This chapter introduces the background of the study highlighting the key concept my study. An outline of how I was brought up in the cultural and religious set up in the Basotho community. The reasons for my anxiety to know my cultural identity was that it was in shambles. I took interest to make ethnography of Setapa music of the Basotho which is seldom practiced today at my community in rural Gwanda south. My objective was to come up with ethnography of the Basotho community and its cultural identity. The statement of the problem, research instruments and significance of the study will be displayed in this chapter.
1.1 The problem and its setting
The Basotho are a minority group located along the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana. The minority group which takes dominance among the Ndebele in Gwanda South has their chiefs who rule them with the same Tswana totems. In the area where the Basotho are located there are few Kalangas, Vendas and Ndebele speaking people these had led to the hybridization and globalization reducing the identity of the Basotho culture.
1.2 Background to the study
Most Basotho people are along the demarcating border of Zimbabwe and Botswana in Gwanda south, it is at this area where I grew. The Basotho in Zimbabwe are closely related to those in Botswana with the chiefs heading them with same totem at both countries. However, the cultural identity seems to be different this is easily noticed by those in Botswana when the Basotho in Zimbabwe do border jumping.
The existing cultural differences in the two countries with same Basotho community were my inspiration to find out why the Basotho had lost their cultural roots. Also basing on the definition of ethnomusicology by Merriam (1976:5) in Nettle 2005 who defines it as „the study of music in or as culture,? I was inspired to know more about the Basotho and their music in particular by studying their music in the context of holoba pula, a traditional rain making ceremony. The definition of the term gave me an insight that if I study the music of the Sotho ethnic group I will
have an idea about their culture and the music they use during ceremonies. The Basotho people?s music reflects their norms, values and beliefs.
I was propelled to carry such a study by discovering cultural changes among the Sotho minority group in Gwanda. Pupils are taught Ndebele instead of Sesotho from elementary to tertiary level and this has led to loss of their original roots. Ordinarily we cannot separate a people?s music from their culture.
There are various factors which are the cause of cultural disintegration which include the following aspect: Christianity, modernity, migration, inter-marriages, globalization and formal education. To begin with Christianity is the major setback for the cultural identity, people have abandoned their traditional lifestyle and are devoted to Christianity. It is hard to identify an African community in a Christian setup. Siamonga (2015) suggest that the rain making ceremonies unite people in traditional setup and also, they bring their harvest crops to appease spirit mediums and the forgiveness of their sins.
At Kafusi community where I did my ethnography Christianity takes precedence in everything, people refuse to offer millet for preparing traditional brew for rain making. The very ceremonies we often had have been influenced by impact of Christianity.
The language has great impact in the Basotho community; it erodes the Basotho cultural norms and lifestyle. I was brought up in the society of the Basotho who have adopted Ndebele cultural norms in schools yet they have their own Sotho culture. I discovered that the Basotho?s culture is embedded in the Sesotho language, I therefore insinuate that the traditional musical ceremonies might have died away the moment Basotho were taught Ndebele ceremonial songs at school.
Looking at the Basotho youth, one would associate them with the Ndebele because of cultural erosion through scholarly teaching which is biased towards the Ndebele ceremonial songs. Modernity plays a profound impact on the culture destruction, culture is dynamic it varies with introduction of modern technology where people will associate the past as primitive and uncivilized though it is the very act that symbolizes who we are.
The Basotho people believe in ancestral worship where God is looked upon as the source of provision for rain, harvest and prosperity holoba pula and beer brewing to appease spirit medium is a ceremony. As part of their cultural practices these people conduct various rituals which
includes ntenela, for examining the ground ho ropa circumcision; of particular concern to this study is the ritual called holoba pula which is a ceremony for asking for rain from God using spirit medium called badimo. It appears as if the ritual is slowly dying away and very little efforts are put in order to preserve the dance and the ritual. This study has been designed to document the music of the Basotho which entails all their cultural, traditional, moral and social aspect. Through such a study it creates awareness among the youth and saves to archive Basotho treasure for future purposes.
I am a Mosotho by origin and in my experiences, I discovered that the problem which had led to youths not observing cultural norms might be ignorance about their own ceremonies and songs. I once listened to oral tradition given by old women and old men telling me about how they were forced to migrate from Mzingwane River by former Rhodesia colonial regime. They also told me how Ndebele became to be taught in schools all these inspired me to find out what made Basotho setapa music almost extinct. I felt obliged to carry out such a research to enlighten other growing youth to trace their cultural traits through knowing the setapa music of the Basotho.
1.3 Statement of the problem
The setapa music of the Basotho is seldom practiced in Basotho community because of the decline the frequency of conducting holoba pula ceremony. There is partial recognition of Basotho rain making ceremony rituals. Restoration of Basotho cultural traits in the context of rain making is very crucial. To create awareness among youth about the existence of other community and their ceremonial songs, the setapa music of the Basotho which is performed during rain making as holoba pula. If it can be restored and performed one would easily trace who the Basotho are. Setapa rain making dance for holoba pula songs will help me and the entire country to be aware of the existing Basotho who are losing their cultural traits and adopting the Ndebele culture eroding their own ceremony. All the research is based on extinction of the holoba pula rain making ceremony with Setapa dance of the Basotho. The statement of the problem is that although the Basotho have a rich culture defined by their traditional music called Setapa performed during holoba pula ceremony, very little has been documented about the both the ceremony and the music, hence this study.