have the will power etc to do anything I think has to come from the fact that they have 'no individual ownership of land' I never thought of this before, but it makes sense. Why would you bother if you can never own it yourself type of attitude.

I could write here all day! lol! just wanted to say though that those photos were amazing too, great read Martie, and I learned something new! voted up and hub shared!


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 3 years ago from New York City

I bet this hub will earn you another Hub of the Day, if you never received one yet the this shall be the first Martie. First off I would like to thank you for this awesomely well written history lesson for us all to get a chance to learn about that particular part of Africa, especially for the apartheid issues they had there, not so long ago in South Africa.

As a descendent of slaves in America and African ancestry myself and with a conglomerate of mixed heritages, for me this sort of content (Hub Article) is imperative for me to not only read, but to also digest entirely, so this is pure food for thought processing and historical archiving for sure.

I loved the fact of your documentary style writing here, the imagery is magnificent, and all of your true to life experiences their appear so real, I almost felt as if I was there just by reading your words here, and yes I read every bit of them.

The people there definitely face economic hardships, tack that onto histories bill, right! Well I think there's a true lesson in all this, that you're family learned for sure, and its one for all of humanity to bare witness too. There are many differing levels of being human in my eyes, one of them is where some folks of such a so-called ruling class (More like a over ruling class) can choose to rule with cruel intentions, some will seek to gain, some will seek to remain neutral in the overall procession at hand. It appears that you're family even though wasn't in either position, maintained neutrality, and had to survive the best way they saw fit. Thus reason for your dad to do what he had to do.

This is how it goes in any society, and no matter how its structured (Survival is key!). As a person on the lower end of the totem poll, yes they feel they have the right to fight back, and if their rights were indeed taken by force, then why not.

The oppressors all know who they are, and they hold all the tricks, locks, and keys in the books to try to detest such infuriated contentions, holding off as long as they could till all resources they could venom suck out of the place is gone. Sucked dry! this is how they operate, and history continues to repeat itself all across the globe with these sorts of evil characters.

That's my take on it all, and my aims are to put a stop to such piracy. I was born in opposition of such inequalities that exist on the planet earth. I had a long talk with the man upstairs about it all too. So yup I am now his soldier of fortune using the online world to end inhumane acts, and wherever they fester. Someday this goal shall be achieved, and even if I'm long gone, because traces of my true spirituality I've embraced to fight this war against injustices, have been carved into the online world for all the world to bare witness to years after I'm gone!

This is how I feel about hearing such things when I read them, or sense them, or get told of such atrocities against our peoples of this planet, and no matter the color, creed, gender, social class, or cultural heritage of a person or group of people.

Powerful hub here Martie, I am 100% totally impressed, share this one will be my pleasure. (Sorry for bring long winded too)


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 3 years ago from New York City

I would of made my response to you a hub all of its own, but I figured it belonged here with your powerful article for all the world to witness as well. Sorry for the typos towards the end, ran out of comment editing time :) Thumbs up super high and you know the rest.

Thanks again for writing this true to life story/article/awesome history lesson.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

Well thanks so much for that virtual tour-- the dam is so beautiful; but I learned a lot about South Africa. Great hub.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Martie, the terrain is interesting with all the different textures and elevations. The disparity between class is almost obscene, however. The history of Lesotho is quite sad, as is where you grew up. What is it like living in the area in which you now reside?


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Martie,

I enjoy reading articles from which I learn something new. Thanks for publishing this very well-researched, well-written article.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

What a wonderful hub Martie with beautiful photos. Your obvious hard work has certainly paid off and here's to wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Eddy.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Nell Rose - Thanks a lot for reading this hub so thoroughly. I do believe that we understand a situation so much better via the personal experience of others, instead of via documentary reports that leave us in a position where we have to interpret according to our own bias and personal reference.

