The restoration of cultural identity in Maboea’s poetry volume Tlhaka ya Basotho

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 36, issue 2, 2016, pages: 201–208
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2016.1252021
Author(s): Johannes SeemaSchool of Languages, South Africa


In pre-colonial times, the lives of the Basotho were uncomplicated and education was informal in nature. The way of preserving history, religion, ideas, values, norms and traditions was by means of oral transmission in the form of stories, songs, dance, and by imitation and plays. When Britain colonised different parts of Africa, the indigenous people were forced to adapt to the new rulers, and this included denying Africans their cultural identities. During this process, the Africans began to change their customs until they became more Europeanised. This left people torn between the two ways of living—in a traditional African lifestyle or by adopting the new modern European lifestyle. However, this does not take away the sense of not belonging. For this reason, Maboea (1987), in his anthology Tlhaka ya Basotho, reacts to the discourse of colonisation, especially within the Basotho culture. Some of his poems deal with issues of de-colonisation and he appeals to the Basotho for the revival of their cultural identity. Basotho cultural identity seems to have imitated European cultural identity in matters such as language and culture, naming and religion. Maboea (1987) confronts the arrogance of Eurocentrism and asserts the importance of Afrocentrism to revive the Basotho culture.

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