The aim of this research is to give a literary accountable description of the development of the short story in Sepedi. In order to achieve this, the descriptive as well as the expository and comparative method are used, while the short story is seen as a unit consisting of a content layer, a structural layer and a stylistic layer. With these three layers as focus points in the research, the researcher is not to include the socio-cultural circumstance in which the work has its origin, as final criterium in his research. Firstly, the modus operandi of English and American researchers in their descriptions of the history and development of their literatures is reviewed (or traced). The division here into development periods, is based to a large extent on pragmatic grounds, although literary merit was considered too. In the case of the literature in Sepedi, Mokgokong, Serudu and Groenewald separately gave an overview of the history of this literature and divided it into development periods (or periods of development). They, however, do not indicate the grounds (basics) on which these periods are based. The historical and socio-cultural circumstances of the Bapedi are taken into consideration, but how they lead to a literary accountable division, is not indicated. A short overview of the history of the short story in Sepedi is given as introduction to this study. Thereafter the development of the short story in Sepedi is divided into three phases, namely: (a) The moralizing or didactical phase. (b) The experimental phase. (c) The phase of growth. In the first period the works of Ramaila, who is a skilled writer, dominate. He was a teacher and a man of the church, and was moved by the fate of his people when the Western lifestyle in the process of urbanization left them without anchors in life. The stories from this period therefore have a strong moralising and didactical flavour (tendency) which detracts from the merit of the work. Works from the second period place less emphasis on the clash between the traditional and Western philosophies of life. The stories are mostly constructed untidily, the characterization is one-sided and unconvincing, while the conclusions are not motivated satisfactorily. The short stories from the third period portray a reconciliation between the traditional and Western lifestyles. This phase includes short stories which are structurally and stylistically rounded. The detective stories, for example, have highly complex structures which lead to surprising solutions to the story problems, while an ironic situation in life is described with the greatest ease and skills especially in the stories of (N.S) Nkadimeng and Mpepele. The chief merit of these works lie in the characterization and building of atmosphere. In the final or summarising chapter there is reflection on the importance of Ramaila as short story writer, while the possibilities of the short story in Sepedi in the future are touched upon.
Thesis (DLitt (African Languages))--University of Pretoria, 2007.