Monday, April 30, 2007


Maseru Capital City of Lesotho

The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, a land locked country, entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. Formerly Basutoland, the name Lesotho roughly translates into “the land of the people who speak Sotho.”


Village near Mokhotlong, Lesotho

Several clans and chiefdoms of southern Sotho people occupied the area which is presently the Northern and Eastern Free States, and Western Lesotho from about 1400 AD. In the early 19th century Basuto Chief Moshoeshoe united tribes in this mountainous land surrounded by South Africa. To establish a buffer against Boer expansion, he asked the British to administer the kingdom. Lesotho became independent in 1966, and in 1993 became a constitutional monarchy. Lesotho's current head of state is King Letsie III.

King Letsie III was reinstated as King of Lesotho on 7th February, 1996. Born in 1963, King Letsie III went to school in Lesotho, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree from the University of Lesotho in 1984 and a Diploma in English Legal studies from the University of Bristol UK. King Letsie then went on to spend one year at Cambridge University, pursuing Development Studies, whilst at the same time studying Agricultural Economics at Wyre University, also in England. In his leisure time, King Letsie spends most of his time in the country side tending to his cattle and engaging himself in other agricultural activities. When he is not farming, he spends his time horse riding, playing squash, tennis, rugby, and listening to music.

King Letsie III and Her Majesty Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso. Their Majesties have been blessed with two daughters; seen here is Princess Senate Mohato Seeiso. Another daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess 'M'aSeeiso, was born on 20 November, 2004.

The Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili is Head of Government, and has executive authority. The King serves a largely ceremonial function; he no longer possesses any executive authority and is proscribed from actively participating in political initiatives.


Due to its altitude, Lesotho remains cooler throughout the year than other regions at the same latitude. Most of the rain falls as summer thunderstorms. Temperatures in Maseru, and surrounding lowlands, often reach 30°C (86°F) in the summer. Winters can be cold, with the lowlands getting down to -7°C (19°F)and the highlands to -18°C (0°F).

Photos by The Transformation Resource Center

Snow is common in the deserts and low valleys between May and September; the higher peaks can experience snowfalls year-round.


Lesotho’s economy is based on exports of water and electricity( both being sold to South Africa), manufacturing, agriculture, livestock, and, to some extent, the earnings of laborers employed in South Africa.

A model displays the biggest diamond to be found in 13 years, the "Lesotho Promise," which was sold at an auction for more than $12 million, and is expected to fetch in excess of $20 million, once it is cut up. The 603-carat (120 gram) diamond, named after the tiny African mountain kingdom where it was found, went under the hammer at the Antwerp Diamond Centre, and was sold to the South African Diamond Corporation, owner of luxury jewelers Graff.

Lesotho also exports diamonds, wool, mohair, clothing, and footwear. One of Levi's jeans manufacturing facilities is located in Lesotho.

Yearning Mohair

Mohair used to make tapestry
Photos by The Transformation Resource Center

Lesotho is not only geographically surrounded by South Africa, it is also economically integrated with it as well. The majority of households subsist on farming or migrant labor, primarily miners who remain in South Africa for 3 to 9 months. The western lowlands of Lesotho form the main agricultural zone. Almost 50% of the population earns some income through crop cultivation or animal husbandry, with over half the country’s income coming from the agricultural sector.


With a shortage of trained personnel and medical supplies, Lesotho is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS. According to recent estimates, the country's rate of infection is about 29%, one of the highest in the world. The United Nations projects that this will rise to 36% within fifteen years, resulting in a sharp drop in life expectancy. According to the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics, life expectancy in 2001 was estimated at forty-eight years for men, and fifty-six for women. Recent statistics estimate life expectancy at about 35 years. Many children have lost parents. Traditionally lavish funerals leave survivors with economic burdens.

An estimated 85% of the population age 15 and over are literate, according to recent estimates. As such, Lesotho boasts one of the higher literacy rates in Africa. Although education is not compulsory, the Government of Lesotho is incrementally implementing a program for free primary education. It was expected that the program would be fully in place by 2006.

Girls dancing at an initiation ceremony
Photos by The Transformation Resource Center

Popular descriptions of this rugged country, with its majestic beauty and serene simplicity, are “Mountain Kingdom” and “Kingdom in the Sky”. Lesotho offers a very different tourist experience through its natural beauty, rich flora and fauna, and absorbing prehistoric and cultural heritage. The appeal of this extraordinary country is rarely found in more commercialized destinations.

Mountains, valleys, and rivers provide memorable scenery for tourists. This is where Lesotho gets its crystal clear water as well as green pastures for livestock. Minerals, such as diamond, are found in these mountains. Indeed, Lesotho is the Kingdom in the Sky; the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

The Lesotho Government Portal


Ozwald Boateng is widely credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. In 1994 Ozwald became the first Savile Row tailor to show at the renowned International Menswear Collections, in Paris. In 2003 he was appointed Creative Director of Menswear at Givenchy, further securing his dominant position on the world fashion stage. Boateng's many clients include Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Keanu Reeves, and Mick Jagger. The 6-foot-4-inch Ozwald Boeteng is slim and bald, with a striking presence. Born in Ghana in the late 1960s and brought up in north London, Boateng studied computing before dropping out to pursue fashion.

While studying computing at Southwark College, he was introduced to cutting and designing clothes by his girlfriend at the time. Using his mother's old sewing machine, he started designing and selling clothes to his fellow students. At sixteen he sold his first collection to a menswear shop in Covent Garden, and by the time he was twenty-three, he had set himself up full time in business.

Boateng’s attention to detail and finish are most clearly demonstrated in his superb bespoke tailoring, for which he developed a stellar clientele. Today Ozwald Boateng’s distinguished and award winning designs are sold and celebrated internationally, and his unique approach to cut, colour, and detail has created a new look for men that is stylish and beautiful.

Boateng sees himself as more than a tailor, and more than a designer, so he coined the term 'Bespoke Couture' designing elegant clothing for men with distinctive and discriminating, edgy fashion tastes.

Ozwald with Wife Guynel

Ozwald with daughter Amelia

Boateng lives with his wife and two children in central London, and was recently named one of the 100 Great Black Britons by The Voice and the Greater London Authority. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2006 Queen's New Year's Honours.

Ozwald Boateng has been potrayed as fashion designer who personifies the courage needed to believe in oneself even in the most trying of times. With hardwork and perservearance Boateng constantly strives to realize his ambitious goals. Ozwald embodies the strength of human conviction and most importantly an uncompromising belief in himself and an unshakeable determination.


"My view on what you should and shouldn’t wear is quite varied. You can get away with a bright coloured shirt and still look formal, provided the tie and the shirt work together and the shirt has a double cuff.

"The worst mistake you can make is wearing an ill-fitting suit. If you do it just looks rectangular.

"Soft collared shirts (collars without bones) are also a no-no, as are trousers with turn-ups.

"They break the line of the trouser and draw unnecessary attention to the trouser hem.

"It is always nice to see a bit of the shirt cuff from under the jacket and show that you are a true gentleman.

"If you want that Gentleman’s appearance you’ll need a well pressed shirt.

"With a shirt it’s all about the quality.

"A change of cufflinks can be used to easily change your look and say something different about your personality."

"And don't forget to always polish your shoes."

More Information
Ozwald Boateng Main Website

Friday, April 27, 2007


"His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular."

Idi Awo-Ongo Angoo, a.k.a. Idi Amin Dada, was born on May 17, 1928, at about 4.00 a.m., to proud parents, Andreas Nyabire Amin Dada and Assa Aatte, in the police barracks in Kampala (what is now the International Conference Centre). Idi Amin’s parents separated in 1931, following suspicions that Idi Amin had been fathered by one Daudi Chwa, rather than by Andreas Nyabire Amin Dada. He grew up with his maternal family. After moving to the home of Sheikh Ahmed Hussein, in the present Semuto town, (where he lived from 1938 to 1940) Amin started reciting the Koran. Amin received little formal education when he was growing up; he tried to register to an elementary school, but Nubians were not admitted. At the age of twelve, Amin participated in the Nubian riots against discrimination. In 1941 Amin joined Garaya Islamic school at Bombo, and again excelled in reciting the Koran under Mohammed Al Rajab, from 1941 –1944.