So true: Inspiration to grow and improve kick in when we obtain ownership, reaping the fruit of our personal achievements. Personal achievement in Lesotho for the individual is only the amount of food they are able to produce for personal consumption. Any surplus is a personal loss – so wth? If your blood is not blue, you will never get anywhere. In any oppressed position, noticing the prosperity of the suppressors, discontentment will eventually triggers revolt. (The French Revolution is a typical example.)

I am curious to know what the taxes are, to be paid by those working in the diamond mines and business sector, and what about the people who work legally and even illegally in SA?

Nell, being British you know the ins and outs of hereditary nobility versus commoners. Fortunately (or should I rather say apparently), the gap between aristocracy and commoners no longer exists in your world and I am pretty sure it has started to fade the day commoners had obtained the right to own land.

But from all appearances the people in Lesotho seem to be happy in their circumstances, although September 22, 1998: “....weeks of opposition-party demonstrations over allegations of election-rigging and an army rebellion effectively paralyzed the government....” http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive...

Please note that South Africa is not a monarchy but a democracy, after almost 20 years still battling to overcome Apartheid and all that it was for 30+ years.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Absolutely fascinating! Love the photos and I had NO idea there was so much discord there between white and black. I guess I should have known. Your photos are also amazing and gorgeous!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Martie;

Just yesterday, I was thinking, “I hope that Martie writes another hub about SE Africa,” and here we are. :-)

The ability to live with nature, side-by-side with serious socio-economic issues, all juxtaposed with the beauty of this extraordinary country is very powerful. I have longed to visit this country, so I am grateful for the virtual tour you have provided of Lesotho. The music melds with the stunning photography. It is a superb meld of tone, feeling, culture, texture, geography, history, extraordinary beauty, and sadness.

And I loved this: “I haven't noticed the Western tendency of "keeping up with the Joneses". Greed and indifference create poverty; and it is growing in America as well. I wish I could more optimistic about where this is leading us all.

I agree with Cloud; this should be a “Hub of the Day.” Truly! I look forward to reading more, Martie.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Sorry I meant to type in South Africa and Africa. Sorry for that typo, Martie.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

CloudExplorer – thank you so much for your most insightful comment.

Just for the record, Lesotho as a country was never involved in Apartheid. It has been a monarchy since the beginning with its own struggles - Initially against neighbouring monarchy (the Zulu and the Xhosa), then British Imperialism and then the provinces of white settlers and eventually still a monarchy surrounded by South Africa. During the years of Apartheid Lesotho was, like all the other ‘homelands’ of the various tribes that were established by the Apartheids-regime, respectfully regarded as an independent country ruling their own affairs. Their people were considered to be immigrants, needing work permits to work and live in South Africa. Anyway, this very European concept has eventually failed in SA, while Lesotho and Swaziland have survived as independent countries – their people still need visa to work and stay in SA.

Isn't economic hardships a reality in ALL countries of the world? Each and every country has their own history, their own experience of oppression and suppression, struggling to get over the results of either oppression or suppression. And here you hit the nail on the head: There are many differing levels of being human and the challenge is indeed to have compassion and to do what is godly and not self-centered in all circumstances. With ‘godly’ I mean sharing what is gained, developing ones talents not with the objective to gain but to SERVE the people in one’s vicinity, trying to make the best of all situations. This is the fruit of compassion and I am so proud to say that this was the life style of my parents throughout their lives.

BTW, even in Lesotho, where no individual has an opportunity to gain, compassion is not the order of the day. In times of draught all neighbours don’t necessarily share the little food they have. They will rather steal the food of others, and even kill others in the process, or they will demand what they need from the chief/king and even from strangers. Or they may be humble and patient like the people in the video and simply die if a miracle doesn't happen in time.

The wars against injustice – will it ever end? As soon as one injustice comes to an end another one starts, as if some people are born to exercise injustice in order for us to always know the difference between justice and injustice.

Cloud, you are so welcome to write about whatever this hub of mine has inspired you to write. According to your comment you have more than one topic to cover. But please, make sure I get a notification. I just can’t manage to keep updated with all published hubs – my life is a rat race between beloveds, work and hobbies.

Thanks again your most insightful comment. Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Dear Martie,

Thank you for taking us along on your road trip to the Katse Dam! This is such an interesting and fascinating read. I always enjoy reading your hubs about South Africa, for I learn so much I would have never otherwise known, and I love learning it from someone who is living there and experiencing all you have shared, as opposed to, as you state, just watching a documentary of some sorts.

Your photos are amazing and I appreciate all of the hard work you have put into this hub, as it shows of the most high quality as always.

Up and more and sharing.

Hugs and love to you and yours,

Faith Reaper


Thief12 profile image

Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

Really interesting and great hub.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a great hub, Martie! I loved reading it and learning about a place that I have hardly heard of before. The photos are wonderful and the information is fascinating. Thank you so much for all the hard work that went into creating the article. I'll share the hub.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

@ WiccanSage – Thanks for coming over for the read. Just remember Lesotho is not South Africa, but an independent country surrounded by South Africa.

@ bravewarrior – I also have to say to you that Lesotho is a complete different country – a monarchy, while South Africa is a democracy. SA is like America, but with its own, unique political and social issues. I am happy where I am. I have everything I need – a comfortable house, a car, a job, wonderful relatives and friends. Politics and the ever-rising prices of things I need frustrate me and the high crime rate keeps me alert. Lets be honest – South Africa has too many incompetent leaders and managers on all levels and too many hard and heartless criminals. Furthermore I swing ever so happy from one wonderful day to another, grabbing all enjoyable opportunities while battling with my physical aches and pains. Dear Shauna, I am sure that you and I are in the same boat cruising the same stormy sea, but in two different compartments. I think yours is a bit more luxurious than mine, though mine is just as comfortable with a view on the waves. Take care and enjoy your weekend :)

@ Daisy Mariposa – Nice to see you in my corner. Your compliment is highly appreciated. Take care, dear Daisy :)

@ Eiddwen – Battling with exacerbating physical pain I do find hubbing much harder as in the beginning. It takes me so much longer to prepare a hub, but thank heavens I still can. Thanks for your visit.

@ RealHousewife – Always good to see you in my corner. Discord between black and white is about on the same level America was 50 years ago before and after Martin Luther King. We can but only hope that racism and discrimination on all levels will eventually disappear.

@ Genna East – I am so glad you enjoyed this hub. I find Lesotho’s modern music, or the modern versions of traditional music, quite appealing, especially the one I have chosen for the hub. But here is a song that will drive me completely nuts, just like heavy metal and many songs in my own culture will drive me nuts – and just because of the boring repeat of melody and voice. Maybe the lyrics of this one are supposed to appeal - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBBzq03zTJU

Thanks so much for your inspiring comment and for sharing :)

@ Dearest Faith Reaper – thank you so much for coming over for the read. Your compliment is heartwarming and much appreciated. I plan to publish a hub about my hometown soon, just so all my friends can ‘place’ me where I belong. Take care, dear Faith :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

@ Thief12 - Glad you found this interesting.

@ Alicia - So nice to know you have found this hub fascinating. You know, I was just busy developing a complex because your hubs always fascinate me, while I have no idea how to fascinate you. Thanks a lot for your continuous support :)


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 3 years ago from Arlington, TX

Martie - Fascinating piece of writing. Your parents raised a remarkably talented woman.

The Frog


sallybea profile image

sallybea 3 years ago from Norfolk

Well done Martie, as a daughter of Africa, I am seriously impressed by your well researched Hubs and your beautiful images. I have always loved Lesotho so thank you for bringing it home to me.

Sally


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Why, thank you, Frog :)) I think you've made me blush. Lol!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Sally, those mountains are absolutely awesome. This was my first visit to Lesotho, and you know all first impressions tend to stick. Thanks for reading and commenting :)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

I second about always having something to be thankful for.

