In the late 1820s a new threat came to the clans occupying
the Mohokare valley. Groups of Khoikhoi, known as Kora,
appeared led by Dutch-speaking people of mixed descent. Many
were mounted on horseback and armed with guns. The Basotho
again had to take refuge on their mountain-tops and in
remote rock- shelters, which horses could not easily reach.
Horses had never before been seen in Lesotho.
Moshoeshoe decided to obtain horses and guns for his own
people. Also, after hearing of the advantages that other
clans derived from having a resident missionary, Moshoeshoe
sent cattle to induce a missionary to stay with him. In
fact, Moshoeshoe also hoped that the mission- aries would
help him to acquire guns and thus prevent the depredations
of the Kora.
In this way three missionaries of the Paris Evangelical
Missionary Society (PEMS) - Thomas Arbousset, Eugene Casalis
and Constant Gosselin - came to Thaba Bosiu in 1833.
Moshoeshoe placed them with his two senior sons, Letsie and
Molapo, at Makhoarane, the site of the present-day Morija.
The arrival of the missionaries had far- reaching effects on
the life of the people. Potatoes, 'wheat, fruit trees and
domesti cats and pigs were introduced. Before long the
missionaries had opened schools and printed books in the
The French missionaries did not belong to any of the
colonising white groups of southern Africa and were accepted
as citizens of Moshoeshoe's kingdom. In fact, Eugene Casalls
had a role similar to that of a Foreign Minister for the
period 1837 - 55 while living in a mission at the foot of
Thaba Bosiu . His knowledge of the outside world proved
invaluable to Moshoeshoe during the period when white
settlers began to threaten his kingdom.
Two Missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society
Eugene Casalis (lef) and Thomas Arbousset, who played an
important role in the early history of Basotho.