Tlholohelo

(Loneliness)

Date:

Unknown

Scoring:

SATB

Catalogue No:

JPM021

 

Mohapeloa wrote Thlolohelo in the early 1930s, publishing it in Morija in 1935 as song No. 21 of 32 in his first song collection, Meloli le Lithallere tsa Afrika. The loneliness of homesickness was a common experience of Basotho migrant workers, who left Lesotho annually to work on the mines of the Witwatersrand - the ‘black mountains’. Mohapeloa himself was no doubt homesick during the four years he spent in Johannesburg between 1938 and 1943; but the song was published before that, in 1935. Perhaps it was his two years away from home at school in the eastern Cape (Lovedale). The translation below is by Mohapeloa, as are several others in Meloli I, found among his correspondence with Yvonne Huskisson at the SABC (Johannesburg) from the mid-1960s. He also left a version of the Sesotho lyrics for this song, which differ slightly from the original sources and the 1965 manuscript in that the words ‘Ruthutha lithaba’ (Crush the mountains) in line 4 are missing. (The Bass at this point sings ‘Rrrruthutha’, the rolled ‘r’ suggesting loud noise.)

 

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