Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Timothy Parsons


Young people in Lesotho worked actively to bring about their own conceptions of the nation in late colonial and early independence Lesotho. These youth drew on a wide range of local, national and international ideas to push for institutional change that would benefit themselves as individuals, and the nation as a whole. Tapping into larger global debates about development, the Cold War and the role of youth in societies, young Basotho actively participated in and wanted a say in the changes coming with independence. This work rethinks African nationalism, seeing a wider range of people willing and able to identify with a national ideal than previous works that focus mainly on political parties have found. It also complicates the question of international boundaries, with many young South Africans crossing the border into Lesotho, and young Basotho going the other way into South Africa. These transient lives call into question the premise of a state-based national identity as the primary identification for a large group of people.


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