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Morija Museum & Archives Books & Publications 

As an institution involved in many research & consultancy projects, Morija Museum & Archives also acts as a publisher to promote relevant research and material on Lesotho history & culture, as well as the Lesotho Evangelical Church and other churches.  MMA also reprints outstanding books about Lesotho that are no longer available, covering the key areas of history, cultural and religious practices, the arts, heritage, etc. For more details, see our publications policy.



1.     D.F. Ellenberger - Catalogue of the Masitise Archives Edited by Beatrice Lasserre & David Ambrose, 175 by 245mm, 72 pages, (1987), Soft cover, ISBN 99911-793-0-5

D.F. Ellenberger, in addition to his missionary labours and extensive historical research, was an avid collector of books and printed materials on Lesotho. This catalogue, which reached its final form in 1907, details his outstanding collection, much of which is now housed at the Morija Museum & Archives. This book is a must for serious students of Lesotho history.

2.    MMA Commission - Morija Museum & Archives, 210 by 200mm, 12 pages (1989), Softcover

Brochure of photographs with explanatory text in English and Sesotho of some of the artefacts from the original Dieterlen collection, which form the basis for the modern collection, first published in Leselinyana newspaper in 1952. 

3.  Thomas Arbousset - Missionary Excursion into the Blue Mountains Edited & translated from the French with an introduction & notes by D. Ambrose & A. Brutsch, 245 by 175mm, 219p, (1991), 14 illustrations, 12 maps & 2 sketch plans, Softcover, ISBN 99911-793-2-1 Out of print – to be made into an e-book.

On this memorable journey in 1840, the missionary Arbousset accompanied Moshoeshoe the Great from Thaba-Bosiu, the then capital of Lesotho, deep into the mountains to the northeast near Mont-aux-Sources, the watershed of Southern Africa. Moshoeshoe nostalgically recalls details from his early life, impresses upon Arbousset his enthusiasm for the missionaries' literacy work which will help to unite his disparate peoples, and participates in a lion hunt after some of the expedition's horses are killed. The editors of this long unpublished manuscript have retraced the route taken by Arbousset and Moshoe-shoe, which route is depicted on detailed maps. Copious notes and explanations are also provided. Written as a travelogue, Arbousset's pleasing style will draw the reader into a world now long transformed by more recent developments. 

4.     Eugene Casalis -The Basutos, or Twenty-Three Years in South Africa Facsimile reprint of the 1861 edition, with an Introductory Essay and Index by Stephen J. Gill, 135 by 200 mm, [45] + xix + 355 pages + [17], (1992, reprinted 1997 and twice since then), 29 illustrations, Hardback, ISBN 99911-793-3-x 

Originally published in English in 1861, The Basutos has been read eagerly by each succeeding generation. Casalis' graceful style and perceptive observations will also be of interest to today's readers. This classic is divided into two main parts: Journeys of Exploration & Missionary Labours, and Customs of the Basotho. Casalis was one of the original French Protestant missionaries who arrived in Lesotho in 1833.  As a close friend and advisor to King Moshoeshoe I, he contributed much to Lesotho’s foreign policy during those crucial years. As a student of local history and culture, he was able to learn a great deal and provides here a wealth of information and insight into the life of the Basotho during the first half of the 19th century. Casalis' book is a must for all persons interested in Lesotho, ideal for schools and libraries. This facsimile reprint includes a new Introductory Essay, which provides a description of the Life & Times of Casalis as well as An Evaluation of His Legacy.  An expanded Index with a glossary will help the reader to locate other interesting information quickly.

5.    Sesotho-English Colouring Book, 210 by 147mm, 24 pages, (1991) Soft cover

6.     Counting is Fun, 210 by 147mm, 24 pages, (1991) Soft cover

Items 5 & 6 were originally published by The Elephant School and given over to Morija Museum to distribute and reprint as necessary.

7.     D.F. Ellenberger & J.C. Macgregor - History of the Basuto: Ancient & Modern, Facsimile reprint of the 1912 edition, with an Introductory Essay, Comprehensive Index and Large Pocket Map of Historical Place Names by Stephen J. Gill, 150 by 220mm, [55] + xxii + 394p + [37 + map], (1992, reprinted 1998 and twice since then), Hardback ISBN 99911-793-4-8 

Originally published in 1912, History of the Basuto re-mains the standard reference work concerning the origin and early history of the Sotho peoples, and the settlement of Lesotho from around the 16th century by a variety of different clans. It depicts the growing influence and legacy of certain chiefs like Mohlomi, the upheaval of the Lifaqane during the period from 1822, and Moshoeshoe’s nation-building efforts until 1833 when the first missionaries arrived. The Customs and Religion of the Basotho, and the career of Sebetoane are explored in appendices, together with copious genealogical tables for various Basotho clans and influential chiefs. Ellenberger's classic work of synthesising the early history of the Basotho is here provided with a comprehensive Index of names, an Introductory Essay and a large Map of Historical Place Names. 

