African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Phomolo

Mohapeloa wrote Phomolo (Rest) in the early 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1935 as song No. 14 of 32 in his first song collection, Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika. As with most choirs, the African choirs of southern Africa practise after work or at weekends, and this song celebrates not so much ‘rest’ as ‘recreation’. In mission villages such as Morija the choir has been a central community activity since the nineteenth century, not only for adults but also - since missions were important educational centres - schoolchildren. Hardly surprising, then, that one of Mohapeloa’s earliest songs should be about the joys of going off to choir practice. The somewhat martial style of this song even suggests marching off to choir practice. Mohapeloa conducted choirs throughout his life and especially in Morija where his choir was called ‘Baithaopi’ (Volunteers). His wife Mary Stimmiri was a very good mezzo/alto and sang in his choir, hence (perhaps) this song’s two alto parts.

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