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Historical Note of the National University of Lesotho

The origins of the National University of Lesotho go back to April 8, 1945, when a Catholic University College was founded at Roma by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of Southern Africa. The establishment of this College was a realization of a decision taken in 1938 by the Synod of Catholic Bishops in South Africa to provide African Catholic students with post-matriculation and religious guidance.



The Catholic University College was founded in an isolated valley 34 kilometers from Maseru in a temporary primary school building at Roma Mission.


In 1946 the College moved from the temporary building to the present site. This was made possible by the allocation of some 52 acres of land to the College by the Paramount Chief. In 1950, the Catholic University College was ceded to the Congregation of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI).



Pius XII College prepared its students for the external degrees of the University of South Africa (UNISA). By September 27 1954, having satisfied itself that Pius XII College was an academically viable Institution, UNISA agreed to enter into a formal agreement - thereby granting an "Associate College" status to the College. This development was of major significance to the Roma intellectual community as it entailed a certain degree of "decentralization" in certain specific areas on the part of UNISA, e.g. Pius XII College assumed greater responsibility for tuition and examinations. Indeed, between 1954-60, both the academic and physical growth of the College accelerated. Fathers Beaulé, Quirion, and Guilbeault (then Rector) participated actively in the early development of the college.



In the early 60s the College experienced difficulties academically and financially. UNISA unilaterally decided to redefine its relationship with the College and, finally, the main benefactor of the College directed its resources elsewhere.


The denominational character of the College had made it difficult for international organizations, agencies, and foundations to fund such an institution of higher learning. Despite these problems, advice received from Sir John Lockwood and Sir James Cook, both Vice-Chancellors' of British universities at the time, discouraged the College authorities from seeking an affiliation with either the University of London, or for that matter, any other overseas University. As early as 1952, attempts by the college to secure a special relationship with the University of London, through the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas (Commonly referred to as the I-VC) had been 'unsuccessful.


In view of the prevailing difficulties, seen as a danger to the development of university education in Basutoland in 1962, the General of the Oblate Congregation requested Fathers Banim (OMI) and A. W. Hall (OMI) to visit Roma and assist the College in finding a practical solution to its problems.


The South African Government had declared its intention not to admit African students from outside South Africa into the University College of Fort Hare, and the Natal Medical School (Wentworth) after December 31, 1953. Although this ban was relaxed for Basutoland students until 1958, the writing was on the wall.


The College, which by 1959 had 171 students, 141 of whom were students from outside Basutoland - mainly from S. Africa, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland - was already deeply involved in contributing to the training of future civil servants and teachers for the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland.


Clearly, the High Commission Territories (HCT) were indebted to Pius XII College for its role in producing a cadre of educated women and men to tackle developmental problems after independence. On the other hand, the- College, which was going through a period of financial difficulties felt that it would be most appreciative if its efforts in providing the prerequisite manpower needs for the HCT could be recognized both in cash and in kind. At the same time, it was apparent that the HCT also wanted to play a more significant role in the decision-making bodies of the College. In a curious way, the Catholic Church, the Basutoland Government, the University authorities and even the other HCTs sensed the need for a decisive step to be taken in order the re-define the role and the governance of the College.


Negotiations began with the view to establishing an inter-territorial, non- denominational University, principally to serve the HCT Indeed, it has been said that by that time the three High Commission Territories were beginning to see the College as destined to become a "University of the High Commission Territories". Progress was made to enable a deed of cession to be signed on June 13, 1963, the indemnity being met jointly by the Ford Foundation and Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom. The indemnity was signed between Sir Hugh Stephenson, then newly appointed High Commissioner acting on behalf of the projected new University, and at the time of signing the indemnity the facilities of the College, most of which were attributed to the period when Fr. Romeo Guilbeault was Rector, had expanded rapidly. Besides the original "temporary" houses and classrooms, residences which could accommodate 100 male and 70 Students, some 20 staff houses/flats, a modem science block, a kitchen and refectory block, administrative buildings, workshops, garage and a power plant were in existence. Also under construction was a new library building whose funding had been secured form the World Council of Churches, and the World University Service. Student numbers had grown from the original five, to 180.


On January 1, 1964, Plus XII University College was replaced by the independent, non-denominational University of Basutoland, Bechuanaland Protectorate, and Swaziland (UBBS) with its own Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth II. By virtue of the same Charter, the Oblate Fathers kept a close relationship with the UBBS through serving on the Council and teaching, as well as in the physical presence of Pius XII College House, a residence for the Oblate community.


To be in line with the names chosen after independence in 1966, UBBS became the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. A historical date in life of UBLS is April 7, 1967, when the first autonomous degrees and diplomas were conferred.



