This paper examines Basotho accordion music as a dynamic form of entertainment that promotes oral tradition among the Basotho. It briefly discusses the history of Lesotho and Basotho, offers an overview of Basotho music in general, some background regarding local accordion music tradition, and some notes on theoretical framework and methodology before moving to analysis of proverbs in Basotho songs. The paper argues that the use of proverbs among Basotho is still common at present to such an extent that they are even employed in the Basotho accordion music. The analysis deals with songs by different artists who have liberally spiced their songs with proverbs. Careful listening to this music reveals that there is much to be learned from sung proverbs regarding oral literature: customs, beliefs, language and other aspects. Through the proverbial flavoring in this music, Basotho traditional wisdom, spiritual heritage, culture, morality, collective experience and general well-being of the nation are easily transmitted. The employment of proverbs in this music can be an indication that oral literature like in other African societies is so central to contemporary Basotho culture.
About the authors:
Dr. Lehlohonolo Samuel Phafoli is currently a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Lesotho in the Department of African Languages and Literature. He holds a B.A. ED degree in English and African Languages from the National University of Lesotho, B.A. Honours and Masters of Arts in African Languages and Literature from the Witwatersrand University and Ph.D in African Languages and Literature from the Free State University in the Republic South Africa. He has read several papers in different conferences about Basotho accordion music, and currently has five publications about Basotho accordion music.
Dr. Piniel Viriri Shava is currently a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Lesotho in the Department of English Literature. He holds a B.A. in English Literature, History and Philosophy from the National University of Lesotho, M.A. in English Literature from the Carlton University and Ph.D in English Literature from the Universitatis Dalhousiance in Canada. He has publications mostly in the field of Literature. This article is the second one on Basotho accordion music that he has co-authored with Dr. Lehlohonolo Phafoli.
Read Lehlohonolo Phafoli and Viriri Shava’s article here.