“Mosetsana” Lesson

Students will read and discuss "Mosetsana," a poem written by a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in South Africa.

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


  • Students will deepen their knowledge about the lives of people in South Africa.
  • Students will discuss how elements of poetry such as tone work to convey meaning.
  • Students will discuss similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of the poem’s characters.


  • bogobe: a stiff porridge 


Assign students to read "Mosetsana" silently. Then select a student or a group of students to read the poem aloud. As a class or in small groups, use the following questions to guide discussion:

  • This poem describes a day in the life of a young South African girl. What details about her life stand out to you when you read the poem?
  • 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 does he or she use? 


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

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