The Basuto: A Social Study of Traditional and Modern Lesotho, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Basuto

A Social Study of Traditional and Modern Lesotho, 1st Edition

By Hugh Ashton


410 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138487512
pub: 2020-05-01
SAVE ~$9.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 1st May 2020
Hardback: 9781138487109
pub: 2018-08-22
SAVE ~$30.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351043069
pub: 2018-08-16
from $22.50

FREE Standard Shipping!


Originally published in 1952 and as a second edition in 1967 this volume provides a systematic and comprehensive account of the Basuto people and their changing culture, and reviews the developments and changes leading up to 1966 when Basutoland achieved independence as Lesotho. It describes in detail daily lives, the education and upbringing of children, initiation, marriage, economic activities and political developments within and outside the country. It includes a discussion of tribal and modern law and the workings of the courts and a study of the part played by magic and sorcery and an analysis of the motives leading to the out break of 'medicine' murders in the 1940s.


'A substantial account of the life, work, customs and beliefs of a fascinating tribe in Southern Africa.' International Review of Missions

Table of Contents

1. Historical Background

2. Social Background

3. Conception, Birth and Childhood

4. Education

5. Marriage

6. Social Routine and Activities

7. Old Age, Death and Religious Beliefs

8. Agriculture

9. Animal Husbandry

10. Land Tenure

11. Miscellaneous Occupations and Pursuits

12. Trade, Exchange, Wealth and Property

13. Political Organization

14. Judicial Organization

15. Law

16. Medicine, Magic and Sorcery

Appendices: 1. Glossary of Sesuto Words 2. Kinship Terms 3. Kinship Marriage 4. Cases Tried in Native Authority Courts

About the Author

Hugh Ashton

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on or available as pdfs from the publishers.


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies