The thesis focuses on culture change depicted in Sepedi literature. This is needed because of a great influence of missionaries and their writings that are reflected on indigenous writings of Bapedi people who wrote during the period prior to 1940. It is confirmed that the new writers of Sepedi played a vital role in promoting didactic or moral texts. An important book that appeared during that period was that of M.M. Sehlodimela called Moelelwa (1940). The era of industrial and social revolution in South Africa brought forth a group of writers of Sepedi such as Madiba, Tsiri (1942) and Nkotsana (1955), Phalane, Motangtang (1943), and Sehlodimela, T a Maabane (1953). The creative writers had written on themes connected with blacks meeting the whites.
Though the researcher acknowledges that several researchers discussed, particularly culture change in general, this is regarded as a secondary problem in this study because the focus is on culture change depicted in Sepedi literature. The qualitative structural methods indicate how culture change is implemented in the process of writing as depicted in Sepedi literature.
The researcher moulds the problem into a formulated form to prove that an actual problem exists with regard to the evident gap in culture change depicted in Sepedi literature by focusing on the notion that Bapedi writers have been influenced by other people?s culture in the writing of their literature. The examination is therefore seek to solve the identified problem by (a) focusing on the impact of culture change in Sepedi literary texts, and (b) classifying these texts into three historical periods to show how culture change is implemented in the process of writing Sepedi literature.
The aim of this research is described as an effort to determine the ways in which Sepedi literature reflects culture of the historical times in which they were written. In order to achieve this aim, it is necessary to classify Sepedi creative texts into three different periods,namely (a) white missionary period (b) black missionary period and (c) Bapedi authors? period.
This thesis entails a qualitative study, where a variety of theories pertaining to culture change depicted in Sepedi literature are studied in the form of an examination of culture change by looking at the texts. The qualitative methods identified and to be followed in this thesis are (a) description, (b) interpretation, (c) comparison and (d) classification. A close scrutiny of existing research methods reveals that they are not all the same in terms of definition.
In this thesis a literary survey reveals that there are eight critics, who have written on the influence and even about impact of the change in culture in Sepedi literatures, namely, Thobakgale, Groenewald, Serudu, Serudu et al, Magapa, Mampa, Mosidi and Boshego. Existing research is assessed to determine how the studies of these authors are interrelated with the topic of this thesis.
The theories of the change/influence of culture on the Sepedi texts are aligned with the explanation of what the writing is. When the text is explained, focus is on the parts of the text, taking into account culture, cultural change and the text. The explanation of these aspects of the literature is significant because nothing can be said about change in literature without considering these aspects.
A theory of culture is the core of this thesis and therefore needs to be properly understood. The researcher seeks to reveal the change of culture of Bapedi speaking people through the written literary texts. Traditional literary texts are not used to prove whether there is a change in culture or not due to the scope of this thesis.
The mutual understanding of cultural change is therefore very crucial to the researcher because it is the core of this research thesis. Through cultural change, the researcher proves that the events of the content (culture) and the development or change or progress of Bapedi society/authors change when times change.
The text is discussed as having two dimensions: the life of the author and his/her fictional writings on the one hand, and content and plot, on the other. The work of art is then considered as a whole system of signs or structure of signs serving specific aesthetic purpose. On the contrary Strachan (1988) explains the structure of text as tri-dimensional and not bi-dimensional and as such he differs from the Russian Formalist critics. However, more recent critics emphasise two dimensions, i.e. plot and style rather than the dimension of content.
As having three dimensions, this present study puts more emphasis on the explanation of the change of culture depicted in Sepedi literature so that the influence coming from traditional and modern authorship can be revealed.