Nonyana Se-nya-mafi

(The Prattler)

Date:

Scoring:

S(S)AT(T)B

Catalogue No:

JPM066





Mohapeloa wrote Nonyana Se-nya-mafi in the 1940s, publishing it in Morija in 1947 as the second of 28 songs in Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika ka J.P. Mohapeloa: Buka ea Boraro [African Songs and Extemporary Harmonizations by J.P. Mohapeloa: Book III]. Mohapeloa continued numbering songs in Meloli III - his third songbook - from where his previous book, Meloli II ended; thus Nonyana Se-nya-mafi song No. 66 in Meloli III, not No. 2. It would have been useful to have Mohapeloa’s translation of this song, for it is clearly based on a folksong whose music and words he adapted to a modern setting. As J.S.M. Khumalo puts it, in the introduction to a transcription of the song published in 2008, “Mohapeloa here presents an element of folk-culture in a mock-naïve artistic setting”. Khumalo points out the “characteristic dialogue style” of a narrative text based on “the African story-telling tradition” (op. cit. iii), suggesting that the dialogue is between children who have wandered far from home and a miraculous bird that has lured them away with its “tempting pap” (African food made from cornmeal), until eventually they return home and are “re-united - duly chastened - with their parents, who had given them up for lost”.


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