Basutoland Memorandum

Scope and Content

Manuscript copy (sent by Josiel Lefela to the High Commissioner for Basutoland, Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland) of memorandum on relations between the British Government and Basuto Nation, presented to the United Nations, 1961.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1961 Basutoland was one of three British High Commission Territories in South Africa. In the original treaties between the British Government and Chief Moshoeshoe [Mshweshwe] on behalf of the Sotho people in 1843 and 1862, a British Protectorate was established. In 1871, after Moshoeshoe's death, Basutoland became part of Cape Colony without the consent of the Sotho, and then in 1884 was relinquished to British rule, becoming a High Commission Territory. During the 20th century there was increasing concern among the Sotho people about continued colonial rule, not least because the changes in status of Basutoland had not been subject to their agreement and were contrary to the original treaties. Also, there were serious fears about the possibility of the territory becoming part of the Union of South Africa, which became acute when the Republic of South Africa was due to be created at the time of the memorandum in 1961. The memorandum details these issues, and seeks UN aid in making the voice of the Basuto nation heard. It was written by Josiel Lefela, a member of the National Council since 1916. In the event, Basutoland remained outside the Republic of South Africa and became independent as Lesotho in 1966.


Single item

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given.

Other Finding Aids

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Archivist's Note

Compiled 2000, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish or quote from original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.

Custodial History

Stamped as received by the High Commisioner for Basutoland, Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland in 1961. Thought to have been donated to ICS by Baruch Hirson but its intervening provenence is not clear

Corporate Names