The focus of this study was to look at the Sepedi narratives which depict morality as well as didacticism. The point of departure was the fact that the previous researchers were not in agreement when it comes to the issue of moral and didactic lessons which are derived from the narratives. Some of them found the two to be the same whereas the others pointed out the difference without elaborating further on them.
As a result, the first thing was to clear this confusion by explaining the concepts morality and didacticism, trace their origin and also examine the theories that are used to describe them.
In doing that, it was found that morality is an unplanned event which can be influenced by external factors. Although one’s morality can be a hereditary factor, the upbringing, one’s environment, the culture as well as the interaction with people can have an influence on one’s moral conduct. Morality is a process that takes place from birth up to death since people learn new things daily in their lives.
On the other hand, didacticism, refers to a process where one learns from other people. It is an intentional process and has objectives that should be achieved. Education can be taught the traditional way or modern way. The traditional one is the one that is taught at homes during upbringing, can be taught at the initiation schools where culture is mostly taught, and also in the community by elderly people with the aim of passing the culture and practices from one generation to the next. The aim of this traditional education is to restore culture. This kind of education follows a certain curriculum that aims at achieving the objectives related to the culture. However, this curriculum is not written down since it is passed from one generation to the other by word of mouth. With regards to the modern one, it is taught at different educational institutions and it follows a particular curriculum. The aim of this kind of education is not only to teach reading and writing, it also opens up doors for individuals to achieve the new discoveries. With this education, individuals will have the ability to use it in such a way that it will benefit the society as well as the economy of the country.
In examining the differences between morality and didacticism, the following books were used in this research, namely Moepathutse by Makopo (2003), Moelelwa by Sehlodimela (1958) and Kgopotšo go Beatrice wa Botlokwa by Moloisie (1953) Relevant and appropriate examples were quoted to show morality and didacticism.
When explaining moral and didactic narratives, Groenewald (1993:15) succinctly emphasises the similarities between the two concepts of didactic and moral narratives as both of them being based on a journey, which relates to life with a motive. He further indicates that the protagonist is someone who is either an ordinary person or has status in society. Therefore he (the protagonist) has a weakness; is degraded, and later he is forgiven by the society.
A didactic narrative emphasises that which a reader should learn, whether at home or any other structured setting, whereas a moral story focuses on what society deems appropriate behaviour / conduct and it can be learned from anywhere and anyone in the community or society.
Furthermore, three methodological approaches will be adopted for use in describing the challenges that relate to defining the concepts of didacticism and morality in Sepedi literary texts. The methodological approaches are (a) comparison, (b) description and (c) interpretation. The approaches are relevant to providing answers to the unanswered questions that have arisen in the introductory section of this study. The significance of this research has been discussed as well as the adapted narratological model which will be followed. Finally, the structure of a literary text has been looked into, which comprises three layers - content, plot and style.