LESOTHO CULTURE HOUR
By Britteny Egan ’13
Photos by Melissa Collins '13
On Wednesday, Feb. 29, Lehigh’s Global Union hosted a culture hour night featuring a Fulbright Scholar student 12’ named Tsita Molapo.
Molapo comes from the country of Lesotho. He spoke about his country’s history, politics, its culture, the food, and tourism attractions. Molapo spoke proudly of his country and was excited to share his life in Lesotho with Lehigh students.
Molapo told a group of Lehigh students at culture hour night about his country. He shared unique facts about Lesotho that many of us may have never known.
“Since being here, I realized just a few of us know where this beautiful country is,” Molapo said.
Lesotho is a small country in the center of South Africa. It gained its independence in October of 1966 and is known as “The Mountain Kingdom” because it is 70% of mountains, Molapo said. Also, the symbol of the country is the “mokorutlo hat.” This symbol is a strong part of their culture, it is located on their flag, and also the most well known product to purchase as a tourist, he said.
Lesotho’s economy is largely dependent upon agriculture, migrant labor, textiles, manufacturing, and water revenues. Farming is very popular in the country, according to Molapo. In the olden days, everyone used to wear animal skins as a part of their culture, but now they wear blankets with various colors and designs.
Corn meal is the main food of Lesotho, Molapo said. “When I first came here I looked everywhere for corn meal,” Molapo said.
Molapo also shared a few tourist attractions of the country of Lesotho. There are popular ski resorts, national parks, waterfalls, Kome Village, and of course the beautiful Lesotho mountains themselves. There is actually a fortress on the top of one mountain where all the kings of the country are buried, Molapo said.
Molapo is a Fulbright student at Lehigh University and will be finishing his degree in System Engineering this May. He is a father of three and cannot wait to go back home to see his six month old son, whom he has not been able to see yet because he was born after he arrived at Lehigh last summer.
At home in Lesotho, Molapo was working at the National University of Lesotho for ten years before coming to Lehigh. His university wants to establish a new program and provide energy courses. Molapo was sent as a Fulbright Scholar to get a degree in System Engineering so he can go back to Lesotho and help establish the new program they are yearning for.
Molapo says he is really enjoying his time here at Lehigh so far, but is looking forward to seeing his family and friends again. Being a Fulbright Scholar he must stay in his country for at least two years after graduation before he can return to the United States. He plans to continue to work at the National University of Lesotho after he graduates to help build the new program.The culture hour night was open to any Lehigh students. It gave Molapo the chance to share some great things about the country of Lesotho. The Global Union provided food from his country available for students to try as well. Many Lehigh students took advantage of this fascinating program, but more students should be aware of what Lehigh has on campus all the time. So take advantage and come out and learn something new about a different part of the world at Lehigh’s Culture Hour nights. You’ll be surprised how much you didn’t know about the world.