Sankomota: An Ode in One Album – A Reflective Essay is the result of many years of research and obsession about the music and band of Sankomota. The book is a slim offering that offers insights into the first album ever recorded in Lesotho, Sankomota by the band Sankomota. Recorded in 1983, this album became an instant classic.
Mofokeng’s essay touches on mythology, performance, language and politics of this important band that was at the frontier of anti-apartheid and freedom music. In this essay Mofokeng attempts to paint a broad image of the musical landscape of the time and unveil the musical obsessions of Sankomota. This book is not definitive, but it is a worthwhile addition to the body of literature and to an ethno-musical understanding of SA’s musical history.
“I think it is impossible to write a complete book on a titanic band such as Sankomota. ‘An Ode in One Album’ is important, but it is still only introductory. I hope it will open the gates to a broader discussion and deeper understanding of our history, but from a musical point of view,” said Mofokeng.
An Ode in One Album analyses the first album of Sankomota, a body of work that Mofokeng calls “seminal” and a “classic”. Mofokeng said that the book sought to set aside a few myths about Sankomota, including the intricate association of Sankomota to Ts’epo Ts’ola and the possibility that this was the first album ever recorded in Lesotho.
By untangling the deep language used by the band in this first album, Mofokeng offers a fresh perspective on one of the most underrated and under-appreciated music icons of the continent. This book places Sankomota – the band and the album – on the musical timeline and somewhere close to the apex of musical contributions. An Ode in One Album also offers a more approximate location and placement of Sankomota in musical canon. Unpretentious, clear and concise, Mofokeng’s writing is neither academic nor pedestrian – instead, he balances the two quiet well to ensure that he accommodates all and sundry.
“Mofokeng approaches the life and music of his compatriots and one of southern Africa’s iconic groups Sakomonta with a familiarity and vividness of accounts, only an articulate connoisseur of our region’s music can muster. He writes with a language and spirit that is non-pretentious and convivial in equal measure. A labour of love for his people and this continent’s cultural riches, Mofokeng’s book thus retains the poetic presence that both the Lesotho landscape and its people have always possessed. “
Tshireletso Motlogelwa – Editor: The Business Weekly & Review Botswana
Author information sheet
Book title: Sankomota: An Ode in One Album – A Reflective Essay
Author: Phehello J Mofokeng
Publisher: Vuyo Seripe (Geko)
Format: A5 (Digest), 142 pp.
Typesetting, design and layout: Geko Publishing (Pty) Ltd
Date of release: April 2018
Editors: Prof Thapelo Otlogetswe and Thato Rossouw
About the author
Sankomota: An Ode in One Album – A Reflective Essay is Mofokeng’s first published book. Phehello Mofokeng is a multi-dimensional artist – author, fine artist, multimedia designer and photographer with over 10-years publishing and media experience. He is a Wits University graduate and a regular speaker at literary events in South Africa and in SADC. Outside of publishing, Mofokeng has written and consulted on some of South Africa’s successful television dramas and cultural programs; including Isibaya, Isithembiso and Curious Culture. Mofokeng holds a joint honor’s degree in African Languages and Drama & Film and is currently pursuing an MA (Film and TV) at Wits University.
About Geko Publishing
Geko Publishing is a black-owned independent publisher owned and run by Phehello Mofokeng; an influential figure on the Johannesburg literary scene. Geko Publishing has long been recognised for publishing cutting-edge literature that is relevant to modern South Africa. In a period spanning almost a decade, the company has published South African (English and vernacular) literature including fiction, poetry and biographies by some of the country’s multi-award winning writers and academics.
About the publisher
Vuyo Seripe is a multi-talented writer who enjoys working with all things digital. She has written content for multiple clients who have commended her for being tenacious and creative. She started writing 8 years ago under the mentorship of award-winning writer, Andrew Miller (Dubstep, Jacana 2015). She has since written for online publications and print publications on various topics about emerging urban cultures, social ills and the development of the digital landscape.
“Over the past five years, I have worked with various publications and have had my stories published in quite a few South African publications. My writing deals with what I may call South Africa’s urban culture but some people may disagree. I am not sure whether it is fair to generalise my themes and box them up into boring boxes of genres and stuff. I just love to write and I suffer the most crippling writers block at times but when the urge hits me, I definitely write what I like.”
Vuyo Seripe now lives in Cape Town, where she edits, writes and raises her children.
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