Can Archaeology achieve Social Justice?
med on top of the mountain led to the establishment of the Basotho nation as we know it today.
Until now, archaeological research has focused on early periods, from about 60 000 years ago; but nothing so far has looked at what material culture tells us about how our nation formed. Archaeology in itself is quite a foreign discipline in Lesotho. But as the fear of people who are different from us grows together with ongoing xenophobic attacks in our neighbouring country, I thought it was important to highlight how we have more in common than sets us apart. Our country may seem homogenous today but the archaeology and material culture that we are finding shows us that diverse groups formed this population. At the archaeological site we excavated, we found evidence from three time periods – the Hunter-Gatherer communities, the Nguni ‘Bafokeng’ communities, and the Basotho communities who continue today to be custodians of this site. Mixed in with that is evidence of trade with and the presence of European communities, which dates back to early 1800’s and hails from possible trade that took place along the Mozambican coast.
I hope my PhD will shine a light on a missing part of history and expand ideas about sources of knowledge beyond the written record and word of mouth. The material evidence so far has corroborated with historical accounts but also reveals things that we have been hitherto unaware of.
Someone once said, it’s difficult to move on into the future if you do not know your past. We are planning on establishing a full running programme in Archaeology at the University of Lesotho. The programme will have a first degree and an Honours degree.
We are also trying to eventually introduce heritage studies at primary and high school level. My third and a fourth year students have formed an association where they go to schools to raise awareness about archaeology and heritage-related studies and encourage understanding of history and how it can be studied as a material culture.”