The civil rights organisation AfriForum and the Basotho Lead-Petitioners (BLP) discussed the restoration of friendly relations between Afrikaners and the Basotho at a meeting in Hlotse, Lesotho on 17 January 2020. A decision was made to draft a memorandum of understanding to establish a framework for recognition and future cooperation.
“We came to the conclusion that we do not have to start from scratch, we need only restore the friendly relations that existed in the past. The Basotho gave lodging to the Afrikaners that fled to Lesotho during the Anglo Boer War,” says Mpho Serobanyane, National Coordinator of the BLP.
“There is no need to start a new friendship between the Basotho and Afrikaners, as the great King Moshoeshoe I accepted the Afrikaners and treated them as his own sons,” says Morena Fetohang Letsoela, a historian and descendant of one of the military leaders of King Moshoeshoe I.
“AfriForum believes that communities have the choice to cooperate on matters where agreement exists. It is a choice not to get stuck at points of disagreement. Mutual recognition and respect is crucial for the peaceful co-existence of all communities in Southern Africa,” says Barend Uys, Spokesperson for Intercultural Cooperation at AfriForum.
Although the period of 1858–1868 was a time of tense relationships between the Basotho and the Afrikaners of the Free Sate, the relationships improved over time. Afrikaners in the Free State assisted the Basotho that fled Lesotho during the time of the Basotho Civil War of 1880–1881.
“I am overwhelmed by this initiative of AfriForum and the BLP,” says Morena Khetisa Tau.