oa Alternation - Teaching for cultural relevance and restoration in the multi-lingual South African setting: the pedagogical potential of bi-lingual Setswana-English stories

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



The following is a Batswana story. It is similar to the Bible story of the judgement of Solomon, but the pioneer missionaries say that they found it to be known among the Batswana before the Bible was ever written in the Setswana language (Jones & Plaatje 2007:15). In this story two new mothers both claim one baby after one woman has accidently suffocated her baby in the night and steals the other woman's child. Kgosi (the chief or king) asks for a sword to cut the baby in half. One mother acquiesces while the other pleads with the chief to spare the child's life and give it to the other mother. Her love for the baby is stronger than the pain of losing him to the other mother. The chief discerns that she who pleaded for the baby's life must be the real mother and settles the dispute in her favour. Whereas in the Bible story the emphasis is on the discernment and wisdom of the King, in the Batswana story the emphasis is on the mother.

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