Being an Eastern Cape kid I was very excited when I saw the success and noise the brand MaXhosa by Laduma was making. As with anything in design, the runway normally dictates the trend, and all the other design specialities tend to follow.
My mind immediately started racing, thinking how can I bring their motto of ‘My heritage, my inheritance’ into the world of design, and remembered something I saw on a trip to Lesotho.
The Basotho cultural blankets from Aranda, while aesthetically pleasing in their designs, also have a great story, which celebrates the rich history of Lesotho.
While I will be spending the next 3 days showing you how to style the blankets in different living spaces, today I will be focussing on the story behind each of the blankets I will be styling.
Victoria England – Spitfire – Limited Edition
I was very lucky to get my hands on this limited edition blanket that celebrates 50 years of independence for the Mountain Kingdom.
The Spitfire fighter aircraft, which became famous during World War II has an interesting connection with Lesotho.
In 1868, Basutoland (now Lesotho) became a British protectorate. King Moshoeshoe referred to this historic event as “Spreading the Blanket of Protection” over the Mountain Kingdom. Queen Victoria had a close relationship with Basutoland and was loved and respected by the Basotho people. To celebrate her visit to the Kingdom during her jubilee year, the Victoria England blanket was developed. Today, the Victoria England brand is still a much desired status symbol treasured by the people of Lesotho.
During World War II, Lesotho gave Britain 24 Spitfire fighter aircraft as a token of appreciation for the many years of British protection. This generous contribution by the small country equipped two complete RAF squadrons. This Squadron, known as “No 72 Basutoland”, is one of the few World War RAF Squadrons still in existence today.
The Victoria England Spitfire Limited Edition blanket was designed to coincide with the unveiling of the Spitfire Monument, donated by Britain, and which will form part of Lesotho’s 50th Independence Celebrations on 4 October 2016. As part of this historic event, this blanket is sure to become a sought after collectors blanket.
Victoria England – Malakabe
The Victoria England is the oldest of the Basotho blanket brands. In 1897 Queen Victoria visited the then Basutoland during her Jubilee year. She gave King Lerotholi Letsie a blanket as a gift. He draped the blanket, poncho-style, over his shoulders and so began the blanket wearing tradition. The blanket was named Victoria England.
This design is known as the Malakabe or flame.
This blanket was created to honour the birth of Crown Prince Lerotholi in 2007. The design features a collection of elaborate hearts which symbolise the love of the Basotho people for the Royal Family. The word Motlatsi means successor in title.
The ‘M’Arona blanket was created in honor of the memory of the late Queen Mamohato
The designs features a collection of elaborate interlinking hearts that depicts her love for the Basotho nation, truly the Mother of Basotho, and her love for the Basotho blanket wearing tradition. It also features elements of a Royal Crown and a Basotho hat combined into a unique crown, this depicts her Royal status.
Aranda originally launched ‘M’Arona (Mother of All) design at the Royal Fashion Affair II in Maseru on the 8th October 2015, at which occasion the blanket were presented to King Letsie III and Queen Masnate
All the blankets are 155cm x 165cm
90% Wool on a 10% Cotton warp.
Perfect to wrap up in on a cold winters night! If they can keep the Basotho warm in the cold mountains, they should be more than capable in your home!
Stay tuned over the coming days where I will be incorporating these blankets into 3 styles: Classic Neutral; Classic Outdoor; Classic Contemporary.