Original Research

Oral literature and the evolving Jim-goes-to-town motif: Some early Northern Sotho compared to selected post-apartheid novels written in English

Lesibana Rafapa
Literator | Vol 37, No 1 | a1251 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v37i1.1251 | © 2016 Lesibana Rafapa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 2015 | Published: 16 September 2016

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Lesibana Rafapa, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa

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The continuation of the discourses of apartheid era African language literature characterised by the makgoweng motif in post-apartheid English literature written by black people has not been studied adequately. In this study I explored ways in which characters of Northern Sotho linguistic and cultural groups represented the same consciousness in both categories of novels across time. I used the qualitative method and analysed some Northern Sotho primary texts, written before democracy in South Africa, as well as selected post-apartheid English novels written by black people. I focused on the mokgoweng motif to examine the nature of continuity in theme and outlook. I found that the novels considered pointed to a sustainable consciousness, transcending linguistic boundaries and time. The social function of such characterisation representing the formerly oppressed black people, is a revelation of their quest towards selfdefinition in a modern world. The portrayed characters significantly point to resilience among black people to appropriate modernity by making sense of the world in a manner sustaining their distinctive outlook. In this way, the Northern Sotho-speaking cultural groups display a consistent consciousness enabling them to manage properly their adaptation to an evolving modern or globalising environment across time. The implication was that a comparison of South African English literature written by black people with indigenous language literature enriched the study of black South African English literature.


orature; Northern Sotho; postcolonial; post-apartheid


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