In Antjie Krog’s latest non-fiction publication, Begging to Be Black (2009), her philosophical discussions in Berlin about “blackness” are very prominent. These discussions are preceded and interspersed, however, by several chapters devoted to the life of Moshoeshoe, king of the Basotho. Should Moshoeshoe be read as a mediating figure through which Krog is able to explore different notions about identity and leadership in (South) Africa, the same approach can be taken to analyse her treatment of Nelson Mandela in A Change of Tongue (2003). This exploratory article attempts a brief comparison between Mandela and Moshoeshoe in the two texts by Krog and identifies some of the central issues that emerge in her analysis of these figures. It is argued that the mechanisms of colonialism, the tension between Africa and the West and between African and Western philosophy underlie the challenges faced by both Mandela and Moshoeshoe in their respective circumstances. Krog’s engagement with
these topics in her non-fiction is the topic for further investigation.