Maloti a Lesotho

(Lesotho’s Maloti Mountains)


Dual notation (staff & tonic solfa), Staff notation
choir SATB
Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa Critical Edition

When Mohapeloa says in the text of ‘Maloti a Lesotho’ ‘we can see it for miles around’, this is something of an understatement, for at its highest point the Maloti mountain range (known as the Drakensberg on the South African side) is 3,482 metres above sea level. It forms part of a huge elevated area of south-east Africa known as the Great Escarpment and creates the border between Lesotho and three South African provinces: the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and the Free State. Mohapeloa refers to it as the highest point of ‘Machache’, a proper name but perhaps derived from ‘church’ and indeed it was the highest point to which the Christian mission in this part of Africa reached. He may even have been alluding to the fact that Eugene Casalis, the first missionary from the French-Swiss Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, was taken up to the awe-inspiring summit of the Maloti by King Moshoeshoe I himself, in the 1830s. The song was originally published in 1951 and was republished in 1976 and is one of several songs in which Mohapeloa celebrates Lesotho’s natural beauty.