In 1946 he joined the King’s African Rifles, KAR (Britain’s colonial African troops), and served in Burma, Somalia, Kenya (during the British suppression of the Mau Mau) and Uganda. Although he was considered a skilled, if somewhat overeager, soldier, Amin developed a reputation for cruelty. In 1952 his battalion was deployed against the Mau Mau, in Kenya. Amin attained the rank of corporal that same year. In 1953 he became a sergeant for his role in starting the mobile foot patrols in the forests occupied by the Mau Mau. While fighting them, it is alleged that Amin had a son and a daughter with two local Kikuyu women.

Idi Amin rose through the ranks, reaching sergeant-major before finally being made an effendi, the highest rank possible for a Black African serving in the British army. He was also an accomplished sportsman, holding Uganda’s light heavyweight boxing championship from 1951 to 1960.

Amin waves to thousands of Ugandans gathered at a ceremony in Kampala in 1971.

Idi Amin Dada came to political power on January 25, 1971. Whilst the then president, Milton Obote, attended a Commonwealth meeting in Singapore, Amin led a coup d'etat, and took control of the country, declaring himself president. He was eventually responsible for the torture and murder of approximately 300,000 people. Amin personally ordered the execution of the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwum, the chief justice, the chancellor of Makerere College, governor of the Bank of Uganda, and several of his own parliamentary ministers.

Idi Amin called himself "a pure son of Africa," but his bizarre and murderous eight years as president of Uganda typified the worst of the continent's military dictatorships. Popular legend has Amin involved in Kakwa blood rituals and cannibalism.

Also in 1972, Amin declared “economic war” on Uganda’s Asian population - they dominated Uganda’s trade and manufacturing sectors, as well as forming a significant proportion of the civil service. Seventy thousand Asian holders of British passports were given three months to leave the country - the abandoned businesses were handed over to Amin’s supporters. Amin severed diplomatic ties with Britain and ‘nationalised’ 85 British owned businesses. He also expelled Israeli military advisors, turning instead to Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Gadhafi, of Libya, and the Soviet Union for support.

Mr. Amin is carried by four British businessmen during a party for diplomats in 1975. A Swedish businessman holds an umbrella in the manner of servants who once shielded tribal rulers from the sun.

In October 1978, with the assistance of Libyan troops, Amin attempted to annex Kagera, the northern province of Tanzania (which shares a border with Uganda). The Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere, responded by sending troops into Uganda, and, with the aid of rebel Ugandan forces, the Ugandan capital of Kampala was captured. Amin fled to Libya, where he stayed for several years. After a fallout with Ghadafi, Amin relocated to Saudi Arabia, where he was to remain in exile.

Madina, Amin's fourth wife was a dancer when he met her. Madina pleaded, with no success, to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni that Amin be allowed to return and die in his native Uganda.

On 16 August, 2003 Idi Amin Dada died in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The cause of death was reported to be ‘multiple organ failure’. Although the Ugandan government announced that his body could be buried in Uganda, he was quickly buried in Saudi Arabia. He was never tried for gross abuse of human rights.

“Dad is the only person that has ever been accused and sentenced, incarcerated by opinion, without it ever reaching any court house,” said Jaffar Amin. Jaffar is the 10th of Idi Amin’s 40 official children, by seven official wives. “Father had quite an appetite for women...It’s very African, actually.”Jaffar Amin has broken the family's vow of silence, and is writing a book to counter his father's reputation as a brutal buffoon and cruel eccentric, following the release of the Oscar winning film The Last King of Scotland.

The Last King of Scotland is an Idi Amin biopic worth watching.


Big Daddy and his women By Richard M. Kavuma “The story of Amin and his women is one that turns bizarre, comic and brutal.” Click here
Rejected then taken in by dad; a timeline By Fred Guweddeko Click here
Idi Amin Dada: A Hero in Ugandan Sports? Click here

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Jacobs Ladder Saint Helena

Saint Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world, and is where the famous Napoleon was exiled (for the second time). The island is so small that it can be seen, in its entirety, in one day. Saint Helena was discovered by Portuguese navigator, Joao dã Nova, who landed at the site of what is now Jamestown on 21 May 1502. The island soon became a haven for merchant ships plying their trade because of its plentiful supply of fresh water, fruit and goats.
Named after St. Helena of Constantinople, the island is of volcanic origin, and is a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. The territory consists of the island of Saint Helena, as well as the dependencies of Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.

