Tsohang Maafrika

(Rise Up, Africans)


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

‘Mokhosi oa Afrika’ draws on the metaphor of a ship, which might seem odd for a land-locked country like Lesotho until one remembers how many Basotho troops travelled by ship to fight with the Allies during WWII. The ‘ship of hatred and segregation’ may also refer to the fact that neighbouring South Africa was heading for racist legislation in 1947 when this song was published, bad news for a country landlocked by South Africa and economically dependent upon it. ‘Wake up to this reality and deal with it’ the song says, by seeking union with other countries in Africa. The phrase ‘kopano ke matla’ (unity is strength), a cliché of nationalism since the early nineteenth century and used on many coats of arms, is used here partly in the sense of being unified as Basotho and partly in the sense of continental unity. It was a long time, however before the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, now the African Union) came into being in 1963, or before Lesotho gained independence in 1966.