South African Journal of African Languages

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Narratives of personal experience: The construction of identity in Basotho accordion songs

Lehlohonolo S Phafoli, NS Zulu


This article analyses accordion songs of the Basotho people as small narratives of self-identity. The songs are constructions of the way the singers think of and experience themselves as  Basotho, of their home country, Lesotho. They communicate this message to their listeners. The focus of the constructed self includes parentage and ancestry, clan totems and chiefs, social conditions, places where the artists were born and grew up, marriage problems, and experiences as migrant labourers in South Africa. These songs foster individual, national and collective identity in Lesotho. It is observed that in all the narratives, the singers tell about their associations and social relationships relating to shared locations, language and culture.

South African Journal of African Languages 2014, 34(2): 181–193
AJOL African Journals Online