Any discussion of the growth and development of essays in Sepedi must include the name of E.K.K. Matlala. Matlala was the first author to publish a volume of Sepedi essays. This publishing of this volume, entitled Mengwalo (Essays) Puku II, by Fort Hare University in 1943 is an event of historical importance in Sepedi literature. This research study investigates Matlala’s essays. The aim of this study is to focus on all various possible types of essays, including the four types that Matlala wrote, namely descriptive, analytical, narrative and meditative essays. Matlala’s volume of Sepedi essays, Mengwalo (Essays) Puku II, consists of four essays, namely ‘Lexae’, ‘Fsika-thsipi la Ramošweu’, ‘Tato ya monnyana ke lesoxana’ and ‘Šakeng la bophelo’. Each of these four belongs to a specific category of essays. For this reason, it can be argued that Matlala is a skilled author of Sepedi essays. His skill becomes clear in an analysis of his essays, which shows that he arranges them to be in line with a clear structure, namely title, introduction, body and conclusion. This structure is generally accepted as the correct structure for an essay. As for thematic content, Matlala’s essays discuss both modernity and the days gone by. In three of his essays, Matlala writes about the importance of events that happened in the past. In the fourth essay, ‘Fsika-thsipi la Ramošweu’, Matlala depicts modernity. Matlala’s writing style is recognizably dated; he makes extensive use of loan words and the archaic language of the twenties and thirties. However, this language is important as it promotes multilingualism. Analysing the classification of Sepedi informal essays reveals that Matlala not only wrote essays but also made an attempt to elevate their status. Therefore, it could be argued that Matlala has a unique talent among the writers of Sepedi informal essays. The argument developed in this study is that Matlala is the most successful author of Sepedi informal essays who has ever been published. This study also examines the influence in Matlala’s work of his study of English essays.
Dissertation (MA (African Languages))--University of Pretoria, 2008.
Van Aarde, A.G. (Andries G.); Van Aarde, A.G. (Andries G.)(Periodicle Section of the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika, 1994)
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