Basotho Hat in Maseru, Lesotho

The Basotho people comprise 99 percent of Lesotho’s population, so it seems fitting that the remote enclave country’s only official Visitor’s Center was fashioned after their traditional straw hat.

The hat has a wide brim and a pointed top, a design that is said to be inspired by the shape of Mount Qiloane. A similar style of hat was worn by Basotho tribal chiefs, who performed a type of song known as mokorotlo at certain ceremonies. In the 1950s and 60s, the hats became popular among the wider population, and were called mokorotlo because of their connection to Basotho identity. It became such an important symbol that when Lesotho gained independence from Great Britain in 1966, it was selected to appear on the country’s new flag.

Basotho Hat is a two-story arts and crafts collective that hosts a wide assortment of baskets and weavings, all of which were manufactured throughout the Mountain Kingdom. It’s a great way to support local businesses in a place where the average salary is less than $2 USD per day.

Posted by Contributor