Help us improve our Directory.

Thanks for using our World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples! We hope you find it interesting.

We have a small favour to ask: if you appreciate our work, would you mind considering making a donation to support our work?

Donate now

Main languages: Sesotho (official), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

Main religions: Christianity (primarily Roman Catholicism), indigenous beliefs

The population is almost entirely Basotho, with around one per cent consisting of European, Asian and Xhosa.

[Source: Ethnologue, various years for small minority languages.]

Subscribe to receive updates about this country


Lesotho is entirely surrounded by South Africa. It is the only country in the world that lies entirely over 1,000 meters above sea level, and its elevation results in high precipitation. Lesotho exports water and hydro-electric power to South Africa.


Bantu peoples entirely displaced Khoisan hunter-gatherers, who were the first inhabitants of today’s Lesotho.

The territory was part of a powerful Sotho kingdom under attack from both Boers and Zulus when Britain offered protection to the new ‘Basutoland’, in return for loss of land, in 1868.

Basutoland remained under British rule until independence in 1966, when it was re-named Lesotho.


Today, Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy. It has had a rocky transition to democracy, and its first peaceful election took place in 2002. Recent years have seen reports of police abuse and corruption among the security services. However, judicial decisions are generally respected, and the media are generally free to criticize the government. Government and societal tolerance for freedom of religion is well established. Traditional and customary laws severely restrict the rights of women.

Lesotho has one of the highest rates of HIV-AIDS infection in the world, and this has compounded its general poverty. The ongoing Lesotho Highlands Water Project, launched in 1986 with the aid of multilateral and bilateral loans, has greatly boosted the country’s export of water and electricity to South Africa. It has also resulted in bribery scandals implicating local officials as well as German and British companies.

Transformation Resource Centre (TRC)
Tel. +266-2231-4463

Justice and Peace
Tel: +266 2231-2751

Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA)
Tel: +266 22313123/22310361


We haven't made any publications about this country or territory.

News and updates

No posts match your query.

Active programmes

No active programme page is currently available for this country or territory.

Past programmes

We haven't organized any programmes in this country or territory.

Subscribe to receive updates about this country

Minority based and advocacy organisations

Sources and further reading