I feel really blessed to have the opportunities that I have in my work, which enable me to experience and witness some of the amazing traditional cultural life that we have in Southern Africa.
On a recent working trip to Lesotho, we took a drive to one of the beautiful dams, and on our way encountered these two herdsmen. In Lesotho, the young men are charged with taking care of the livestock and live in the mountains with the herds. It is very cold there, and traditionally they wear the distinctive Sotho Blankets. These two herders were walking next to the road and their creativity was amazing – the one wearing the hat had made it himself. He clearly has a fashion flair as he had a flashy bracelet and his boots were bejeweled as well.
The other was also creative as he had made a musical instrument from pieces of wood and an old kettle. Despite not being able to speak their language we managed to persuade them to play for us.
Another amazing blessing was being allowed to witness part of a ceremony for the young initiates that had returned from the mountain. They sat chanting in a semi-circle, wrapped in ochre-covered blankets while families and friends sat observing. Every now and then one would stand up and his name would be called and gifts from friends and family would be collected and he would be adorned with them.
These practices are dying out and I felt truly blessed to have been allowed to observe this old tradition.