Original Research

Echoes of lithoko in modern Sesotho poetry: An intertextual perspective

Ketlalemang C. Maimane, Nhlanhla Mathonsi
Literator | Vol 42, No 1 | a1657 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v42i1.1657 | © 2021 Ketlalemang C. Maimane, Nhlanhla Mathonsi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2019 | Published: 28 April 2021

About the author(s)

Ketlalemang C. Maimane, Department of Languages, School of Arts, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nhlanhla Mathonsi, Department of Languages, School of Arts, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


It is the view of this article that since its inception in the early 1930s, modern Sesotho poetry (MSP) has played host to other literary genres; amongst them lithoko. This article therefore regards some of the content in MSP, reflective of and traceable back to lithoko. Amongst others, these echoes are in the form of eulogues and communicative devices. Nevertheless, the reviewed literature gives no indication of any scholar exploring this literary relationship between modern Sesotho poetry and lithoko. Hence this article sets out to explore this intertextual relationship between lithoko as the literary parasite, and MSP as the host. In doing this, firstly the article establishes what it considers as lithoko content in MSP, which is classified under eulogues and lithoko communicative devices. Then, from the Sesotho poetry texts within the clusters into which the texts under study have been divided, content that is regarded as the echoes of lithoko in MSP is identified and discussed. Using intertextuality as a guiding theory, the first category of eulogues is considered. The article reveals that this mother-child literary relationship between these two phenomena is manifested in a number of ways in MSP. This revelation goes a long way in not only opening up perceptions of both scholars and analysts of modern Sesotho poetry with regard to the structural content, but also poetic dynamics of the genre. Furthermore, the intertextual disclosure helps poetry scholars to have a full appreciation of MSP as literature and of its literariness.


modern Sesotho poetry; reflective; lithoko; intertextual perspective; poetry


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