‘Sa ’mokotsane’ is a common expression in Sesotho to denote a serious and loud wailing, although the song Sa ‘Mokotsane cautions agains too much wailing and gives advice on being courageous in face of difficulties and not complaining. It tries to strike a cheerful tone, therefore, but the way it reaches up to the high notes so suddenly, in places, might be a reference to crying out in anguish. The word ‘thuso’ (help) features prominently in the lyrics (by Moerane) and to a lesser extent the word, ‘tsepo’ (hope). Thuso and Tsepo are the names of Moerane’s son and grandson (Thuso’s son), respectively, and so this might be a clue to the year in which the work was written, 1961, the year in which Tsepo was born. Thuso himself had many sufferings during the 1950s to 70s, including his family’s forced removal from their home, and a banning order. In order to help choirs learn this song, a free mp3 of the lyrics spoken by Mpho Ndebele is downloadable when the song is purchased along with a rehearsal mp3 of the song at a slow tempo.
The audio sample below was generated from the Sibelius file of the score and the image on the right shows the first page of the score.