8. David Ambrose - Maseru: An Illustrated History  175 by 250mm, 256p (1993), Over 130 illustrations with 17 maps & plans, Hardback, ISBN 99911-793-5-6


Drawing upon newspaper accounts, photographs, oral history and official sources, David Ambrose has reconstructed the history of Lesotho's capital city.  Ambrose documents early accounts of indigenous Bushman habitation in the vicinity of Maseru, and then proceeds to tell of later Sotho settlements at Ha Tšosane, the Basotho-Boer Wars, and the official founding of Maseru by the British in 1869.  

Through numerous old photographs, the reader is able to enter into the life of the small colonial capital at various points during the past 150 years until finally, after Independence in 1966, Maseru bursts its seams.  Aerial photographs from 1961 and 1988 attest to this startling transformation as Maseru grew from 15 000 in-habitants to its present population of well over 300 000.  

This finely conceived book will be of interest, not only to historians, but also to town and regional planners, sociologists, students of urbanisation and to all who have visited Maseru, the "city of yellow sandstone". 

9.     S.J. Gill - A Short History of Lesotho Over 80 illustrations & maps, 147 by 210mm, xvi + 266p, (1993, reprinted 1997 and 5 times since then), Soft cover  ISBN 99911-793-6-4

The most useful single work presently available on Lesotho. This survey synthesises much of the best research of the past 30 years in a readable style with numerous appropriate illustrations. It provides a com-prehensive overview of the history of the Sotho from earliest times until the 1993 elections set within the larger context of Southern Africa. Useful for high schools and universities as well as the general public.

10.     Robin Wells - An Introduction to the Music of the Basotho Over 60 musical examples, 222 by 152mm, vii + 338 pages, (1994), Soft-cover  ISBN 99911-793-7-2, Out of print – to be made into an e-book.

First comprehensive study of the various types of Sesotho music, including mohobelo and mokhibo, work songs, children's songs, and various traditional musical instruments.  The transformations brought about by churches and schools, Nguni healing rituals, migrant labour, and imported instruments like the accordion are thoroughly examined.  Includes numerous examples of musical styles in western notation with transcriptions in Sesotho and English translations. This compelling study of cultural continuity and change in Southern Africa will be of interest not only to ethno-musicologists but also to historians, anthropologists and general readers who want a deeper understanding of Sesotho culture.

11.     S.J. Gill - A Guide to Morija 148mm by 210mm, 36 pages, (1995), 23 illustrations and 2 maps, Soft cover, ISBN 99911-793-8-0 

Morija is Lesotho's oldest mission station, founded in 1833 by French Protestant missionaries at the invitation of Moshoeshoe the Great. It has remained a centre of learning and is an important tourist destination. The Guide includes an Overview of the History of Morija, a Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Morija, and Hiking Trails to the nearby Mountain Lakes, Dinosaur Footprints, and Makhoarane Plateau. Information on indigenous trees and birds is included as well as a brief section on the geology of the region, and a short bibliography. Nicely illustrated with appropriate maps.  

12.     R. Fitter & M. Masoabi - My Fun Book of Lesotho  210 by 295mm, 72 pages, (1996, and reprinted twice since then)

A popular workbook for children with numerous games and puzzles, full of useful information and illustrations on many topics regarding Lesotho, her people, traditions, geography and natural environment.

13.     E.W. Smith - The Mabilles of Basutoland, Facsimile reprint of 1939 edition (1996), 130 by 195mm, vi + 382 pages, Hardcover, ISBN 99911-793-9-9 

Well written biography of the Mabilles, an eminent missionary family which helped to shape the history of the Protestant church and the nation during the latter half of the 19th century. Mabille was instrumental in establishing Leselinyana newspaper, Morija Printing Works, Morija Sesuto Book Depot, the Normal School (Thabeng), and the Bible School. Includes a good deal of useful information regarding the growth and development of Lesotho during the 19th century. 

14.     Martin Lelimo - The Question of Lesotho's Conquered Territory: It's Time for an Answer  148 by 210mm, x + 211, Paperback, ISBN 99911-632-0-4, (1998, reprinted 2000) Out of print

Detailed research concerning the treaties entered into by Lesotho and the British from 1843 till 1869 and the geo-political issues which led to the loss of over half of Lesotho's arable land to the Orange Free State with the blessing of the British.  Places the historical injustice of this period squarely on the political agenda.

15.     Peter Sanders - The Last of the Queen’s Men: A Lesotho Experience 148 by 218mm, 175 pages, Paperback, ISBN 1 86814 353 8 (2000)     (Published jointly with Wits University Press) Out of print - to be made into an e-book.

