Original Research

Die literariteit van die sogenaamde ‘verhalende element’ in tradisionele heroïese Sothopoësie – ’n intertekstuele ondersoek

W. J. Pretorius
Literator | Vol 22, No 3 | a1056 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v22i3.1056 | © 2001 W. J. Pretorius | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 June 2001 | Published: 13 June 2001

About the author(s)

W. J. Pretorius, Departement Afrikatale, Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Johannesburg, South Africa

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The literariness of the so-called “narrative element” in traditional heroic Sotho poetry – an intertextual analysis

This article focuses on the “literariness” of the so-called narrative lines that feature prominently in traditional Sotho heroic poetry, better known as dithoko. By means of some intertextual references it has been illustrated that these lines do not merely convey historical detail by means of “ordinary informative” language. The recalling of historical events, is rather characterised by a reconstruction of activities in a poetic context, based on certain referential codes dominated by a specific cultural tradition. The poetic nature of these lines is not only created by the use of wellknown poetic devices such as imagery and rhythm, but also by the selective use of allusion which defamiliarizes communicative language usage. By alluding to historical actions, the traditional poet attempts to create a specific aesthetic convention rather than a mere factual one. Real events in these narrative lines are often camouflaged by defamiliarized language and the presentation of fictional creations. The analysis of a few examples from dithoko that are related to certain historical events clearly indicates that these narrative lines should be evaluated against the background of specific literary conventions and literary codes.


Dithoko; Traditional Poetry; Narrative Elements In Heroic Poetry In Sotho; Literariness; Praise Poems In Sotho Poems; Sotho Poetry


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