Lesotho

Traditions & Customs

Traditions & Customs

Try and learn a few Sesotho words before travelling to Lesotho. The locals appreciate a foreigner who has made the effort to learn their language. Always refer to an elder person, or a person of higher social standing as N'tate (male) or M'e (female).

Lumela (pronounced due-mela) is hello. So you would say Lumela N'tate or Lumela M'e. Kea leboha (sounds like kia-lebh-oha) - is thank you U phela joang (O-pila-joang) - how are you Respond with either hantle (well) or Ke phila hantle (I am well) Sala hantle (as it is written) is "stay well" if they are staying and you are going. Equivalent to goodbye. Tsamaea hantle is "go well" if they are going and you are staying

Always respond to people: It is very offensive to ignore someone who greets you. As a foreigner, locals will be keen to say hello and ask you what you're up to in their country.

Never get angry at anyone; in the Basotho culture, people never show frustration towards others, and if you do, then you can easily offend someone. You will almost certainly get frustrated when dealing with Lesotho officialdom, always keep your cool no matter how much buffoonery you are subjected to. To show respect when giving and receiving items, use both hands. Also show a respect for food — don't throw it around, or eat whilst walking.

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Lesotho - Travel guide

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