oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - The role of Sesotho language and culture in shaping identities of speakers : a case of Basotho in the Free State and Lesotho

Volume 17 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1684-498X



This research examines the relationship between the language and the culture of the Basotho people residing in the Free State province of South Africa and Lesotho. The paper argues that culture is defined through the language spoken by the community and this is interpreted within the context of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The researchers used a qualitative research design in the collection and analysis of data. Data collection instruments employed were semi-structured interviews and group discussion. Descriptive data analysis was employed on the data generated from adult Basotho men and women, students, academics and language practitioners. The locations for primary data generation were Ladybrand and Qwaqwa in the Free State province and Maseru in Lesotho. The sample in the empirical part of the study comprised five participants from Ladybrand, ten from QwaQwa and ten from Maseru. The findings cemented the argument that language defines the culture and the identity of its speakers. It was concluded that the conscious preservation, practice and transmission of language, culture and identity by adults to younger generations will ensure that the Basotho language not only survives but thrives in the future.

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