More commonly known in his role as biographer of Moshoeshoe the Great and researcher into the praise poetry of the Basotho, Peter Sanders was also one of the last British colonial officials in Lesotho and oversaw the national elections in 1965 which preceded Independence.  With wit and an elegant style, Sanders takes us through his committed involvement of 40 years with Lesotho and her people.

16.     Prof. J.M. Mohapeloa - Tentative British Imperialism in Lesotho, 1884–1910,  160 by 215mm, xx + 437p, (2002)  Out of print – to be made into an e-book.

Well written and researched study of Britain’s tentative overlordship in Lesotho and South Africa’s influence thereon. Explores regional policies and the impact of Union in 1910, the role of the chieftainship and missions, the rise of a literate elite, and the rapidly changing social and economic conditions of Lesotho during that era. Insightful comparisons are made from other parts of Africa.

17.     T. Makoa and A.L. Zwilling - Shepherd Boy of the Maloti, 148 by 210mm, 160 pages (2005, reprinted twice since then), Soft cover with illustrations, ISBN 99911- 632-3-9

This fascinating true life story of a shepherd boy reveals many of his daily trials and tribulations as he grows up and overcomes numerous challenges. It is told simply in his own language and style. A delightful read, one that will help readers young and old to enter into the joys and sorrows of the thousands of boys and young men who look after Lesotho’s multitudes of cattle, sheep and goats, one of the mainstays of the local economy. Shepherd Boy also exists in French translation, Berger sur le toit de l’Afrique, and this is available.

18.     Stephen Gill, - The Story of Morija Museum & Archives: Pioneers in Heritage Management & Education in Lesotho, 148 by 210mm, 108 pages (2005), Soft cover with many black & white as well as colour illustrations, ISBN 99911-632-2-0

Gives a broader overview of culture, that is, the context or setting in which the heritage work of museums and archives is carried out. The Story of Morija Museum & Archives gives detailed coverage of the rich history, forces and personalities that gave birth to Lesotho’s leading cultural and heritage institution, and charts its development over the past 50 years. Well illustrated.

19.     Patrick Duncan - Sotho Laws & Customs, 155 by 220mm, viii + 169 pages (2006, facsimile reprint of 1960 edition, reprinted 2009), Hardback, ISBN 99911-794-0-2

This classic text describes a good number of indigenous laws and customs of Basotho and their evolution over time. Duncan suggested that the evolution of these indigenous customs would eventually impact upon the larger evolution of South Africa – legal, cultural and social – once white domination was eschewed in favour of a more inclusive society which gives due regard to the culture of the majority of its other citizens.   

20.     Vernon B. Palmer - The Roman-Dutch and Sesotho Law of Delict, 148 by 210mm, 210 pages (2008, facsimile of 1970 ed.), Soft cover, ISBN 99911-632-4-7

Text for law students, lawyers and magistrates which compares and contrasts the two legal traditions used in Lesotho with regard to Delict – an intentional or negligent act which gives rise to a legal obligation between parties even though there has been no contract between them. Delict deals with the righting of legal wrongs in civil law, on the principle of liability for loss caused by failure in one’s duty, whether deliberate or accidental. Palmer seeks to demonstrate that the two systems of law – though different – are cross-fertilising and that eventually a single system may emerge.

21.     Craig W. Hincks - Quest for Peace, An Ecumenical History of the Church in Lesotho, 180 by 252mm, xx + 1084 pages [published by Heads of Churches & Christian Council of Lesotho 2009; Morija Museum is the Marketing Agent], Hardcover, ISBN 978-999-110-8018

The best researched and only detailed historical over-view that brings all of Lesotho’s Christian traditions together under one cover. Hincks has ably set the history and development of various Christian denominations within the larger cultural, historical and political context of Lesotho (and the region), and looks at a variety of social, spiritual, theological and pastoral issues facing the modern Christian. Excellent illustrations, tables, and appendices add to the text. A must for any serious student of Lesotho’s history, as well as for any serious pastor, elder or lay person. This massive resource is priced far below its value to make it more accessible to all who need it.

22.     Mekolokotoane Kerekeng ea Evangeli Lesotho/ Jubilee Highlights 1833-2008, ed. S.J. Gill, 155 by 220mm, xx + 380 pages (2009), Hardcover, ISBN 978-999-11-794-1-4

Essays, poems and short writings by over 25 authors, celebrating the 175th Jubilee of the Lesotho Evangelical Church. Arranged into 8 sections with introductory materials, this volume (60%in English, 40% in Sesotho) provides unique views and insights, allowing readers to explore the establishment of the Protestant church, its evolution, legacy and modern challenges through different voices and perspectives. Well illustrated.

