Sunday, 27 January 2013

Basutoland to Lesotho - Sunday Stamps

For several weeks I had seen a set of stamps from Basutoland on my favourite market stall. I had heard of Basutoland before but would have to confess that the only thing I knew about it was that in was in southern Africa.

This week I decided that I would show some stamps from there. However the ones that had caught my attention had been sold and I had to be satisfied with these.

Basutoland/ Lesotho
Except for the one Rand stamp the others were four of the previous set I'd seen. But now they were all overprinted Lesotho.

I have since found out that Basutoland became a  British Crown Colony, or Protectorate at the request of the Chief of the Basotho in the 1880s. It became the Kingdom of Lesotho on independence from Britain on 4th October 1966. In the November Basutoland stamps were all overprinted with Lesotho. These stamps have seen many changes with their original denominations in shillings/pence before being overstamped in cents, then cents/Rand and now Lesotho. Lesotho is a landlocked kingdom surrounded by South Africa.

The frustrating thing about the Lesotho overprinting is that it obscures information about the stamp. I have since found out that;
  • 1c stamp shows the Orange River
  • 5c - a Herd boy with lesiba
  • 12.1/2c - an aeroplane flying over Lancers' Gap
  • 50c - Mission House Cave
  • R1 - shearing angora goats
For those of you who don't know - I didn't: the lesiba is a stringed-wind instrument, with a quill attached to a long string acting as the main source of vibration. The quill is blown across, creating vibration in the string, usually in short notes on a small, limited scale. The lesiba's construction is unique, in that it is the only instrument in use today that is a stringed wind instrument. The lesiba is the national instrument of the Basotho. (ex wikipedia)

In the Gun War, or Basuto War of 1880-1881 the Basotho ambushed a mounted column of British Army Lancers at Qalabi, the present day Lancers' Gap.

I also picked up this colourful set of stamps which so far I have been unable to date.

Lesotho - Youth & Development

As a result of this exercise I may  now look for stamps from other places that have changed their name. Wish me luck.

Please go over to to see the choices made by others in a week when Viridian allowed us to post what we wished - Sunday-stamps-107.


VioletSky said...

I also have a few stamps from African countries that have changed their name, but none from Basutoland/Lesoto (I just checked) I must have had a fascination with countries as a child since I recognize many of these names, yet if this one changed in 1966, I would have been barely eight years old. I couldn't have said for sure that they were the same place, however.

Helen said...

Interesting, Bob! Sounds like a fun exercise in geography to track down mysterious place names from random stamps.

Joy said...

I always find stamps that show changing political circumstances like these fascinating.
The Youth and Development ones are quite early for Lesotho too - 1974

viridian said...

It was interesting to learn about this special musical instrument. There are so many things I learn via Sunday Stamps. Thank you for joining in this week.

Lisa B said...

I like free theme weeks as it's interesting to see the choices made. I wouldn't have known where Basutoland was or that it was now Lesotho, although I think I have some Lesotho stamps. I'm also amazed at how many wars GB has been in which we just don't hear about or learn about in history at school.

Jo said...

I did know about Basutoland/Lesotho, but couldn't have picked them out on a map. Guess I learned about the independence in school. Interesting stamps, but pity the pictures have been defaced by printing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob ... these are fascinating - particularly with your notes - I learnt so much geography in my stamp collecting days ... as a kid!

Cheers - good to see them ... Hilary

Postcardy said...

There are a lot of African countries that I am unfamiliar with under any name.

Ana said...

didnt know that Lesotho used to be known as Basutoland. Nice stamps..but next time you see something you like on the market stalls, just go for it...usually those things arent there anymore when we actually DECIDE to buy them :)

agi said...

this is a great set - i love learning about former country names via stamps

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

It's a shame you can't see the detail of the first set of stamps a bit better.

I agree with Ana, if you see something in a market, don't wait to make up your mind, if it's affordable, buy it! I'm still kicking myself about something I missed last July, and I only went to look at another stall before returning... Too late!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. Could you tell me where Fylingdales is .. and how you spell it .. and what it is .. It's on the Moors and I thought I'd find it - but can't .. frustrating - because I'm sure I've heard about it ... power or coal or ....????!!!! Many thanks - Hilary

Bob Scotney said...

Try RAF Fylingdales on North Yorkshire Moors use wiki or
RAF Fylingdales - RAF Fylingdales Homepage

RAF Fylingdales is primarily a Ballistic Missile Early Warning Station (BMEWS),
with a secondary duty of detecting, reporting and tracking satellite launches and ...

Cheers, Bob

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Bob .. knew you'd know - and knew I knew .. but Wiki under Fylingdales came up with a big zero!

Adding the RAF did does bring it up - I thought it might be electricity or something .. hence didn't find .. and I think I googled it ..

Suddenly realised you'd know .. it's for my next weather post ..

Blowing a gale and wet down here!! But at least it's not 1963 ...

Cheers and thanks for the help - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Bob .. I knew you'd know - I had checked but couldn't find it ... and knew the name was right or rightish .. but the RAF bit helps and thanks it's there!

I want it for the next weather post ... Many thanks .. Hilary