Wow!!! Fabulous photos and a very interesting journey of your road trip!! You've obviously earned your title of SAA.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi my dear, Sunshine, I am glad you came along to enjoy the trip to Katse Dam :) Almost 1am down here - time to shut down. Looking forward to catch up on reading the hubs of my precious online friends. Enjoy your weekend :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Martie;

I clicked on that link. I see what you mean. There is repetition in a limited range. What sounds like an accordion or harmonica that circles about the perimeter doesn’t help. There is a dissonance in the words and lack of melody but since I don’t understand the poetry or message in his story, it makes a huge difference. I’m not a big fan of heavy metal or rap either. Then again, Yanni bores me to distraction. (Lol.)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

This was more than just a road trip to the Katse Dam in Lesotho, dear Martie. This was a well-researched fascinating exposition of historical facts about Lesotho; its geographical location; many local customs; land ownership; and most interesting of all - your personal reflections of living in South Africa during Apartheid. You are particularly skilled, m'dear, in helping your readers re-live those memories.

Thank you for educating me and at the same time providing fascinating entertainment with your selection of photos - especially the one of you in the Basotho hat - you are just too cute! Trust me.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Martie,

I had to read this through two times to fully absorb the detail and intricacy of your road trip, interspersed with insights, ponderings and childhood reflections. The second time was even better with the amazing comments and your perceptive responses.

The story of Liesbet is sad and a powerful testimony to your Father's decency and compassion in doing the right thing regardless of race or gender in a time when such was not the norm. How ironic and equally sad that today a young black girl spits on a complete stranger in anger based solely on race without remorse or forethought.

Your road trips have a way of building our perspectives in many more issues than travel trivia...although your photography is some of the finest in HubVille. Thank you for the time you put into everything you do...always so proud to call you my Sista. Voted UP and UABI.

Love, Maria


manjubose5 profile image

manjubose5 3 years ago

A well researched hub and awesome photos that will attract any traveler. Your detailed geographical facts about Lesotho are just amazing! I agree with drbj.

Thanks Martie


Mr B 3 years ago

Excellent hub as always. Thank you for the honor to have been able to show you how beautiful the mountains are and the good company You always are on our road trips. I love taking you places. Love you


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

Martie, This is a wonderful hub on some experiences of your youth, the difficulties on all. It is sad to think of the poverty and violence. The dam pictures, however, are beautiful. This was all new to me. You obviously spent time researching this hub and adding your personal experience made for an awesome hub. Much love.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

@ Genna East – The instrument they use is a piano-accordion – an instrument that was introduced to them by white missionaries. Here is some more info - http://www.accordions.com/index/his/his_afr.shtml

My list of boring South African music in my language is as long as my arm. But we do have a number of brilliant singers, able to compete on International level. Why, I haven’t heard of Yanni... yet. Lol!

@ drbj – I am so glad you enjoyed the read. I could not resist posing for a photo in a Basotho hat in a museum where no-one is allowed to take photos. So you may add ‘daring’ to ‘cute’ :))) As a souvenir I bought a teeny-weeny hat, and I am still sad because my camera’s battery went flat before I could shot photos of Basotho Art. Here is a link to some of their artwork – (I saw a hat I can add to the hub.)

https://www.google.co.za/search?q=basotho+art&rlz=...

@ marcoujor – Thank you so much for pointing out those 3 grammar/spelling errors I have made. What will I be without you? I can but only thank my Samsung camera – a gift from B – for any fine photography, as I simply pull the trigger.... er.... push the button as we go. Well, sometimes B stop and turn around in order for me to take a decent picture... Now what man will do this? I told you he is an angel.

Yip, that ball of spit is haunting me. Coming from a child? She must have well-developed salivary glands, producing such a large ball of spit in only a few seconds. Maybe spitting at others is not such a horrible thing to do in their culture? I don’t know. But we were actually lucky. Discontented blacks normally through stones at cars on the road and even bullets.

