LesibaLesiba is a Sesotho and Setswana word for a feather, the musical instrument Lesiba is named after a feather, because it’s made from the quill of a bird feather. It is cut and shaped, pegged to a light stick two fingers from one end and a string attached to the quill to the other end. It’s played by blowing and sucking direct onto the quill using your month as a resonator, the vibration of the string, placement of the string and rhythmic breathing patterns produce the heavenly melodic sounds that in Sesotho mimic birds  in the wild hence many compositions got to do with birds. It’s the only musical instrument that is a stringed, wind and percussive monochord.

Mpho on lesibaThis instrument was not always called Lesiba. It has different names in different communities and territories Namas, Griquas & San called it Gora/Goura and the Khoi called theirs Gcom-gcom. It was then picked up by many ethnic groups of South Africa owing to inter-culture and migration, The Xhosas (Ugwali), Zulus/ Vendas (Ugwala) and Basotho/Batswana/Pedi (Lesiba). Basotho herdboys kept it going as it also calm their cows and helps them to herd their stock better, they also play boys games using it, they also court with, their proficiency in Lesiba and most importantly any herdboy who played Lesiba was revered as one of the best. (Mpho Molikeng: 2019)

Above: Mpho Molikeng demonstrating the lesiba (2019)