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The term Sotho

Sotho may refer to:

  1. The Sotho people (or Basotho), an African ethnic group principally resident in South Africa and Lesotho.
  2. The Sotho language (Sesotho or Southern Sotho), a Bantu Language spoken in southern Africa, an official language of both South Africa and Lesotho.
  3. The Northern Sotho language (or Sesotho sa Leboa), a group of related Bantu dialects classed together as an official language of South Africa.
  4. The Sotho (or Sotho-Tswana) language group, a linguistic classification which groups together the related languages Sotho, Northern Sotho, Setswana, and Lozi.
  5. The Sotho-Tswana people, a group of southern African ethnic groups with a common history, speakers of languages in the Sotho group.
  6. Lesotho, (formerly Basutoland) an independent kingdom in southern Africa entirely surrounded by South Africa.

Sotho theatre and performance


Sotho traditional performances

Sotho praise songs and oral storytelling

Sotho dances

published drama in the Sotho languages

Published plays in Northern Sotho (1940 – 1986):

Thirty-seven plays were published between 1940 and 1986, which is very limited in comparison to the prose and poetry published in the same period. Many of the plays deal with the clash between traditional laws and ways and modern views of individual freedom, promoted by cultural interaction with the West. Thus issues such as choosing a marriage partner for oneself, circumcision, the generation gap between youths and their parents reoccur in many of the plays. The clash between Christianity and traditional beliefs is also a common theme.The praise poetic* form is evident in many of the plays, as are the use of Biblical references, themes and animal dialogues.Historic plays include the lives of Kgasane, the sone of mamatlepa, a headman of Modubeng; King Mmutle II of Mphalele; Marangrang, the legendary Kone general; Shaka, and the famous Zulu king of the tribe of Zwide. many of the plays and some of the criticism demands some moralistic engagement with the subject. This may be evidence of the influence the Western Christian education system had on this literature.

Published plays in Southern Sotho

Published plays in Setswana

M.O.M. Seboni (1912-1972) Kgosi Henry wa Bone (a translation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, 1952).

W.K. Tamsanqa () Buzani Kubawo (“Ask father” – Xhosa) Oxford University Press, 1958.



UNISA Mdrama notes, Chapter 3

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