Three PhDs awarded in the African Languages Discipline
They are: Dr Sebueng Makoae, Dr Ketlalemang Maimane and Dr Rajabu Chipila. Chipila’s study examined a Tanzanian University student’s motivation for learning Kiswahili as an academic subject.
The research was motivated by the fact that many indigenous African languages are not rated highly by their users.
Findings include that Tanzanian university students study Kiswahili because it is their national language and as a sign of patriotism.
Another factor is that proficiency in the language means more employment opportunities as Kiswahili is one of the most popular indigenous African languages studied overseas.
Chipila said: ‘Teaching and learning indigenous African languages need to be promoted. However, there is little that has been done in terms of research in the areas of teaching methodologies and approaches. Therefore, this study contributes in the body of literature in the area.’
Makoae’s research discusses the metaphors in Sesotho hymns in the Catholic Church hymn book, Lifela tsa Bakriste. Her study aimed to arouse reader awareness about the nature and significance of mapping the vehicle and tenor of metaphors. ‘These are perceived first in metaphors of connotative names. Basotho has a common proverb with regard to personal names. It is (le)bitso lebe ke seromo, meaning, a name has a direct influence on the character traits of the bearer,’ she said.
The findings of her study depict the lexical units, contextual meanings and mappings for all her words to unfold metaphors according to different parts of grammar.
Maimane, who was supervised by Dr Nhlanhla Mathonsi, looks at how and to what extent modern Sesotho poetry echoes religious and traditional beliefs and practices, lithoko and English poetry, in its composition since its inception in 1931 until the first decade of the millennium (2010).
His study provides well researched and documented academic reference material on modern Sesotho poetry for the teaching of poetry at all levels in institutions of higher learning where modern Sesotho poetry courses/modules are offered. From an academic standpoint, the study makes academics aware of modern Sesotho poetry as a new phenomenon and a construct of numerous texts from traditional, religious and literary worlds; suggesting further avenues of research in this respect.
‘The study also provides a literary response to the gaps left by those who have already made a significant contribution researching modern Sesotho poetry. One of the gaps that this study addresses is the intertextual nature of modern Sesotho poetry as well as the confluences that informed the composition of modern Sesotho poetry,’ said Maimane.
Head of the African Languages Discipline, Professor Sihawukele Ngubane, added, ‘We congratulate all our PhD students and encourage those who are in the pipeline to raise the bar.’
All three students were grateful to their support system of friends and family and their supervisors Professor Nogwaja Zulu and Dr Nhlanhla Mathonsi. The students hope to publish further in their field.