complete verse (Proverbs 17:21 in Southern Sotho)

This verse is translated in the Southern Sotho Bibele of 1989 as

Ya tswalang sethoto
o itswalla ditsietsi,
ntata sethoto o hloka thabo.


He who begets a fool,
begets troubles,
the father of a fool lacks happiness

The Hebrew text contains synonymous parallelism and word pairs: “he who begets a fool” and “father of a fool”; to his grief and does not enjoy. In other words, synonymous parallelism and word pairs in this example are the main systemic features of orality identified in the Hebrew text. [In the Southern Sotho translation] the poetic nature, including the parallelisms and word pairs, are well presented in a poetic format:

Ya tswalang sethoto
/he who begets a fool = ntata sethoto/father of a fool
o itswalla ditsietsi/begets troubles to himself = o hloka thabo/he lacks joy.

In simpler terms, he who begets is the father, and by begetting a fool, a father creates troubles for himself, and will never be happy in life.

(Source: Tshokolo J. Makutoane in Religions 2024, 15(2), p. 190)