Every 11 March is King Moshoeshoe I’s Anniversary in Lesotho, a public holiday dated on the death anniversary of the famed national hero King Moshoeshoe I.
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Moshoeshoe I was born into the family of the chief of a small Basotho clan in 1786. He later led a group of settlers into the mountains of present day Lesotho and began the nucleus of what would become a new, unified nation. Moshoeshoe’s wise geographical and political manoeuvring helped him to unify all the Basothos under his rule and helped them survive against the incursions of the Boers and the British.
By securing a mountain stronghold, using whites as foreign advisers and interpreters, and playing off his nation’s land-hungry enemies against each other, he unified his people and founded and defended the state of Lesotho. His rule was a time of war, wars for survival, and his efforts ultimately paid off.