Saturday, July 16, 2011


Sunday we went to the Maseru Club for the blanket festival. Since Teddy napped from 10-1, we missed most of it, along with the Hash run for the day, and most of a BBQ (braai). Still the festival was a nice introduction to the local crafts.

The Besotho people are known for their textiles. They make lovely wool blankets and wall hangings. The pieces at the festival were expensive, but I am seriously thinking about getting a couple of the wall hangings to keep this cinderblock/cement house warm.

The blankets have intricate designs that all have specific meanings. Each year a new design is introduced in honor the King's birthday. His birthday is this coming Sunday, July 17th. The people here all wear a blanket, year round we are told. This blanket is wrapped around their shoulders in the evening to keep them warm, and around the waist during the day so that it is not lost. Women carry their children on their backs, tucked into the blanket. I don't know the culture well enough to know if each person has a specific blanket designating family or signifying an important event, or if average blanket has no meaning to the wearer.

Festivals here are like in the US. A stage for music, a tent for food, and sponsored by Coke.

We did pick up a couple of blankets as gifts, along with a water color. It will be very hard to not spend all of our money at the beginning of our tour here. The textiles are beautiful and the people are in real need of income.

One little girl asked if she could touch Teddy's hair. He said no, but I allowed her to touch mine. She had fun playing with it and Ted was mesmerized. A friend had warned us that this might happen, especially with Ted's straight, blonde hair. If not for that warning, I would have been really surprised by the request. Teddy was certainly surprised, but I think he might be more willing to participate next time.

1 comment:

Denise said...

It looks exactly like the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall.