Mary Agnew: The Basotho culture is full of traditions passed from ancestors many generations past. They had elaborate rituals and practices, many of which were unknown to us expatriates. Whenever there was a major holiday, there would be a celebration involving costumes, music, and dancing. Men and women were involved in this and the dancing was done in a large closely-packed group, everyone facing in the same direction. The men and boys held sticks and elaborately decorated shields, and the women would ululate, (making high, shrill, rhythmic noises from the back of the throat). The dancing ranged from slow and rhythmic hopping with both feet to a fast and wild high kick. The latter was done only by the men and boys. The dancing would often go on for hours. The ululating is something only done by women, and when heard, we would know there had been a happy occasion.
On King Moshoeshoe’s birthday there was much dancing and celebration. The people from the smaller villages would gather at one of the larger ones and the festivities would begin early and go all day, and into the night with dancing, feasting, and drinking. These celebrations were one of the only times they would kill a goat for feasting.
Stephen Gaskin: My experience in Lesotho was fun. They were going to have a feast for us. I got the honor of choosing the goat they were going to kill for the feast. A.) I didn’t want to. B.) I wasn’t going to eat any of it. But I thought I shouldn’t ignore the ceremony or act like I didn’t like the honor of being asked. I looked around and found a kid about twelve years old, and I said, “Lookie here. I don’t know anything about this. Could you pick a goat for me?” He was immediately up for it. I was going to pick out a scruffy one, one you wouldn’t mind taking out of the herd, but that would have been insulting to the guests. So he went and picked out the prettiest one. I was, well, that is what I’m supposed to do. I needed some help on that one.