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Basotho women

Elevating Mathematical Traditions: The Litema Designs of Basotho Women

Litema is a traditional mural art form that has been practiced by the Basotho people of Lesotho and South Africa for generations. Women use fingers, forks, and sticks to create soft and flowing geometric patterns on the interior and exterior walls of a house. Litema murals depict natural images, including fields, animals, and plants, to honour seasonal and commemorative events. Despite the impact of modernization, commercialization, and urbanization, this art form has survived. However, it is currently facing a decline in popularity. To support and preserve Litema knowledge, initiatives are underway to revive the art form and sustain indigenous knowledge.

Time Period

Historical and Contemporary Contexts

Main Field

History of mathematics of the indigenous cultures of Africa, Asia, and Oceania (01A11)

Cultural & Geographical Affiliations

Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana, Basotho (Sotho) people

Identity Connections

Mathematical Artists and Artisans, Women in Mathematics

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