Blue Hill Grazing land

Saint Helena has a small population of several thousand inhabitants (CIA Fact book reports the population to be at an estimated 7,543 as of July 2007), descended mainly from peoples of the British Isles, Scandinavia and Western and Southern Africa. In recent decades, many have migrated to the Falkland Islands and the United Kingdom. The life expectancy for men is 75 years and for women an astounding 81 years.

St Helena’s economy is very weak, and the island is almost entirely sustained by aid from London. The territory has few natural resources. Agriculture, the sale of fishing licenses and tourism are the main economic activities. A fish freezing facility has been set up on St Helena. About 1700 St Helenians work offshore, mainly in Ascension, the Falklands and the UK. The St Helena Pound is on par with the British sterling pound.

Napoleon's Tomb

Saint Helena's tourist industry is based heavily on the promotion of Napoleon’s imprisonment. A golf course also exists and the possibility for sport fishing tourism is great. The island produces what is said to be the most expensive coffee in the world; it also produces and exports Tungi Spirit, made from the fruit of the prickly or cactus pears, Opuntia vulgaris. Tungi is the local St Helenian name for the prickly, or cactus, pear.


St Helena Governor's Residence

Executive authority in Saint Helena is invested in Queen Elizabeth II, and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of Saint Helena. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British Government. Defense and Foreign Affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom.


An interesting depiction of history by an artist upon the arrival of a vanquished and exiled Napoleon to St Helena -"The Natives of Saint Helena Island Flee Before Their New Sovereign/Napoleons Triumphal Arrival in his New Kingdom" More click here

Over the years the island has had many famous visitors such as Edmund Halley (1677), William Dampier, the navigator and explorer who visited the island in 1691, Captain Cook (1775), and Charles Darwin, who stopped on his homeward bound journey in 1836. Other famous residents on the island include Napoleon Bonaparte - exiled to the island in 1815 - and South African Zulu Chief Dinizulu, son of Cetewayo, who was exiled to St Helena in 1890, and who remained there for several years.

Longwood House, Napoleon's Home while in exile on the island. It was on St Helena that Napoleon Bonaparte died.


St Helena has no airport; the only way to travel to and from the island is by ship.

There is no airport in St Helena, and there is only one ship. The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena, which is owned by St Helena Line, is managed on its behalf by Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd. The islanders voted in January and February 2002 to pursue air access to the island. Earlier this year, UK Department for International Development DFID announced that, subject to satisfactory contract bids and a rigorous environmental impact assessment, air access will be established for St Helena by the time RMS St Helena is withdrawn from scheduled service in or around 2010.

Royal Mail Ship St Helena, a cargo and passenger vessel with a passenger capacity of 128 people, offers a scheduled service between St Helena, Ascension, Walvis Bay and Cape Town.

The Plantation House, one of the famous tourist sites in St Helena

There are currently only three hotels on St Helena, two of which are situated in Jamestown; the other is in a country location. They are: The Consulate Hotel, Wellington House Hotel, and Farm Lodge Country House Hotel. However, several bed and breakfast facilities are available across the island.

The only transport on St Helena is by road; about 110 km of surfaced road exist on the island. Steep gradients and hairpin bends are common. There is now a public transport system, and taxi services are available. St Helena has 2388 vehicles registered, of which 150 are public service vehicles, 97 commercial , 221 Government , and 1920 privately owned . A limited number of hire-drive cars are available, and a small number of boats powered by inboard or outboard motor are also available for hire or for fishing trips.

Mountain View

To the world, Saint Helena extends a warm welcome to a unique destination filled with history, steeped in tradition, and full of natural wonders. Set in the tropical South Atlantic, the island of St Helena offers a rare and un-spoilt tourist attraction for those intrepid travelers - something hard to find in today’s rushed and fast-changing world.

Saint Helena The Official Government Website Click here
Saint Helena Tourist Office Website
Click here
South Atlantic Remote Territories Media Association SARTMA.COM Click Here