African Composers Edition

Online publisher of African compositions

Potang

Like many songs published when Mohapeloa returned to Lesotho after several years in Johannesburg, Potang uses an aspect of culture on ‘the Reef’ that reflects interestingly on the predominantly rural culture back home in Lesotho, where everyone owned cows. It speaks to the distraction that a board game can become. The most popular board game in the urban areas of southern Africa is ‘moruba-ruba’, a complex strategy game played with 12 black and white pieces called ‘cows’ that are moved around the board, and it is roughly similar to the old Roman board game Nine Men’s Morris. (In South Africa it is a league game with national competitions.) There is therefore a nice play on ‘cows’ in this song. Such board games are a common sight in cities such as Johannesburg, usually played vigorously by a pair of men sitting on the ground surrounded by a few onlookers, who cheer them on; and as with other games, bets are often placed.

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