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Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho

we are going on a last-minute trip on Friday, driving from Durban to Cape Town over 3 days. our route will take us up into the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, along the southern border of Lesotho, through the Eastern Cape, down to the Karoo and back home. more on the later! but considering we will be travelling through the mountain range that south africa shares with Lesotho, i thought this would be a great post to share.

for those of you who don’t know – Lesotho is a landlocked country within South Africa, home to the Basotho people. it is an absolutely breathtaking place with amazing highlands that form part of the Maloti mountain range, one of the few areas in southern africa that has regular snow in winter. so it can get pretty damn cold, which meant that the local people have traditionally used furs and skins to stay warm for hundreds of years.

in 1860 King Moshoeshoe I was gifted a thick European blanket, and he was so taken with it that it has since become a part of every day life in Lesotho – as well as a status symbol. blankets are given to people in important stages of their life: e.g. birth, marriage and initiation.

The trademark four ‘pin-stripes’ synonymous with the Basotho blanket, and typically worn with the strips running on the vertical, apparently originate in an early manufacturing flaw that over time has become de rigueur. Once wrapped around the body, the blanket is secured at the wearer’s shoulders and affords comfort in extreme temperatures, as well as protection from the elements and open fires. From birth to death, the blanket plays a central role in South Sotho culture.Shnu

photographer Joel Tettamanti, who is from Switzerland but spent part of his childhood in Lesotho, took these photos of the country & its people in 2013.  you can actually buy these blankets online here, royalties go to the Lesotho Kingdom and its people.

Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho
Joel Tettamanti: Lesotho

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11 Comments

  1. I was actually born in Lesotho, but my family left a few weeks after I was born. One day I will make way down there. Thanks for sharing these :)

  2. I love how informative your posts are – the history behind these blankets really adds to how special and beautiful they are. Enjoy your trip!

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