Thank you so much, my dearest Maria. Your comments (privately and in public) mean more to me than you may know.

@ manjubose5 - Thank you so much for reading and leaving me such an inspiring comment. I would really like to publish more hubs of this nature.

@ Mr B – my liefste Afrikaanse boertjie :) It takes two to tango. Believe me, if you were not the most wonderful, kindest, generous and adorable man, you would not have had the ‘honor’ to take me anywhere. Thank you so much for being my knight in shining amour for the past almost 20 months, and for taking me to places in our beautiful country – places I would never have seen if it was not for you. You KNOW I appreciate, love and adore you with all my heart :)))


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Pamela - I do enjoy writing about the history of my world. I am a keen amateur-historicist. But always have to do research in order to write about it, as I seldom if ever store detail in my brain - only impressions and interpretation - comforting myself with the saying, 'Education is what is left after you have forgotten everything you have learned.' Hugs to you, my dear Pamela :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Your pictures are amazing as is your history and current events education. Thank B for his patience allowing you to take such beautiful pictures. It is certainly a gift to those of us who will never get anywhere near any part of Africa.

It is still hard to believe what goes on in other countries. It is much easier to believe that apartheid solved all the problems still being faced in South Africa. How sad it is to think children have that much hate, fostered by their own country. Things are far from perfect in the US but generally the public isn't racist. Don't get me wrong, there are still many, many racists here but the government and the majority of people are not.

Loved the hat!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

tillsontitan - this is the wonder of the Internet and social sites like FB and farms for writers: We are no longer confined to our region, and we no longer have to depend on journalists to show us what they thing we ought to see - I absolutely love this 'direct' contact. The more we share, the more we learn and the less ignorant we become.

The original idea of Apartheid was based on the European system, where every nation have their own territory - the French, Germans, Poles, Dutch, etc, each have their own country after endless tribal wars in the far past. Unfortunately, for many reasons, the idea didn't work down here.

I can't handle racists. Not one of us has the right to be a racist. I want to say that I am proud of my Christian upbringing - we were taught to love our fellow-man and to pray for our enemies. But it is amazing how many racist call themselves Christians, and even base their racism on scriptures. How can you call yourself a Christian when you hate other creatures of God with a passion. Before Jesus this was the order of the day. But did he not change all of that?

Anyway, let me rather bite my tongue and thank you for supportive comment. Take care, dear Mary :)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

Martie, i would love to chat via email, we have a lot of catching up to do. I remember when we emailed several times a day, and laughed our A off, pictures shared, it was a good time. I know that we connected in a good way. We both have grown, but we remain the same inside, wanting nothing more than happiness, Hugs my friend...


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

My dearest always exploring, I have no idea how I have missed this comment of yours. We have certainly grown, yet our hearts have not changed. Thanks for the chat via email. Good to know that you are still your sweet self in spite of all the never-ending changes that's been going on in Hubville :) Lots of hugs to you :)


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

An interesting and enjoyable photo journey around Lesotho Martie - both for the value to any tourist intending to visit or travel through the country, and for the personal story - just one of the millions of personal stories and viewpoints from a very difficult period in Southern African history. I've learned more about Lesotho in the past hour, than I've ever learned before.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa Author

Sorry you had to wait so long for my reply, Greensleeves. I am neglecting HubPages - will explain in a private message. To be honest, reviewing the history of South Africa, I cannot find any period that was not difficult since the arrival of whites in 1652. Maybe Africa is not meant for whites, like land is not meant for fish. I cherish my memories of our trip to the Katse Dam :)


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

Thank you, Martie. I'll never get to visit your country, but I love to see and hear about it in your hubs. Keep them coming! ;-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Homeplace Series, this is the wonder of cyberspace - we can visit each other countries via our hubs. Nice to meet you. On my way to follow you.... :)

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