Dr Rethabile Possa-Mogoera is convenor of all the Sesotho courses offered in department of African Languages and Literatures. She joined the University of Cape Town (UCT) 10 years ago, and in her time here she has become heavily involved in the life of the university. She is deputy warden at the Forest Hill residence and a student registration advisor for the Faculty of Humanities. She was recently nominated by the Faculty of Humanities as a new member of the Next Generation Professoriate.
Rethabile recalls her early days growing up in Lesotho.
“I was never really a fan of school. I enjoyed going to the fields and looking after my uncle’s animals. He had lots of cattle, a horse and a donkey. When I had to go to school, we would hide in the bush with my little brother. Most of the time we would not have pencils or books to write on, so we would be punished at school. That is why we decided to hide instead of going to the school.
“We would go to school when we knew that it was lunch time. The funny story is that we did not have watches to see the time, but we knew the time by looking at the shade of the big tree that was in the bush. Then we would go to school and eat, and when done go home with everyone. Our teachers would not see us because we would go straight to the kitchen.”
“We do not know who told my uncle, but this one time we heard the movement of the horse while still hiding, only to find that it was my uncle. You do not want to know. We both ran separate ways, but would we leave the horse? Never. He beat us and drove us to school with his horse and arrived right during break time while everyone could see us. We were the laughing stock.”
But things have changed a lot since those days growing up in the village of Mazenod. Rethabile is now a published writer with novels, poetry and a drama book called Dikeledi ha di wele fatshe published at UCT. She is also an elected member of Senate and serves in the Office for Inclusivity and Change as a staff assessor.
“Everyone who knew me as I grew up still do not believe I completed a PhD. I am proud of where I come from and where I am today.”
Rethabile’s Sesotho textbook will be launched on 15 April 2021. This book addresses teenage pregnancy, the challenges and how teenagers can be supported during this time.
“This book is my original work that I started writing after seeing what teenagers go through at schools. The vice-chancellor congratulated me on being the author of UCT’s first indigenous language book. She described this as a phenomenal achievement that marks an important moment in UCT’s history. Credit goes to UCT Libraries for making sure this history happens.”
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