Society of Lesotho



Population per sq km: 70

Life expectancy: 53 years

Net primary enrolment: 80%

Population: 2,135,000 (2015); 26 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.2 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 28 per 1,000 people (43 in 1970); life expectancy 53 years (49 in 1970 and 59 in 1990).

The people are mostly Basotho, with a few thousand expatriate Europeans and several hundred Asians.

Language: Sesotho and English are official languages; Zulu and Xhosa are also spoken.

Religion: Mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 56 per cent, and Lesotho Evangelicals and Anglicans 24 per cent); the rest hold traditional beliefs, which often coexist with Christianity (2006 census).

Media: There are several independent weekly newspapers in English, including the Lesotho Times, Public Eye and Sunday Express, and Makatolle and MoAfrica in Sesotho.

Radio is the most important source of information. Public broadcasters Radio Lesotho and Lesotho Television provide national services. There are several private commercial and faith radio stations. South African radio and TV are received in Lesotho.

Some 13 per cent of households have TV sets (2006).

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Moshoeshoe’s Day (12 March), Workers’ Day (1 May), Africa/Heroes’ Day (25 May), King’s Birthday (17 July), Independence Day (4 October), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday and Ascension Day