Title page for ETD etd-11062007-115555

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Motlhamme, Moitheki Zephorah
URN etd-11062007-115555
Document Title Tlhotlhomisi ya dintshontsho tsa lorato : L.D. Raditladi (Setswana)
Degree MA (Setswana)
Department African Languages
Advisor Name Title
Mr R M Ramagoshi
Prof M J Mojalefa
  • conflict
  • design
  • technique
  • define
  • interpret
  • adapted narratological model
  • content
  • plot
  • topic
  • theme
Date 2006-11-19
Availability unrestricted
Ranamane (in Gerard 1993: 177) describes L. D Raditladi as one of the first Setswana writers of importance, a dedicated conservationist and enthusiastic developer of the Setswana language whose works have won considerable acclaim. Raditladi is well known as a prolific dramatist, novelist and poet, and as the translator of Shakespeare’s Macbeth into Setswana. He also wrote for both the Naledi ya Batswana newspaper and Kutlwano magazine (Boikutso 1985: 17). Shole (1988:97) speaks of Raditladi as the first dramatist to write history in Setswana, explaining that Raditladi drew inspiration from the historical dramas of Shakespeare.

According to Gerard (1981), Boikhutso (1985) and Ranamane et al. (1986) the quality of Raditladi’s writing was widely recognised during his lifetime. He won numerous prices in for example, the IAI, the May Esther Bedford and the library competitions. In addition he received a monetary grant for the South African Publishing Company became of the exceptional quality of his writing.

A representative example of Raditladi’s work is his drama Dintshontsho tsa Lorato, published in (1957). A survey of the literature reveals that his drama has already been investigated, by Ranamane (1986) Shole (1988) and Malimbe (1994). However Malimbe confines her investigation to the plot, and Ranamane and Shole theirs to the plot and style of the drama. Thus, no critic has previously examined the content of Dintshontsho tsa Lorato.

The chief aim of this investigation is thus to critically analyse the structure of the drama Dintshontsho tsa Lorato at the level of content and plot, using two research methods, namely definition and interpretation, within the context of the adapted narratological model. This model conceives of a text according to three levels, namely content, plot and style, and focuses on the topic of the content, the theme of the plot and the atmosphere of the style. Thus this research study differs from the three previous investigation of Dintshontsho tsa lorato because it focuses on the content level of the text by examining the topic, and the plot level by analysing the theme.

The content of a text is coordinated by the topic to form a unified entity. The topic of the drama we are investigating is reflected in its title, namely Dintshontsho tsa Lorato. The topic is thus of vital importance, and determines the arrangement and presentation of four important elements of content, namely character, time, place and events. These four elements are examined in more detail.

The characters of the drama can be grouped into two categories, namely kind-hearted persons (e.g. Mmamotia) and quarrelsome persons (e.g. Sakoma). Mmamotia the antagonist, opposes the hero, Sakoma, who tries to force her to marry him against her will. These two characters are investigated using the concepts of intention, patronage, resistance, assistance and success.

Time and place together fall under setting. Setting can be defined as the natural and artificial environment in which characters in literature live and move (Roberts 1982: 1). Time is the period in which the events of the plot happen, and the order in which they happen. This can be expressed in various units, for example a day, month or year. Place denotes the geographical and topological position in which the characters in the story are situated and the events of the plot take place. Bal (1985:8) regards the place within which the characters find themselves as the ‘frame’.

The last of the four elements, the events, together make up the plot of the drama, which Strachan (1988: 20) and Magapa (1997) describe as the second level of the text. Here theme is key. Theme is the message the writer actually intends to give to the audience. The theme of the drama Dintshontsho tsa Lorato centres on dishonesty and unfaithfulness. The conflict begins when Sakoma is unable to marry Mmamotia because he is a foreigner in the Bangwato tribe, whose cultural beliefs forbid intermarriage. The plot is examined by focussing on the special functions in the plot of the protagonist Sakoma and the antagonist Mmamotia, and the events related to them are classified as representing either good or evil.

The study of Dintshontsho tsa Lorato not only reveals how Raditladi creates his characters but also how he selects and shapes them for the purpose of dramatizing human life with all its varied manifestations. The action that takes place reveal essential character traits of the various characters, and do the words of the characters around them. For instance, Sakoma describes himself as a brave man who will not take no for an answer, and other characters describe Mmamotia as an extraordinarily beautiful woman who is extremely attractive to men.

The plot is them examined according to the conflicts that occur in its various stages, namely the exposition, the development, the climax and the denouement. There are eleven distict conflicts that can be identified occurring between characters in he events of the plot. The event of Raditladi using two techniques, namely song and rhetorical questions, presents the events of the exposition, which form the first conflict that sets the plot going. In the development, several other techniques are used to show the conflicting forces of character and events and to emphasize message of the drama. The second, fourth and eleventh conflicts are discussed in detail because they involve the protagonist and the intagonist. (The other conflicts, which are between other characters, can be described as weak, and are not examined in great detail, though they are vital for creating suspense). In the climax phase the technique of dialog is examined, particularly in the conflict between the protagonist and the helper. The denouement phase has no conflict. Here Raditladi uses one important technique, namely monologue, to streangthen the presentation of the theme of Dintshontsho tsa Lorato. Overall, the most frequently used techniques are dialogue, monologue, point of view, repetition, foereshadowing, rhetorical questions and are the inactive mood.

This drama can be classified as a tragedy, because its ending is sad, since the three main characters die. Using this tragic ending Raditladi tries to caution his audience against dishonesty and unfaithfulness. Thus it is the theme that holds the audience to the end of the drama.

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