top of page

Nazareth in Lesotho?

We have long known about this location, because well, we have been there. And the area is quite simply stunning and somewhat cold because of the altitude you will find yourself at. So there is indeed a place called Nazareth in Lesotho, and it is close to both Cana and Bethlehem. Now looking back in time, add some more rainfall, these areas would be more lush and fruitful, it does become more likely that this could have been uMsindisis backyard. What you will find today, is a lot of Stoney hills and cultured people, with old ways and traits of Moses written on their bodies. The question is was this Nazareth we find there in Lesotho today, the place or perhaps the region where Immanuel was said to be from? We do remember the quote from Nathaniel, one who would become one of His own disciples (John 1,43-46):

43 The next day Immanuel decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Immanuel of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.

We are forced to ask, just like Nathanael, and put it in the context of today, because can anything good come from Lesotho? A place where there is no money, no jobs, but plenty of water and mountains. And a sangoma hut on every hilltop, functioning as priest and overseer over the sleeping Sothos. Riddles with HIV and Aids spread suspiciously neat among the native demographics, all we can say is What a place and what a country indeed. Moving on, we can also see in the quote, that Bethsaida the fishing town where Christ found them, would not be far from Galilee. But lets focus on Nazareth.

So Nazareth is today a small town in western Lesotho, located to the east of Maseru. And more important is another landmark we will discuss more in the future, a mountain pass called God Help Me Pass or Lekhalong-la-Molimo-Nthuse in the vernacular SeSotho. We believe this forms of Bantu, SeSotho, Setswana and, SePedi are dialects of ancient Hebrew. Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom, remember. So this would appropriately be in the southern Kingdom, the main parts.

Another interesting site close to Nazareth is Ha Baroana (The place of conflict), located just north of Christ's hometown, a very interesting site. The mountain pass of God Help me Pass (Lekhalong-la-Modimo-Nthuse) is not far from Nazareth, a closer pass is Bushman's Pass (Lekhalong-la-Thaba-Putsoa). Now in between Maseru and Mohale you will find several of these passes while you driving safely in your car on the newly laid tarmac of the A3. And back in ancient times the means of transportation would have been by horse more commonly for people, was to walk. So the timespan to get down from these mountains would have been considerable, which may be why there is no specific time given.

Back on track, and if we look into the etymology of Nazareth in Hebrew, it means something like branch (neser) or watch, guard or keeper (nasar). And if we go to Isaiah we find an interesting source of the word, and we are going to do a literal translation below so you can get more of a feel of the African grammar (Isaiah 11,1):

"Shall Grow out of his roots and a branch of Jesse from the stump a Rod/Fruit." (direct translation to English from Sotho)
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots, a Branch will bear fruit." (NIV)
“Lehlomela le tla hlaha kutung ya Jese; lekala le tla hlaha metsong ya yona." (modern SeSotho)

Shall Grow

out of his roots

and a branch

of Jesse

from the stem

a rod













Now forget the Hebrew spelling and pronunciation, its just for edification. The meaning is FULL of Sotho idioms and figures of speech. The pronunciation would be a Sotho, a northern or a southern-sounding Bantu language. If you can hear it in that tongue, you will get more of the ancient understanding of the language and meanings of words. WE can glean from this though, root words like it was a place like a branch (netzer) of Jesse that would bear fruit. Also we found the other root which is to guard or keep, like a watchtower (mispah). If we then go to the Greek, Nazara (Ναζαρά), we seem to see that this had another form in the Aram language. However, as far as Nguni languages go, we are not sure of that form.

Now if we read the Gospel of Luke, we can see that Nazareth is described as a town of Galilee and the home of Miriam (Mary). After the child is born in Bethlehem, they return to Galilee and their hometown of Nazareth. This is indisputable, born in Bethlehem but raised in Nazareth.

Now, Narazeth appears 12 times in our Scriptures, 10 times as Nazareth and 2 times as Nazara (which is the Greek form), Matthew 4,13 and Luke 4,16. Now if we get into this, we have to mention a black man who went by the name of Sextus Julius Africanus (160-240). He did write about Nazarareth as a real place and seems to have been a great influence on Eusebius (whom we also quote freely from here). Now Africanus was from Libya, not the modern Libya, but the ancient Libya. He would have influenced Eusebius and a whole slew of Greek historical Chroniclers. Africanus lived at the neighboring city of Emmaus and was said to be a native of Jerusalem, and Africanus wrote extensively on Judea and Jerusalem.

Now Africanus and Eusebius (Onomasticon and Church History for those that want to read) refer to the settlement as Nazara. Now Eusebius also says that is was from the Name Nazaret that He was called a Nazaraen, which is also talked about among people like Tertullian, in Against Marcion (Tertullian was a man who died for Christ). So the historical records are plenty, but they all will of course have the locations all wrong.

If we go deeper into the Gospel of Luke we see that Nazaret was the home village of Miriam and the site where the Angel Gabriel told Miriam that she would give birth to Immanuel. Furthermore, in Gospel of Matthew, we see that Joseph and Miriam resettled in Nazareth again after returning from Mizraim (Egypt). Nazara was said to be in the Land of Judea and located near a place called Cochaba. Africanus even writes of relatives of Immanuel being many and in the area (desposunoi), but makes sure not to mention any names. Which was a good call on his behalf.

Now, we can see from the distance map that Cana and Nazareth are indeed within short proximity of one another, inside the country of Lesotho. Now as the years go by and history seems to be wiped of the African continent, we can see sources like Ephiphanius and the work Panarion (dated 375 after Christ AD), that Nazara was a city devoid of NON- Hebrews at that point. Now Ephiphanius wrote about Joseph of Tiberias a Roman Hebrew that converted to the old Christianity when the Roman emperor Constantine was let loose on the continent. Now these writings implicitly tell us that he (Joseph of Tiberias) received orders to build churches in the Hebrew towns that had no Gentile or Samaritan living there. Tiberias, Diocaesarea, Sepphoris, Nazareth and Capernaum are among the cities he mentions.

Now going back to Africanus, he seems like a character larger than life. His life is largely unknown but he seemed to influence several Roman emperors in his time. He did work for the restoration of Emmanus, another city that Christ went to and He even walked with two of his disciples to get to Emmanus. The city by the help of Africanus, was rebuilt and was henceforth called Nicopolis. We also know that Africanus had interactions with Origen, and even called him dear brother, which proves useful for as to knowing where his allegiance lay. Thinking of our articles on The Trinity, we advise people to read those.

Now we can find all kinds of things in ancient books, but when you go there yourself and see sites like Ha Baroana, you get more of a feeling for the culture and the few remaining customs of Moses there is. You can get a better appreciation of what we are talking about. Now this site is noted for rock art, it is to Nazareth, about 12km from the village. Back in ancient times, we believe this site was visited by Christ, perhaps even a place a prayer or important Biblical events. Not many km`s from Nazareth, you can find Rama, which is a shortened version of Ramabanta. We think this could be the place or close to the place where we remember our Scriptures, and Rachel was crying for her children, for they are no more (Jeremia 31-15):

15 This is what SoNiNi says: “A cry is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

And for those who have been in Ramabanta, and heard what thunder sounds like when you are surrounded by mountains on each side. Your very being will shake. Your seems on the inside of your being do come apart when you hear it for the first time in your life. The echo is surreal and a woman crying in between these great mountains would be heard from far far away.

SoNiNi unathi


bottom of page