Authenticity of the Basotho Hat: Perceptions of Weavers and Vendors

Haretsebe Manwa

Abstract


The authenticity of crafts/artifacts has been at the center of tourism debates for some time. There is disagreement among researchers on the conceptualization of the term. This paper contributes to clarifying the understanding of the concept by examining the authenticity of the Basotho hat (Mokorotlo) from the perspectives of weavers, corporative members, traditional leaders and street vendors at the Maseru and Maputsoe border posts, the main entry and exit points of Lesotho. The Basotho hat is an authentic product, and a popular artifact and memorabilia that is directly identified with Lesotho. It serves as both a cultural icon of Lesotho and part of the everyday attire of the Basotho people. The Basotho hat has gone through minor changes in response to local and tourist demands for new enhanced products. Lesotho is rich in cultural attractions that can be capitalized on to develop cultural tourism. The Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation, a destination management and marketing organization, can capitalize on products that are already popular with tourists to market it as part of cultural tourism. This has an added advantage to improve the livelihoods of impoverished Basotho. However, the government should implement mechanisms to certify the authenticity of hats for added appeal to tourists.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p981


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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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