Lesotho

 

Both the melody and the lyrics of this anthem come from European sources (in the case of the melody, not even composed to be the anthem of Lesotho). As such, there is debate in the country about the anthem, not only because the melody and lyrics were by foreigners, but also because the lyrics do not fit the melody perfectly. However, the anthem has been kept since it was first adopted.

The melody was from a Swiss songbook from around 1823. The composer was Ferdinand-Samuel Naegeli (later known as Ferdinand-Samuel Laur). The song that was later used as the Lesothan anthem was titled “Freiheit” (Freedom). Despite being from a Swiss songbook, the musical style is similar to that of anthems of other nations in the area in the “Eastern folk” style, perhaps indicating the melody was “Africanized” sometime after it was first introduced to the country.

The lyrics were by a French missionary to the area named François Coillard. Coillard grew up near the French-Swiss border, close to the area where Laur’s songbook was released, so Coillard may have known of the melody from there. The anthem first appeared in a Lesothan collection of songs for high schools in 1869.

The anthem originally had five verses, but by the 20th century, only the first and last verses were used, the middle verses, written to abolish traditional customs and religions, were deemed inappropriate.

The anthem was adopted in 1967 by a royal decree, which was backdated to Independence Day, October 4, 1966.