Place of the Cannibals – Malimong

By Lineo Segoete

Lesotho, a place that resembles the feeling of being wrapped in the warm arms and voluptuous bosom of a favourite grandmother, a feeling transfixed in her enigmatic mountains and meandering valleys basking under clean clear skies, is home to many unknown and remarkable gems of nature. Among them are the Kome Caves in Teyateyaneng Berea.

Ha Kome is a tranquil village in an area known as Malimong (Place of Cannibals), she is dappled in jade and potent greens in the summer and blushing red earth basking in a marvellous gorge in the Phuthiatsana valley below magnificent peaks who are protectors of centuries of history including evidence to the first occupants of the acreage now known as Lesotho; the great San.

One version of the origins of Basotho inhabitants at the Kome Caves suggests that Kome’s grandfather, father of Teleka of the Basia clan, was designated the site by King Moshoeshoe I because the King felt that his talents in magic and mastery of the herbs could be a powerful weapon against the cannibals who were a major nuisance to Basotho especially in the area of Malimong.

Ha Kome is a national heritage site famous, among her many attractions, for her immaculate cave houses tucked away under a great hill below the Ha Kome Tourist Centre. It provides a unique opportunity to learn and revel in the true Basotho way of life as it is and as it once was.

Recently the first Annual Kome Beer Festival was hosted there with aims to entice the curiosity of visitors and offer them an escape from the sporadic realities, noises and fast-pace of the concrete jungle.

Although meddled in controversy in terms of petty crimes that took place as well as unsatisfactory delivery with regard to the entertainment and services offered, the event came as a challenge to the public and curators of national heritage sites to take notice and proactively invest energy into educating Basotho and the world about our natural treasures.

Lesotho is an arena hosting suave tangoes between apexes and precipices; her inconspicuousness is nowhere near fully understood nor discovered. Thankfully urbanisation is also gaining grounds therefore making the best sites- such as Ha Kome and others- accessible for peace of mind and freeing of the senses. Vigorous investment into the preservation and promotion of these wonders adds to our national pride and marketing our country as the ideal tourist destination for fun-lovers and adventure and history enthusiasts. It’s worth a thought and a try.

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