African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Molepe

Mohapeloa wrote Molepe in the 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1939 as the twenty-seventh of 32 songs in Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika ka J.P. Mohapeloa: Buka ea Bobeli [African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations by J.P. Mohapeloa: Book II]. Mohapeloa continued numbering songs in Meloli II - his second songbook - from where his previous book, Meloli I ended; thus Molepe is song No. 59 in Meloli II, not No. 27. The Widow Bird is common in highland countryside and farms, and Mohapeloa expresses a certain ambivalence towards this exotic looking bird (because of its long tail and strange, undulating flight) because it raids the crops for food. In a rich country, a bird like this wouldn’t be seen as competition, but it is, Mohapeloa suggests in the last line, in a very poor country like Lesotho. The Red Bishop is also mentioned - a fairly common bird in Lesotho especially near water, and striking because of its bright red colour.

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