Title page for ETD etd-07102007-150705

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Kekana, Thupana Solomon
URN etd-07102007-150705
Document Title Sebopego sa diretotumišo tša bogologolo tša ditaola tša Sepedi (Sepedi)
Degree MA (Sepedi)
Department African Languages
Advisor Name Title
Prof M J Mojalefa
  • hemistich
  • poetic language
  • repeated segment
  • praise poem
  • long measure verse
  • long measure repetition
  • tone pattern
  • divinatory poem
  • metrical composition
  • verse form
Date 2005-06-25
Availability unrestricted
Eiselen (1932: 1) commented that the Black population of South Africa attached a particular religious value to the dolos art. He consequently collected some of the dolos sayings, but did not delve deeper into them. 1932 can hence be considered to be an important year with regard to this genre in the traditional literature of the Bapedi.

The aim of this mini-dissertation is to investigate and discuss the design of the traditional dolos sayings in particular, because this research area in Sepedi literature has been neglected. In addition to a discussion of the dolos art, an attempt will be made to also find out what this form of art means to the people concerned.

An adapted narratological model will be used for the interpretation of the various sayings; i.e. the content, the compilation and the meaning of the dolos sayings will be discussed.

In an investigation of this kind, it is inevitable that attention will also be paid to the praise poem as a commendation. In this case, a distinction between the traditional and the modern forms of this genre is made of necessity. This distinction is based mainly on the fact that the modern praise poem sings the praise of present-day subjects, while kings, heroes, counsellor, animals, different kinds of objects and last but not least, dolosses are extolled in the traditional praise poem.

A set of dolosses consists of 42 pieces, four of which are not only important but also indispensable in such a set. They are Moremogolo (male), Selomi (male), Mmakgadi (female) and Selomi (female). When the dolosses are thrown, they land in a specific way. This is called the landing of the dolosses, which is then interpreted and explained by the dolos master.

Dolos sayings resort under the traditional praise poem as a separate genre. They are mainly short sayings and are not divided into stanzas. The verse form of the dolos saying by its nature differs from that of the European verse. The form of the dolos saying is, amongst other things, determined by the fact that these sayings never came into being in a written form; they were recitations. For the rest, those verse form principles that characterise them as verses, namely coordination and correspondence, are indeed applied by the reciter.

The principle of coordination determines in this case that the caesura divides the dolos saying into 2 or 3 mutually dependent metrical units. The correspondence principle reconciles the various mutually dependent metrical units with one another through an equal number of syllable and length peaks plus the repetition of word stems or words.

In the investigation, special attention was paid to the structuring of the dependent metrical units. When long measure repetition is investigated in the stanza of the traditional poem, it is indicated how this form of repetition in the metrical units brings about a solid unit through the repetition of a single word. This means that the lines of poetry inside the stanza are also bound together by this repetition. The important functions of repetition are emphasis and the reinforcement of the core information of the line being repeated. When dependent metrical units are repeated in the dolos saying, it is particularly the last line or a section thereof that is involved in this. At the same time it is a very important characteristic (resp.metre) of the dolos saying. Finally, linking is also looked at in so far as it brings about the second or subsequent line within the stanza.

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