Original Research

A pastoral investigation of the phrase ‘go tloša Setšhila’ [traditional purification] as the last phase in the process of bereavement mourning amongst the Basotho

Rantoa Letsosa, Kwena Semenya
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 32, No 1 | a489 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v32i1.489 | © 2011 Rantoa Letsosa, Kwena Semenya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2010 | Published: 19 August 2011

About the author(s)

Rantoa Letsosa, North-West University, South Africa
Kwena Semenya, North West University, South Africa


This article investigates and attempts to provide answers from pastoral perspectives regarding the perception the Basotho have on the issue of traditional purification. The aim of this article is to find out why the bereaved, that have not yet been purified traditionally, are not allowed to be part of certain activities, like going to the church and also performing certain community activities.

The investigation was conducted by way of qualitative research. Three different Sotho Reformed congregations were selected, namely one from the Northern-Sotho speaking congregations, one from the Setswana speaking congregations and one from the Southern-Sesotho speaking congregations. Respondents included one minister, one older man, one older woman, and two young members including a man and a woman from each congregation in order to get a broader perspective. For the sake of confidentiality the names of the congregations and participants remained anonymous.

The results of the article indicate that the rights of the bereaved to perform certain duties in the community are reduced till such time that they are purified traditionally.


death; mourning; traditional; purification


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Crossref Citations

1. Are Methodist Church bereavement ritual’s sufficient for its black African members?: A qualitative analysis of a church in Mamelodi, South Africa
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