This article examines the rise and fall of African indigenous entrepreneurs' economic solidarity in Lesotho between 1966 (independence) and 1975. It rebuts the historical metanarrative that the black African indigenous entrepreneurs (the Basotho) lacked adequate entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and economic solidarity. Using historical records and oral histories, this article demonstrates that there is sufficient historical evidence to argue otherwise. Rather, Basotho traders became victims of sinister political and economic interests of the first postcolonial government, which acted to protect interests of minority European traders—a common phenomenon in postcolonial Africa. Furthermore, the article makes two significant contributions—first to the growing literature on the history of African business and entrepreneurship, and secondly, it uses the constructed economic history of Basotho entrepreneurs to critique the dominant nationalistic and geo-political view that Lesotho's position as landlocked by South Africa is predominantly responsible for the country's sluggish economic growth, poverty and lack of economic independence.


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pp. 110-137
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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