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Maseru

 

Maseru is the capital and largest city of Lesotho. It is also the capital of the Maseru District. Located on the Caledon River, Maseru lies directly on the Lesotho-South Africa border. Maseru is Lesotho's capital city with a population of 330,760 in the 2016 census. The city was established as a police camp and assigned as the capital after the country became a British protectorate in 1869. When the country achieved independence in 1966, Maseru retained its status as capital. The name of the city is a Sesotho word meaning "red sandstones".
Kingsway, the road joining the former Leabua Jonathan Airport, now Mejametalana Airport and the Royal Palace in Maseru, was the first paved road in Lesotho. Having previously been just a dirt path, it was renovated in 1947 for the visit of members of the British Royal Family. It remained the only paved road in the country until Lesotho's independence in 1966. Two main roads lead outside of Maseru, Main North 1 to the northeast and Main South 1 to the southeast toward Mazenod and Roma. The South African N8 road leads from the Maseru Bridge border post west towards Ladybrand and Bloemfontein.
Maseru's economy is one that is growing at a very rapid speed, which is notable particularly in terms of foreign investment and tourism since independence from Britain, and economic ruin when political violence broke out in 1998. Since the riots the city has worked hard to undo the damage caused.
Most of the traditional thatched-roof mud-brick houses, called rondavels, have been replaced with modern housing and office blocks which have a tint of traditional architecture. There have recently been some new buildings in the center of the city, particularly the building across LNDC center which now houses Good times cafe, a Vodacom shop, offices and the new building of the Ministry of Health which was completed in late 2007.
12 out of 16 of the teams currently playing in the Lesotho Premier League reside in Maseru. As of 2008, 32 out of the 38 championships contested in the league have gone to Maseru-based teams. Most successful of these have been Matlama FC and the football team of the Royal Lesotho Defense Force, with eight championships each.