The University continued to grow steadily - physically and academically, being supported by the three governments' subventions and by international organisations. In time, branches of the University were established in Botswana and Swaziland.


UBLS, though much admired as an institution, soon found problems in the areas of growth and administration. Cooperation between the three campuses was not always consistent and equal, as interests and concerns about development and future plans differed between the three campuses.


By 1974, ten years after its establishment, the UBLS was offering five degree courses, 11 diploma and certificate courses and four post-graduate degree courses.


NUL is established:


The decision to establish the National University of Lesotho on, the Lesotho (Roma) campus site of the former UBLS  was taken on October 20, 1975, by the Lesotho Interim National Assembly through Act No. 1 3 of 1975. NUL is the proud heir of Pius XII University College, UBBS and UBLS. It occupies the same site, grounds, and buildings as its predecessors, as well as additional ones.


Today, the National University of Lesotho is a growing institution striving to meet the needs of the nation, through producing competent and skilled graduates who can easily take up the call to assist in the development of Lesotho.


The 80 hectare University site is situated at Roma (pop. 8,000) some 34 kilometers south-east of Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.

Roma valley is broad and is surrounded by a barrier of rugged mountains which provides magnificent scenery. The University enjoys a temperate climate with four distinctive seasons.

The governing body of the University is the Council and academic policy is in the hands of Senate - both Council and Senate being established by the Act. The University holds membership in:

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

The Association of African Universities (AAU)

The International Association of Universities (IAU)

The Association of Eastern and Southern African Universities (AESAU)

The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA)



Chancellors of the University:


His Excellency Sir Fiugh Stephenson, GBE, KCMG, 1964-1966

His Excellency Sir Seretse Khama, KBE, Hon. D.LL. (Fordham), Hon.D.PH. (UBLS) 1967-1970

His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1971-1974

His Majesty King Sobhuza II of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 1974-1975

His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1976-1990

His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1991-Present


Administrative Heads of the Institution



Rev. P. E. Beaule, OMI, B.A., L.Ph., STL, 1945-1950

Rev. G. Marchand, OMI, D.Ph., DD, LL.D., CJB, 1950-1953 (ad interim) Rev. R. Guilbeault, OMI, MA., L.Ph., 1954-1959

Rev. L. Dozois, OMI, L.Ph., STL, LSS, 1960-1961

Rev. F. Banim, OMI, M.A. 1962-1963.





John W. Blake, M.A., RF.Hist.S, Hon.D.Litt. (Keele), Hon. D. Litt-. (UBLS) 1964-1971.

Cyril A. Rogers, M.A. (NZ) B.Ed. (Melb.) Ph.D. (London), 1971-1975




Mr. M.T. Mashologu, 1975- 1980

B.A. (Rhodes), B.A.(Hons) (Belf), PCE (London) 1975-1980


Mr. A.M. Setšabi, 1980-1984

B.A. Admin.(UBLS), M.P.I.A.(Pitt.), Dip.Soc.L., LL.D.(h.c.)(St. F.X.)


Mr. B.A. Tlelase, 1986-1987 (Acting)

B.A. (S.A.) 1984-1986



Dr. L.B.B.J. Machobane,               

A.A. (Piney Woods), B.A. M.Ed. (Tuskegee), M.A.(Lehigh), Ph.D.(Edin.)


Professor  A.D. Baikie,  

M.Sc.Ed., D.Ed. (Indiana), Dip. in Fine Art, Postgrd. Art Teachers Cert. (NCAST),

Diploma Media Ed., (Indiana) 1988-1995


Dr M.T. Ntimo-Makara,

B.A+CCE (UBLS), M.A.(Ball State), M.Ed., Ph.D.(Hull) 1996 (Acting)


Professor  R.I.M. Moletsane,     

B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed. (UBLS), M.A. (UOFS), D.Ed. (U.Mass) 1996 –2000


Dr T.H. Mothibe,             

B.A. Cert Education (NUL), B.A. (Oxford), M.A. Cert. African Studies, Ph.D

(Wisconsin-Madison) 2001-2005


Professor M.M. Sejanamane,

B.A. (NUL), M.A. (Dar-es-Salaam), Ph.D. (Dalhousie) 2005-2006 (Acting)


Professor A. F. Ogunrinade

VM (Ibadan), M. Sc. (London), M.Sc. (Uxbridge), Ph.D. (London) 2006 – April 2010


Professor Sharon A. Siverts        

B.S. (Education), M.S. (Ohio), PhD. (Penn State) 2011- 2013

Professor M.M. Sejanamane,


B.A. (NUL), M.A. (Dar-es-Salaam), Ph.D. (Dalhousie) 2013- Present  (Acting)




David Kimble, OBE, B.A. Dip.Ed. (Reading), Ph.D. (London): Govern- ment and Administration, 1971-1978.

