Original Research

Koma, Thuto and 19th century Basotho’s refusal to choose between the two: A remarkable instance of intercultural engagement

M. S. Tshehla
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 40, No 2 | a7 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v40i2.7 | © 2019 M. S. Tshehla | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2019 | Published: 31 December 2016

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M. S. Tshehla, University of South Africa, South Africa

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African postcolonial theological reflections presuppose and regularly demonstrate the ethnocentric naiveté and arrogance which pervaded the thought and conduct of otherwise well-intentioned Euro-American Christian missionaries of especially the 19th century. But in their commendable struggle to affirm and empower the once marginalized, such historical reviews generally proceed on the basis of subversive rereading’s of literatures produced by those ‘culprits’; this keeps the latter at the centre of the discourse whilst simultaneously perpetuating the lamentable historical state of the side-lined. But what happens if yesteryear’s intercultural interactions are explored on the basis of writings composed by voices from the margins? Specifically, how are binaries like ‘centre’ and ‘margins’ affected in such instances? This paper argues that where mutually critical engagement obtains, benefits accrue to all concerned; it takes its lead from a piece written to launch Leselinyana la Lesotho by one pioneer mid-nineteenth century Mosotho writer.


19th century Basotho; intercultural engagement; Leselinyana la Lesotho; missionary instruction; Filemon Rapetloane


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