23.    Morija Museum & Archives: Strategic Plan 2010-2015, 297 by 210mm, 52 pages (2010), Soft cover, ISBN978-99911-632-6-0

Includes Vision, Mission and Value Statements; Over-view with colour as well as Black & white illustrations and maps of the history and work of MMA, the Strategic Plan divided into 9 Programmatic Areas, Organisational Chart, Staff Members, and Phase II Expansion Project.

24.     Peter Sanders  - ‘Throwing Down White Man’, Cape Rule and Misrule in Colonial Lesotho, 1871-1884, 173 by 258mm, 320 + 16 pages (2011), Soft cover, ISBN 978-99911-632-5-3

Meticulously researched, this volume provides the best narrative yet regarding the ‘Moorosi Rebellion’ in the south of Lesotho and the Gun War, both of which were precipitated by the clash between chiefly authority in Lesotho and the Cape, whose persistent and sometimes unwise interference in Lesotho’s affairs finally led to open and widespread rebellion. Lesotho was then returned to Great Britain and a new course of action towards chiefly rule was adopted. 

25.     Fleur Rorke - The Call: A true story of love and courage 148 by 210mm, 376 pages + 8 pp illustrations (2012), soft cover, ISBN 978-99911-632-7-7

Set during the latter half of the 19th century at Thabana-Morena and Siloe in southern Lesotho, this story of the missionary legacy is brave, honest and beautifully written. Based upon the diary of her grandmother, Fleur Rorke paints an imaginative and compelling portrait of her ancestors, the Germond family, warts and all. With an extremely pleasing style, this story of the human condition should be of wide interest.

26.    Thomas Mofolo - Pitseng: The Search for True Love, English translation by Daniel Kunene of Mofolo’s classic novel Pitseng, 216 pages, (2013) soft cover, ISBN 978-99911-632-8-4

Daniel Kunene, a professor of African language and literature, has added to the legacy of Lesotho’s greatest writer, Thomas Mofolo, by making his 2nd novel, Pitseng, available in English translation. Exploring themes of love and courtship over a century ago, Mofolo seeks to set a new way forward as he wrestles with various contrasting traditions and modernity.

27.    Stephen Gill – Museums Lesotho: Building Upon the Legacy, 148 by 210mm, 100 pages (2015), soft cover, ISBN 978-9-99-116329-1

After tracing the history of the ‘museum’ as an institution, and defining the attributes of a ‘good’ museum, the author goes on to provide a detailed historical overview of efforts – both public and private – to  preserve and present the heritage of Basotho/Lesotho through museums from the 19th century until today. He concludes by advocating that the Lesotho National Museum should not be seen as a centralised institution in Maseru so much as a network of public and private heritage institutions which will collectively take responsibility for managing Lesotho’s rich and varied cultural and natural heritage.  

28.    Patrick Rorke – Art in Motion (Teacher’s Guide), 101 pages (2020), ISBN 978-99911-794-3-7  

29.    Patrick Rorke – Art in Motion (Student Text), 72 pages (2020), ISBN 978-99911-56-00-2  

Art in Motion is a unique contribution to art in Lesotho. Different types of art techniques are featured in this book. The book will be a guide and inspiration for everyone who loves art.

"Patrick has been my teacher for four years and from the beginning, he almost literally pulled me into the world of art. Often we talked about the dream that people, especially the young ones, in Lesotho would be able to have that same experience. With this book, the dream is materialising because it will certainly bring sparkles of inspiration. And that is the start..'' - Marlies Biekmann

"Treasure in imagination and creativity is beyond compare, and in the art that is revealed. The emotions, artistry and innovation are the driving force behind the artists. Let Lesotho visualize this and keep the fire burning". - Ntate Nthoesele Mohlomi, National Curriculum Development Centre

"For the past two years, I used the book 'Art in motion' to teach grades 5 and 6 learners Art. This book is amazing down to the last page. The text has visual representation and the book has a simple and straightforward writing style. Without a reasonable doubt, this book has the potential to take Art to another level in Lesotho". -Ntate Ruthe Lekonyana, Morija Primary School

30.    John Aerni-Flessner – Dreams for Lesotho: Independence, Foreign Assistance, and Development, xiii + 291 pages (2020), ISBN 978-99911-56-01-9  

"Over the years Lesotho has received hundreds of millions of dollars in development assistance: yet it remains one of the world's poorest countries. Drawing on extensive interviews and new documentary sources, John Aerni-Flessner's Dreams for Lesotho critically examines the development process at all levels, including how ordinary Basotho perceived and assisted in shaping development efforts at the grassroots level. This is a must-read for anyone interested in development anywhere in the world." -ROBERT EDGAR, HOWARD UNIVERSITY

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