J. M. Mohapeloa, MA, UED (S.A.), M.Phil. (Sussex) D.Ph.Ed. (honoris causa) (NUL; FCP: Education, 1975-1980

Adrianus Jan de Koning, Ir. T. H. (Delft.) Ph.D. (Cape Town): Chemistry, 1979-1982

J. K. Matsaba, BA, UED, Hons. B.A. (S.A.) B.Ed. (UBLS), M.Ed. (NUL)-. African Languages and Literature, 1981-1982.

P. K. S. Raja - M.Sc. (Benares) Ph.D. (London) A.I.N.P., F.Inst. P. (London) Physics 1979-1985

V. M. Bam - B.A., UED (S.A) B.Ed. (UBL-S) M.A. (Michigan) Education 1965-1985

J. C. Millin - OBE., M.Sc. (Astrou), F.B.I.M.F.I.I.M., M.Inst. A.M., FAA., F.B.S.C.: Business Administration

A. T. Hutcheon, M.Sc. (Sask.), Ph.D. (MCGW) Chemistry 1965-1984.

CAST) Diploma Ed. Media (Indiana), 1988-1991,1992- 1995



1967 Mr. S. T. Sukati, Former Chairman and Member of the University Council and Speaker of the National Assembly of Swaziland, Doctor of Laws

1968 H. E. Sir Seretse Khama, Former Chancellor of UBLS 1967-1970, President of the Republic of Botswana, Doctor of Philosophy

1971 Professor J. W. Blake, Former  Vice-Chancellor, UBLS, 1964-1971, Doctor of letters

1973 Dr. C. W. de IGewict, President Emeritus, University of Rochester, New York, Member of the University Council. Doctor of Literature

1973 Dr. H. F. Oppenheimer, Chancellor, University of Cape-Town, Chairman, Anglo American Corporation, Doctor of Literature

1978 Rev. Dr. Romeo Guilbeault, OMI Former Rector of Pius XII College, 1954-1959, Doctor of Literature

1978 Dr. J. P. Mohapeloa, OBE, Composer, Doctor of Literature

1978 Dr. Nelson R. Mandela, Former Political Leader and Robben Island Detainee in South Africa, Doctor of Laws

1980 Morena ‘Mako Moliboea, Chief of Khanyane, Doctor of philosophy

1981 Dr. Amadou-Mahtar M'bow, Director General of UNESCO, Doctor of Philosophy

1993 Dr. Leabua Jonathan, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Doctor of Education

1983 Dr. Colin Mackay, Former President of the University of New Brunswick, Doctor of Education

1983 Dr.'Masechele Khaketla, Author and High School Teacher, Doctor of Literature

1985 Dr. J.T. Kolane, Former Speaker of the National Assembly 1973-1985 in Lesotho, Doctor of Laws

1985 Dr. M. Damane, Historian, Doctor of Literature

1985 Dr. I. Mohamed, Professor of Mathematics, Doctor of Science and Mathematics

1987 Professor Josias Makibinyane Mohapeloa, Professor and Former Dean of Education, National University of Lesotho, Doctor of Philosophy in Education

1987 Dr. Julias Kambarage Nyerere, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Doctor of Laws

1987 Professor David Blackwell, Professor of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, Doctor of Science

1990 Dr. J.J.N. Machobane, Agriculturalist & Writer, Doctor of Philosophy

1990 Dr. Ntsu Clement Mokhehle, Former Leader of the Basutoland Congress Party, Doctor of Laws

1990 Dr. S.D. Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, Doctor of Laws

1991 Dr. B.T. Mohapeloa, Teacher & Pioneer of Self-help Organisation, Doctor of Letters

1992 Dr. O.R. Tambo, Former Leader of the African National Congress, Doctor of Laws

1996 Dr. B.M. Khaketla, Writer, Doctor of Philosophy

1997 Dr. Paul Ellenberger, Palaeontologist, Doctor of Science

2001 Dr. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, Lawyer, Businessman, Labour and Political Leader, Doctor of Laws.

2001 Dr. Thokoana James Motlatsi, Businessman and Labour Leader, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences

2005 Dr. Karabo Eric Lekhanya, Renowned music composer, Doctor of Literature

2005 Dr. Nkau J. Lepheana, Renowned music composer, Doctor of Literature

2005 Dr. Benjamin William Mkapa, Former President of the United Republic of  Tanzania, Doctor of Law

2006 Dr. Anthony Malefetsane Setšabi, Former Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Doctor of Education

2006 Dr. Robert Dunbar Leslie, Founder of the Department of Law at the University of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland, Doctor of Law

2010 Professor Adamu David Baikie, Former Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Doctor of Philosophy

2010 Mr. Mothusi Mashologu, Former Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Doctor of Literature