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Friday, December 2, 2011

Beautiful Lesotho traditional houses

The traditional style of housing in Lesotho is called a rondavel.

A rondavel is a traditional African-style house.

It is usually round in shape and is traditionally made with materials that can be locally obtained in raw form. The rondavel's walls are often constructed from stones. The mortar may consist of sand, soil, or some combinations of these mixed with dung. The floor is finished with a processed dung mixture to make it smooth. The roof braces of a rondavel are made out of tree limbs, which have been harvested and cut to length. The roof itself is made out of thatch that is sewn to the wooden braces with rope made out of grass. The process of completing the thatch can take one weekend or up to a year with a skilled artisan, as it must be sewn in one section at a time, starting from the bottom working towards the top. As each section is sewn, it may be weathered and aged in so as to form a complete weatherproof seal.

Rondavels can be found in the countries of Southern Africa, including: South Africa, Lesotho (where the hut is also known as a mokhoro), Swaziland, Botswana, and others. Small variations exist in different areas in the height of walls and pitch of roofs as well as how the rondavels are finished. Some people elaborately carve, paint, or decorate the outside wall that has been finished off with dung. In other places, people leave their rondavels undecorated.

In recent times, with the availability of modern construction materials, the appearance and construction of rondavels have changed. They may have concrete foundations, be built with cement blocks or brick, mortared with cement, and/or roofed with corrugated tin. While the traditional rondavel did not have running water, electricity, and/or other modern amenities, many are now equipped with, or have been adapted to accommodate these.

traditional Lesotho dressss

view of the Lesotho highlands

traditional housing next to the modern cell phone tower

traditional style for a modern restaurant

many more modern dwellings are of the box style

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