U se ke ua lebala – do not forget me – a Lesotho Sunday


Sunday morning church in Morija. The church grounds are swarming with children from the Boarding School – church is obligatory. At least this Sunday. Actually, the whole country is swarming with school children, whenever, wherever you go. Lesotho may be one of the poorest, if not the poorest country in the world but has one of the highest literacy rates of them all.

Lesotho Evangelical Mission Church in Morija, built between 1848 and 1858 by the missionary artisan and artist Francois Maeder.

Francois Maeder was also responsible for producing many of the earliest sketches of historic personalities in the country including the first of Chief Moshoeshoe I. Apparently Maeder House and the historic Morija Church were the only two buildings that survived the burning of Morija in 1858 when Boer commandos destroyed Letsie’s (King Moshoeshoe's chief son's) entire village, the house of Rev. Thomas Arbousset, and other mission structures.

Arlette, Richard and Eliane enjoying an after church chat with church elders.

Chief Moshoeshoe I (1786-1870) founder of the Basotho Nation, was happy to receive the missionaries Thomas Arbousset (1810-87), Eugène Casalis and their assistant Constant Gosselin of the Paris Evangelical Mission Society (PEMS) and as such founded a tradition of learning in Lesotho.

Thaba Bosiu - the unassailable mountain retreat of the Basotho people under Moshoeshoe I during the difaqane - a period of turmoil in the interior of Southern Africa, originating from the expansion of the Zulu nation and subsequent tribal fragmentation and marauding.

Our friends from the Cévennes, Eliane, the Rev. Peter Koona Tefo (pastor of Thaba Bosiu Mission), Arlette and her husband Richard, he too a pastor.

L.E.C. church buildings at Thaba Bosiu.

The new church buildings of the Lesotho Evangelical Church, after a tornado had destroyed the old church structures in the 50’s.

Intense discussions about remnants of the past not immediately accessible any longer.

Qiloane - a mountain landmark next to Thaba Bosiu.

"Do not forget me." A reminder of what a few foresighted, motivated and dedicated men can achieve in their life time.

King Moshoeshoe I, founder of the Basotho nation, sketched in 1833.

With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One thought

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. Francois Maeder is my great great grandfather, my father being Edward Knox Maeder. Very interested in him and his faith as we are all christians with 2 of his great great great grandsons pastors, my own son Simon Gibbes at Hillsong London and my brothers son, Robert Maeder at a Presbyterian church in the USA. I am fascinated by this time in our history.

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