Review Article

The monstrous and the grotesque: (De)scribing and unmasking eschatology in Sepedi folktales

Sekgothe Mokgoatšana
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 44, No 1 | a72 | DOI: | © 2020 Sekgothe Mokgoatšana | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 June 2020 | Published: 08 December 2020

About the author(s)

Sekgothe Mokgoatšana, Department of Cultural and Political Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa


The Kgolomodumo story is becoming extinct in Sepedi folklore with the risk of losing its deep structure and embedded meaning. Very little, if any, has been performed to determine the relationship between the monsters and cosmology, also revealing how they are used to construct eschatology. In this article, I analyse the story of a monster and explain how monstrosity and the grotesque are used as a discourse to craft, uncover and (re)construct how Bapedi interprets the teleological and eschatological from the tale; Kgolomodumo. The tale is a source of explaining the metaphor of the devouring monster to describe the end of things and messianic eschatology in Sepedi religious conceptions. The story was conveniently chosen from a folklore anthology, Diphekotšabagologolo because it is a threatened textual construct. The interpretation of the tale is both Afrocentric and hermeneutical relying largely on my knowledge of Sepedi culture and folklore; drawing from my insider, self-reflexive engagement after teaching of folklore as indigenous knowledge for the past 30 years. The story is framed within the postcolonial discourse, selecting the Afrocentric lens as a tool to explain and contextualise eschatology within African religion.


Kgolomodumo; monsters; eschatology; indigenous knowledge; myth of creation; cosmology and cosmogony; worlding; grotesque; Sepedi


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