“Mosetsana” Lesson

Learners will read and discuss "Mosetsana," a poem written about a day in the life of a resilient South Africa girl.

Learners will focus on reading and discussion on issues of gender, education, and family as they appear in the poem.


  • Learners will gain a new perspective about the lives of people in South Africa.
  • Learners will discuss how elements of poetry such as tone work to convey meaning.
  • Learners will discuss similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of the poem’s characters.


  • bogobe: a stiff porridge 


Assign learners to read "Mosetsana" the poem silently. Ask learners to write at least two responses to this questions:

  • What details about Mosetsana's life stand out to you when you read the poem?

Then select a learner or a group of learners to read the poem aloud. As a class or in small groups (using virtual break-out rooms if virtual), use the following questions to guide discussion:

  • Describe a day in Mosetsana's life. What activities does she complete at what times of day?
  • What is Mosetsana's family situation? Why do you think it is that way?
  • How does your life compare to Mosetsana's? What are your chores? How is your classroom different?
  • How do you think Mosetsana's life is different from that of the boys in her classes?
  • Who is the narrator of this poem? What tone do they use? 


Ask learners to write a poem about their own lives that illustrates similarities and differences to Mosetsana’s. Assign learners to research HIV/AIDS in South Africa, including how the disease is changing the makeup of families. 

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