(The Torch)


Dual notation (staff & tonic solfa), Staff notation
choir SATB
Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa Critical Edition

‘Serumula’ celebrates the value of education, using the metaphor that the missionaries used for Christianity, that of a ‘torch illuminating the darkness’ to show how education lights up the mind. Building up a new nation towards independence is the subtext of this song. During the late 1940s and 1950s this became a priority for the emerging country of Lesotho, more especially as across the border in South Africa (which surrounds Lesotho) these were the years in which separate development for different races was being conceived as a political ideology, disastrously affecting the education of Africans. In Lesotho, the idea of ‘darkness overtaking us’ if ‘we are not educated enough’ was also akin to not being united enough as a nation; and unity, the song suggests, would help people to withstand the difficulty of living in a country surrounded by the darkness of apartheid. One has to remember, too that WWII had not long ended and that Basotho troops fought alongside the Allies to remove a force of darkness from the world, and, that there was the ‘internal darkness’ of widespread illiteracy in Lesotho.