For centuries we have seen language evolving and thus the Setswana language losing its rich significance locally. Kellen Seretse, has published the first ever comprehensive Setswana reference guide textbook titled Setswana Sotlhe, which was conceived more than 20 years ago out of the realisation that the Setswana culture in general has a potential to prove itself as a viable stakeholder and participant in economic diversification and poverty alleviation.
The author told Arts & Culture that he carried out an extensive self-sponsored research exercise collecting and compiling useful and relevant materials that are now a great textbook of 22 chapters and 246 pages.
He pointed out that everyone in the educational and cultural industries would find a copy of the timeless classic very resourceful.
“This is because what has been put together is not the kind of book that one reads and puts aside for good, but rather a rare container of a large vocabulary of words that will be referred to from time-to-time as and when need arises. Being the first Setswana reference guide ever written, and one of its own kind at documenting our cultural practices, there are many positive effects that will be derived from this project in the short to long term,” he said.
Seretse pointed out that for the first time in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Southern Africa as a whole, everyone in the educational and cultural industries would find this timeless classic as very resourceful.
He said that users includes pupils and students, educationalists, writers and musicians. Given that Setswana is the only indigenous language widely spoken and spread across six Southern African countries like Botswana, SA, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Seretse said the book is expected to be around for many years to come.
He explained that as Setswana is taught as a subject in three countries of Southern Africa namely Botswana, SA and Namibia, Setswana Sotlhe book will serve as an effective teaching and research aid for institutions of learning in the region; thus not only showing a
“The creative industry players such as novelists, playwrights, poets, composers, singers, traditional dancers, instrumentalists and indigenous musical instrument makers amongst other users, would find this book as a resource from which to draw on the oral literary and artistic traditions of our people.
Hence, they will use such information in their artistic works to communicate and educate societies.
This in itself will go a long way in contributing towards conserving Botswana culture within the creative works,” he noted.
Seretse said through chapters such as diane, Setswana proverbs (maele/manatetsha puo) or Setswana idioms, mainagoboka (Setswana words denoting groupings), matshwantshi (Setswana similes and comparisons), maitiso/ itloso bodutu (Setswana types of entertainment), and kapari (Setswana traditional attires), artists would gain a greater insight into the rich Setswana language and heritage.
He said that as the granary of Setswana culture and tradition will give them the much-needed confidence and pride in their creative presentations that will fuse relevant information and or quotes from Setswana Sotlhe reference guide.
He further explained that we could never have a culturally intact society unless our cultures have been documented, archived and made easily accessible to the young ones who are the future torchbearers of the Setswana culture, language and tradition.