Lesotho adopted its current national flag on October 4, 2006, on its 40th anniversary celebration as an independent nation. The introduction of the flag came after Lesotho’s parliament voted for the bill that provided for the changing of the flag in September 2006. The current flag replaced the earlier flag, which had been used in the country for nearly two decades since 1987. The design of the flag is a reflection of peace and stability, and its colors and symbols represent these virtues. The peaceful design contrasts the previous design which had traditional war emblems including a spear and a shield.
The flag of Lesotho has a rectangular design whose width to length proportions is 2:3. The design features a horizontal triband made up of three colors; blue (Pantone reflex blue), white, and green (Pantone green) arranged from top to bottom. The bands are of different widths. The blue and green bands are of equal widths but are slightly narrower than the middle white band. The official proportions of the widths of the three bands are 3:4:3. The middle white stripe features the black image of the mokorotlo, a traditional hat and national symbol of Lesotho.
The design of the Flag of Lesotho revolves around the theme of peace and stability both within and with its neighbor. The top blue band represents rain or the clear blue skies. The middle white band stands for peace and indicates the country’s internal peace and its peaceful relationship with its sole international neighbor, South Africa. The traditional Basotho hat, the mokorotlo is said to represent the Basotho cultural heritage. The bottom green stripe symbolizes prosperity or the fertile land that is Lesotho.
Centered on the flag of Lesotho is the mokorotlo which is also the flag’s distinctive feature. The mokorotlo is a traditional Basotho hat which is made out of straws. The straw hat is also recognized as one of Lesotho’s national symbols and also features on license plates in the country. The Sotho people traditionally wore the hat during important ceremonies. People in Lesotho wear the mokorotlo as a reflection of their national identity. The original design of the flag featured a brown mokorotlo image, but this was later changed to the current black mokorotlo image.
History of the Flag
Lesotho adopted its first flag on October 4th, 1966 on the day the country gained independence. The design of the independence flag featured a vertical triband of green, red, and blue stripes with a white mokorotlo charged on the blue stripe. This flag was replaced with a new flag in January 1987 after a military coup deposed the Basotho National Party. Designed by Sergeant Matete, the new flag’s design was made up of three diagonal bands of white, blue, and green, and also featured traditional military emblems of a lance, a club, and a shield. The flag was Lesotho’s national flag between 1987 and 2006 when it was replaced by the current national flag.
Adopted on October 4, 1968, following independence, the coat of arms of Lesotho contains two Basutho horses supporting a Basotho shield. A crocodile is displayed on the shield with an assegai (lance) and knobkierie (club) crossed behind the shield. The national motto "Khotso, Pula, Nala" ("Peace, rain, prosperity") is featured on a ribbon below.
The national anthem of Lesotho is known as Lesotho Fatse La Bontata Rona ("Lesotho, Land of Our Fathers"). The original lyrics were written by François Coillard and included four verses. However, only the first and last verses were adopted as the country's national anthem in 1966. The lyrics were obtained from an 1820 hymnal composed by Ferdinand Samuel Laur. The first verse of the anthem praises Lesotho as the most beautiful country, while the last verse is a prayer for protection from conflicts and tribulations.
Lesotho fatshe la bo-ntata rona;
Hara mafatshe ohle le letle ke lona;
Ke moo re hlahileng,
Ke moo re holileng,
Rea le rata,
Molimo aku boloke Lesotho
U felise lintoa le matsoenyeho;
Oho fatse lena;
La bo-ntata rona;
Le be le khotso.
Lesotho, land of our Fathers,
Among the lands she is the most beautiful.
She is where we were born,
She is where we grew up--
We love her.
God, please protect Lesotho.
Spare it conflict, and tribulation--
Oh, this land,
Land of our Fathers,
May it have the peace.
Lesotho loti is the official currency of Lesotho. Its is pegged to the South African rand on a 1:1 basis. The first maloti were introduced in 1966 and were used as a non-circulatory currency until 1980. The first issue of the loti in the form of coins and banknotes was in 1979.
Lesotho Loti coins and banknotes
Lesotho uses the loti as its official currency. Introduced in 1966, the loti was first circulated in 1980 as a replacement of the South African rand. The loti has the symbol L, or M for the plural form maloti, and uses the code LSL. Each loti has 100 subdivisions called sente (plural lisente). The Central Bank of Lesotho is responsible for issuing the loti. The loti comes in various denominations including lisente coins of values 5, 10, 20, and 50 and maloti coins of values 1, 2, and 5. The loti banknotes are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 maloti. The banknotes come in various designs, colors, and sizes, but have a standard width of 70mm. The M10 note measures 130 by 70 mm with red and yellow as its main colors. The M20 note is slightly larger, measuring 135 by 70 mm, with purple and light blue as its main colors. The M50 note is 138mm long and is colored violet. The M100 note is green in color with a length of 140mm, the M200 note has a length of 145mm and primarily orange in color. Counterfeiting of the currency led to the introduction of a new series in 2010.
Exchange Rates and Inflation
The Lesotho loti is exchanged with different foreign currencies at various rates. While rates change with the market conditions, the following exchange rates were valid as of June 29, 2017: the loti and the South African rand are at par; loti exchanges with the US dollar at a rate of 1 US dollar for 12.91 Lesotho maloti; one euro for 14.45 Lesotho maloti; and one Swiss franc for 13.30 Lesotho maloti. The Lesotho loti has an inflation rate of 6.8% mainly due to the changing economic conditions of the regional and global market. Lesotho engages in export trade of textiles and minerals with countries such as the US, South Africa, and European countries. Economic crises in these countries negatively affect the economy of Lesotho and the value of the loti against foreign tenders.
The South African rand served as the official currency in Lesotho until 1980 when the loti became the official legal tender. Although the loti was introduced as a replacement for the South African rand, the latter is still used in the country. Since South Africa and Lesotho are within the Rand Monetary Area. The rand and the loti are equal in value. The rand (R) has divisions of 100 cents (C) per rand. The South African Reserve Bank issues the rand in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 cents as well as 1 and 2 rand which come in coin form. Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 rand.