Mokorotlo

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Mokorotlo.jpg

A mokorotlo is a type of straw hat widely used for traditional Sotho clothing, and is the national symbol of Lesotho. An image of the Mokorotlo appears on the Lesotho flag, and on Lesotho license plates. The design is believed to have been inspired by the conical mountain Mount Qiloane.[1][2] It is known as “modianyewe”, which means "he who executes judgement in court" in Sesotho[3]. It is manufactured from an indigenous grass known as “mosea” or “lehodi”[4].

History[edit]

The origins of mokorotlo are unclear. A similarly shaped hat has been identified among the descendants of the Cape Malays, former slaves from the East Indies, and it is believed that the Sotho may have adopted the mokorotlo through exposure to these slaves[5].

The mokorotlo is the object which was used to cast rulings in customary courts, similar to the symbolism of a gavel in western societies. It was designed to resemble the mountains where Moshoeshoe the First lived during his triumphs in battles with the various nations that were attacking the Sotho[6].

The mokorotlo became infamous around the 20th century, when chiefs began to wear the hat and began singing a song also known as the ‘Mokorotlo’ to garner support at village “Pitso”, which is a gathering. In its original form, it was exclusively worn by males to gatherings. However, in the 1950s, new designs were developed to cater to women[7].


Symbolism[edit]

The Sotho display the mokorotlo in their homes, indicating that they uphold the customs and acknowledge their bonds with their Badimo.

It also serves to protect the home against danger and other evil influences. The hat is an important part of Sotho cultural attire that is worn to reflect national identity and pride[8].

Alternative uses[edit]

Other warfare rituals, songs and poems go by the generic name of mokorotlo. It is also noted that mokorotlo refers to the traditional male dance performed by male initiates and elders.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Mzolo, Shoks (4 September 2015). "Thaba Bosiu: Where the mountain is king". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  2. ^ Martens, Daniela (3 September 2009). "Botschaften in Berlin laden Bürger ein" [Embassies in German welcome visitors] (in German). Tagesspiegel. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  3. ^ The Cultural Meaning of Names among Basotho of Southern Africa: A Historical and Linguistic Analysis, MTHOBELI GUMA, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
  4. ^ S.D. Bishop, Culna, Volume 1984, Issue 26, Apr 1984, p. 08 – 09
  5. ^ Nakin, Moroesi R; Kock, Inie J (2016). "Insights into translation and the original text: Thomas Mofolo's Chaka". Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde. 53 (2). doi:10.17159/tvl.v.53i2.9.
  6. ^ http://ro.uow.edu.au/kunapipi/vol24/iss1/1
  7. ^ S.D. Bishop, Culna, Volume 1984, Issue 26, Apr 1984, p. 08 – 09
  8. ^ The Cultural Meaning of Names among Basotho of Southern Africa: A Historical and Linguistic Analysis, MTHOBELI GUMA, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.