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The Mohlomi Memorial Lecture Series

The Friends of Morija Museum & Archives hold the annual Mohlomi Memorial Lecture in order to remember and honour Mohlomi mor’a Monyane and his wisdom, and to celebrate the success his teachings had in turning the first King of Lesotho, King Moshoeshoe into a nation-builder and an eminent statesman.


About the Lecture

The Mohlomi Memorial Lecture is held once a year, at a time to be agreed by the Friends of Morija Museum and its sponsors. The first lecture (2008) focused on the Life and Legacy of Morena Mohlomi, but subsequent lectures will deal with any topic involving past or present issues that may be of interest or value to Lesotho, Basotho and the wider world. The Mohlomi Memorial Lecture, in like manner to that of its patron saint, intends to encourage and elicit a spirit of broader understanding, of honest inquiry and a generous heart, of healing, and where possible, practical applications of his ‘counter-intuitive’ logic.

About Morena Mohlomi

Mohlomi was born around 1720 in what is now the eastern Free State at Fothane (near present-day Fouriesburg). He was the second son of Monyane by his first wife, an offspring of one of the senior lineages of the Bakoena clan. He came to be known as Mohlomi mor’a Monyane, or Mohlomi’a Matsie.

As a doctor, traveller and wise man, or sage, Mohlomi travelled widely in southern Africa, curing people afflicted by various diseases, including leprosy, and gave counsel to the rulers of places he visited. Central to his practice and counsel was curing individuals physiologically as well as in their thinking, and building communities based upon peace and justice.

This benevolent and often unassuming leader, who greatly enjoyed the company of children, shunned the kind of advice that was associated with many who called themselves doctors in those days; that is, advice that incited division, hatred, killing and revenge against others, often close relatives and neighbours. These kinds of advice he saw as cultivating evil in individuals, causing the weakening and even disintegration of communities.

Mohlomi looked down upon the kind of doctor who ‘divined’ their patients’ misfortunes purely as the consequences of external forces or their bewitchment by neighbours. Tensions within or between families or communities, he believed, could not be overcome by victimization or force but by self-knowledge and by a new positive dynamic which breaks through common assumptions, and which has recently been called ‘counter-intuitive’ logic or thinking.

Morena Mohlomi died at Ngoliloe near modern-day Clocolan in about 1815.

In Lesotho Mohlomi is remembered as the man who advised Lepoqo (Moshoeshoe I) that, contrary to popular belief, there was no medicine for acquiring power or becoming a success-ful ruler, but that the way to achieve this ambition was by having a good heart and treating actual and potential followers with kindness. It is this advice which helped to transform the young short-tempered Lepoqo into a more humane individual. As he cultivated Mohlomi’s teachings over many years, he became a nation-builder, statesman and diplomat of world renown.

Previous Mohlomi Memorial Lectures

2013 Prof. Zakes Mda: A Further Critique of Culture and the African Malaise » Read More
2012 Prof. Njabulo Ndebele: Beyond a Boundary: Nations Living with Themselves and with Others » Read More
2011 Prof. F.C.L. Rakotsoane: New Perspectives in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, The ‘Water Snake’ and its place in Basotho Traditional Religion
2010 Dr. ‘Musi Mokete: The Art of Healing in Lesotho, Past and Present
2009 Dr. Khauhelo Raditapole: Politics and Governance, The Contribution of Women
2008 Prof. L.B.B.J. Machobane: Mohlomi’s Philosophy of Peace and its Infusion in the Southern African Region 1720-1815

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