Leheshe-heshe

(Helter-skelter)

Date:

Scoring:

SATB

Catalogue No:

JPM134





Leheshe-heshe was written for the installation of young Paramount Chief Constantinus Bereng Seeiso, proclaimed King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho on 12 March 1960. It was first published in the multi-author songbook Binang ka Thabo in 1963. The repeated lines reveal the indebtedness of the song to oral praise poetry traditionally sung for chiefs and royalty. None of the king’s attributes or totem animals are mentioned, but the satirical inversion of a positive attribute, ‘Selela’ (Useless one) is typical of praise poetry. The King’s return to Lesotho from Britain, where he was studying, and his enthronement, were political moves, aimed to boost a particular party in the run up to pre-independence elections, and when the politics changed a few years later, he was exiled. His naming as Moshoeshoe II was highly symbolic, for Moshoeshoe I was the nineteenth-century founder of the Basotho kingdom.


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